BUWIC is a community of women, men, transgender, and non-binary people climbing the academic research ladder in the fields of organic, physical, theoretical, biological and medicinal chemistry. Together BUWIC members explore the options, challenges, and opportunities of their current research and future career options.

Annually, BUWIC welcomes a substantial portion of the Chemistry Department’s graduate students, faculty, and staff into the organization.  Please email us at to become a member!

Current Officers

Christa Molé, President,


Year in the Program: 5th

Lab: Perlstein Research Group

Why I joined BUWIC: I want to inspire graduate students to explore all of their options! It is very easy to get lost in research and classes, and never think about what path they want for their future. It’s never too early to start talking with professors, speakers, and other students, and becoming exposed to the numerous opportunities that are available for chemists!

Hobbies: Being outdoors and active, playing with animals, and spending time with friends and family.




Mackenzie Marrs, Vice President, Seminar and Professional Development Coordinator,

PictureYear in Program: 4th

Lab: Porco Research Lab





Arisdelsy Cervantes, Treasurer,

ArisYear in Program: 5th

Lab: Whitty Research Group

Why I joined BUWIC: I joined BUWIC because it’s an organization that aims to help women in the science field. I strongly believe that we need more female representation in the STEM field. I feel like this organization will give me the platform to inspire students to pursue a career in science. I also think it’s a good way to be exposed to different career pathways that could potentially help me and it is a good way to network.

Hobbies: In my free time I like to make playlists and watch films.




Lizzy Karnaukh, Secretary,

LizzyYear in Program: 5th

Lab: Bravaya Research Group

Why I joined BUWIC: I strongly believe in and advocate for the development of programs that support and promote women, transgender, and non-binary folks in STEM fields. Through professional development, outreach, and department-wide events, we can build a community that fosters kinship and leadership in chemistry. 

Hobbies: I love to garden, hike, and do yoga in my free time.




Katherine Cook, Social Chair,

Year in Program: 5th

Lab: Grinstaff Research Group

Why I joined BUWIC: To support and promote underrepresented people in chemistry/STEM fields. I want to help guide other graduate students in STEM fields to be successful in research, promote a sense of community within our university and research field, and to encourage my peers to pursue their dreams as scientists!

Hobbies: Hiking, skiing, crossfit, tennis, and spending time with family and friends.




Sloane O’Neill, Outreach Coordinator,

Sheila Bonitatibus, Fundraising Coordinator,


De’Zhanae Mccall-Butler, Communications Chair,

Year in Program: 2nd 

Lab: Jeffries-EL Research Group







Sam Mueller, Member,

Year in the Program: 4th

Lab: Allen Research Group






Melissa Marquez, Member,

Melissa Marquez

Year in Program: 6th

Lab: Perlstein Research Group

Why I joined BUWIC: At a young age, students begin to develop ideas of who they want to become when they grow up. For this reason, I believe that it is crucial for young women to be exposed to STEM careers early in their lives and through BUWIC we have the opportunity to carry out this notion.

Hobbies: I enjoy running, hiking, serving at my local church, and listening to M83 and Lauren Daigle.




Ndidi Obi, Officer,

Year in Program: 3rd

Lab: Whitty Research Lab


Emily York, Member, 

Image result for emily york boston university

Year in the Program: 5th

Lab: Schaus Research Group






Shiva Dastjerdi, Member, 


Year in the Program: 5th

Lab: Beeler Research Group

Why I joined BUWIC: To build network and influential connections with other scientists especially women in science and to help grow the community of scientist women.


Hobbies: Ice skating, camping, watching movies.



Melissa Burrows, Member, mburrows@bu.eduYear in Program: 3rd

Lab: Bravaya Research Lab

HobbiesI enjoy running, hiking, serving at my local church, and listening to M83 and Lauren Dai.


Mariam Stepanyan Staff Advisor

Dr. Karen Allen Faculty Advisor

Karen Allen


Past Members:

Amanda Vo (

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Year in Program: Graduated! Currently working at Elstar Therapeutics

Previous Lab: Perlstein Research Group

Previous Research: She received her bachelor’s degree from University of Missouri in Medicinal Chemistry.  Amanda worked in Georgia Davis’s lab for a summer looking at different corn genetic traits.  She also worked in Jason Cooley’s lab purifying membrane proteins for deep UV resonance Raman analysis.

Hobbies: She enjoys running, laughing, and spending time with her boyfriend and 3 cats.


Lindsey Walker (


Year in the Program: 5th, Plans to graduate Spring 2019

Lab: Elliott Research Group

Why I joined BUWIC: I joined BUWIC with the hope of helping women become successful in a field still dominated by our male colleagues.

Hobbies: Running, kayaking, writing




Rhea Bains (

RheaYear in the Program: Currently enrolled in the University ofBritish Columbia

Previous Lab: Elliott Research Group

Why I joined BUWIC: To get more involved in the BU community with respect to the gender role of women in science. I want to make an impact on the conversation of women in STEM by addressing some of the issues and strategies women can employ to be successful.

HobbiesListening to podcasts, audiobooks, drinking coffee, and hiking.


Alexis Courtney (

Alexis Young

Year in Program: 6th

Lab: Beeler Research Group

Previous Research: Alexis received her Bachelor of Science degree in Forensic Biochemistry with minors in Chemistry and Mathematics from Bay Path College in Longmeadow, MA. As an undergraduate, Alexis interned at MIT in Professor Kristala Prather’s laboratory working on the biosynthesis of glucaric acid. 

Hobbies: In Alexis’s free time, she enjoys listening to Green Day, practicing yoga, baking, taking hikes with her husband and walking her Chihuahua.


Reem Telmesani (

Year in Program: Graduated!

Previous Lab: Beeler Research Group

Previous Research: During her undergraduate and previous graduate studies, Reem worked on enhancing pharmacists’ role as healthcare professionals in the global community and empowering women in the Middle East to take control of their health. 

Hobbies: In her free time, Reem enjoys running, traveling, and painting.




Year in the Program: Graduated!

Lab: Beeler Research Group

Why I joined BUWIC: In my first year at BU I attended a number of inspiring BUWICLunch Seminars that helped me define goals for myself for being in this Ph.D. program. I think we have a fantastic opportunity to build a strong community of graduate men and women scientists and to empower each other through open discussion about personal and career goals.

Hobbies: Anything to get me outside! I love skiing, hiking, and going to the beach.




Dr. Kristina


Year: Done with Post-Doc!

Lab: Whitty Research Group

Why I joined BUWIC: I became involved in BUWIC because of my passion for outreach. I’m especially interested in bringing accessible science experiments to local community K-12 classrooms to expose students to important fundamental chemistry concepts in a fun and exciting experimental way.

Hobbies: In my free time, I enjoy exploring New England hiking trails and craft breweries.





Year in Program: Graduated!

Lab: Whitty Research Lab

Why I joined BUWIC: I was lucky enough to have several impactful role models who inspired me to pursue a career in science; I would like to now do the same for other young scientists.

Hobbies: I enjoy exploring New England with my camera and reading a good book on the beach.




Katherine O’

Katherine O'TooleYear in Program: Graduated!

Lab: Allen Research Group

Previous Research: She received her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Stonehill College in Easton, MA. During her undergraduate studies, she conducted research in Professor Magdalena James-Pederson’s laboratory studying fungal ligninases and their potential uses in breaking down biomass for biofuel.

Hobbies: In her free time, Katherine enjoys reading, hiking, and sailing.






Margarita Tararina

Year in Program: Graduated!

Lab: Allen Research Group

Previous Research: During her undergraduate and post-baccalaureate studies, she conducted research in Professor Robert Schwarcz’s laboratory concentrating on using in vitro biochemical techniques in efforts of pharmacologically restoring equilibrium in the kynurenine pathway.

Hobbies: In her free time, Margarita enjoys cooking, reading and hiking.




Year in Program: Graduated!

Lab: El-Jefferies Research Lab