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Keynote Speaker

2018 Keynote Speaker

The 2018 keynote speech with Dr. Margaret W. Frey

Every year the EYH organizers invite a prominent woman scientist or engineer to share her experiences and interest in science/engineering with the participants of the EYH Conference. This Keynote Address kicks off the conference for the girls before they head off to a full day of workshops. While the girls are at the Keynote Address, adult participants will attend the Adult Panel. After the Keynote Address and Adult Panel, EYH volunteers will lead the girls to the location of their first workshop, where they will re-unite with their accompanying adults and/or meet their Cornell buddies.

2022 Keynote Speaker

Paula Cohen

From an early age, Prof. Paula Cohen was fascinated by biology. Growing up in Nigeria and England gave her lots of opportunities to explore and compare the biodiversity across two different continents. As a child, she was devastated to learn that many species in the continent in which she was born were threatened with extinction, and this led her to her passion for reproductive biology. She wanted to understand fertility in all species, and hopefully help to save many on the brink of extinction. Her PhD research focused on how an embryo signals to its mother to start pregnancy. This led her to New York City, where a lab at Albert Einstein College thought that they had identified "the implantation signal", the key protein that triggers the start of pregnancy. Prof. Cohen's research in New York refuted this very quickly, but as in all things, when one door closes, another opens. During her studies at Einstein, a colleague asked her to help on a project looking at proteins that repair DNA. They had a hunch that one of the proteins they were studying, MLH1, might be important for meiosis, the process that gives rise to eggs and sperm for reproduction. Since Paula was the ONLY reproductive biologist at Einstein, they asked her to help. She fell in love with the mysteries of meiosis immediately, with its blend of reproductive biology and genetics, and it is this that kickstarted her own independent research, first as an Assistant Professor at Einstein, and then at Cornell, where she moved in 2005. Paula's research has continued in meiosis ever since, but she is fascinated with all things to do with egg and sperm biology. She remains intrigued by the idea of controlling fertility, not only for conservation purposes, but also so that women can choose when they want to have babies. In particular, her lab is trying to understand the key genetic pathways that lead to production of healthy sperm, and from there to develop contraceptives that will allow us to turn sperm production on and off at will. At Cornell, Prof. Cohen also serves as Associate Vice Provost for Life Sciences, a job where she tries to make sure that biologists across the campus have the access to tools and resources that they need to be successful. She helps young faculty get on their feet, she encourages collaborations and grants between faculty, and she assists departments in hiring the best and brightest new faculty. She loves her job!

2020 Keynote Speaker


Prof. Lois Pollack's favorite subjects in middle and high school were Math and French. She discovered that majoring in Physics gave her the opportunity to use Math to understand the world around her and to build things. Prof. Pollack has enjoyed doing research, which has let her think of ways to answer questions by making measurements or doing calculations. To learn how to do research, she completed many years of school, including both undergraduate and graduate school. After earning her Ph.D., she became a researcher at Cornell, trying to understand the very smallest motions inside of materials. Answering questions like this has required researchers to build complicated tools to do experiments, such as a refrigerator that cools to more than 400 degrees below zero. After many happy years of working on this type of research, Prof. Pollack became interested in biology. She found a way to keep doing experiments while contributing something positive to the world, such as working to discover new cures for disease. Prof. Pollack was fortunate to get a job teaching and doing research at Cornell in 2000. She has been a professor in the School of Applied and Engineering Physics since.

2019 Speaker


Prof. Andarawis-Puri’s training path initiated at Columbia University where she earned a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. She then completed her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in Bioengineering, specializing in Biomechanics, with Dr. Louis Soslowsky as her graduate mentor. During her Ph.D., Prof. Andarawis-Puri was rigorously trained in biomechanics of musculoskeletal soft tissue injuries. Following her graduate studies, Prof. Andarawis-Puri joined Dr. Evan Flatow, a world-renowned Orthopaedic surgeon, for her post-doctoral training in the Department of Orthopaedics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She chose to work with a surgeon because she wanted to make sure that she was applying her engineering training to clinically relevant healthcare problems. After completing her postdoctoral training, Prof. Andarawis-Puri stayed at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, as a tenure track assistant professor from January 2012 through December 2015. She accepted a tenure track faculty position at Cornell University and started as the Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor and Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigator in the Life Sciences since January 2016. Prof. Andarawis-Puri has recently become an Associate Professor and is loving working with the amazing and ambitious students at Cornell University.

2018 Speaker

Margaret W. Frey

Dr. Margaret W. Frey is the Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs in the College of Human Ecology, and a Professor in the department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design at Cornell University. Her research focuses on combining fiber science with nanotechnology. She collaborates with scientists in the diverse fields of entomology, horticulture, biological and environmental engineering, materials science, chemical and biomolecular engineering and biomedical engineering – which has resulted in synergistic leaps in materials research! She has received numerous honors for her accomplishments, including the title of Faculty Fellow for Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, for the Cornell Institute for Fashion and Fiber Innovation, and for Balch Residence Hall at Cornell. Dr. Frey earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a M.S. in Fiber Science from Cornell. She received her Ph.D. in Fiber and Polymer Science from NC State University, and she currently serves on the scientific advisory board for the Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science program in The College of Textiles at NC State.

2017 Speaker

Lena F. Kourkoutis

Dr. Lena F. Kourkoutis is an Assistant Professor of Applied and Engineering Physics and James C. and Rebecca Q. Morgan Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow at Cornell University. She received her undergraduate degree in Physics from the University of Rostock, Germany in 2003, and then moved to Ithaca where she was awarded a Ph.D. in 2009. As a Humboldt Research Fellow, she spent 2011-2012 exploring cryo-electron microscopy in the Molecular Structural Biology Group at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany. She returned to Cornell University in 2012 and joined the Cornell Faculty in 2013. The Kourkoutis electron microscopy group focuses on understanding and controlling nanostructured materials, from complex oxide heterostructures to materials for battery and photovoltaic applications to biomaterials. Her group uses some of the most advanced electron microscopes to study these systems atom-by-atom. Dr. Kourkoutis was recipient of the 2013 Albert Crewe Award and a 2014 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering. Most recently, Dr. Kourkoutis was among the 105 researchers honored with the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, presented by President Barack Obama, for her contributions to the development and applications of atomic-resolution electron microscopy and spectroscopy.

2016 Speaker

Hadas Kress-Gazit

Dr. Hadas Kress-Gazit is an Associate Professor at the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University. She received her Ph.D. in Electrical and Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008 and has been at Cornell since 2009. Her research focuses on formal methods for robotics and automation and more specifically on creating verifiable robot controllers for complex high-level tasks using logic, verification, synthesis, hybrid systems theory and computational linguistics. She received an NSF CAREER award in 2010, a DARPA Young Faculty Award in 2012 and the Fiona Ip Li ’78 and Donald Li ’75 Excellence in teaching award in 2013.

2015 Speaker

Wendy Hill

We are honored to introduce our keynote speaker, Dr. Wendy Hill, an accomplished scientist and the newest head at The Agnes Irwin School, an all-girls pre-K-to-12 school in Rosemont, PA. Previously, Dr. Hill was the Rappolt Professor of Neuroscience and Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Lafayette College. Her research focused on the neural mediation of pair bonding in birds as well as the adaptive significance of animal social behavior and grouping strategies. Dr. Hill has received numerous awards for teaching and research, including the James McKeen Catell national award for her scholarly work. She was named the Pennsylvania Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Dr. Hill holds a B.A. in psychology from Douglass College, a women’s college at Rutgers University, and a Ph.D. from the animal behavior program at the University of Washington.

2014 Speaker

Laura K. Lautz

Dr. Laura K. Lautz is an accomplished professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Syracuse University (SU). Dr. Lautz is a hydrologist who aims to further understand how hydrologic processes influence water quality and movement through watersheds. Dr. Lautz conducts research across the U.S., using methods from diverse disciplines, such as combining field experiments with computer modeling. Dr. Lautz has received numerous awards for her teaching and research, including the Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award from SU and a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. She holds a B.S. in geology from Lafayette College, a M.Ed. in teaching and curriculum from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in geology from SU. Dr. Lautz grew up in Syracuse, where she now resides with her husband and 4-year old twins. You can learn more about her work at her keynote address and lab website: http://hydrology.syr.edu.