The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Past Semester - Summer 2015

students in discussion at poster session
Past Events for students to introduce a variety of science-based careers
  • W203 Millenium Science Complex
    (Penn State)

    The event is a town-hall style Q&A in which Dr. Mann will talk about his experiences, as a scientist, dealing with policy makers on Capitol Hill. In particular, he will discuss what he thinks his biggest hurdles were as a scientist communicating to policy makers, which types of messages worked best (and which weren't effective), and what he thinks our generation of scientists can do to contribute to reasonable science policy.


    Please RSVP using this link if you plan to attend for food estimation purposes:


    This event is co-sponsored by the Penn State Center for Science Advocacy (CSA) club and the Huck Graduate Student Advisory Committee. More information can be found here:

  • 301D Life Sciences Building
    (National Institutes of Health Division of Nutrition Research Coordination)

    Want to learn more about careers in law, consulting, and/or science policy? Are you curious about working for government agencies like the NIH?


    Please RSVP to -- coffee/tea and snacks will be provided!


    Dr. Sheila Fleischhacker is a Senior Public Health and Science Policy Advisor at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Division of Nutrition Research Coordination (DNRC) where she utilizes her unique expertise in nutritional sciences and health law to assist with strategic planning to enhance Federal human nutrition research and shape the research agenda for nutrition-related health disparities research.  Dr. Fleischhacker is lead author of and contributes to a variety of peer-reviewed publications including law reviews, policy briefs and systematic reviews, addressing a range of food and nutrition law and policy issues such as federal food and nutrition assistance programs, land use and zoning with the potential to foster or impede healthy eating, and food safety.  She has drafted food, nutrition and health legislation and campaign positions at the local, state, tribal and federal levels.


    At the NIH, Dr. Fleischhacker advises decision makers across the federal family and reviews federal documents in the areas of environmental and policy strategies for chronic disease prevention and health promotion, food and nutrition policy, tribally-led obesity prevention, community engagement and health equity including monitoring legislative developments at the national, tribal, state and local levels.  She serves as the NIH Recorder for the Interagency Committee on Human Nutrition Research National Nutrition Research Roadmap, advises the CDC-supported Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (NOPREN), contributes via the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research to the development and annual updating of the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) Obesity Prevention Toolkit for States, and coordinates active living and healthy eating contributions to the NIH Health in Building Roundtable.


    Other relevant activities Sheila contributes to include the Healthy People 2020 Nutrition and Weight Status and Social Determinants of Health Working Groups, Let’s Move! in Indian Country and the HHS/GSA Nutrition and Sustainability Guidelines Team.


    Dr. Fleischhacker received her B.S. (2000) and J.D. with Certificate in Law (2007) from Loyola University Chicago and her Ph.D. (2004) in Integrative Biosciences/Nutritional Sciences from The Pennsylvania State University.  She was admitted to the Illinois Bar in November 2007. 


    This event is hosted by the Center for Science Advocacy student group and the MCIBS graduate program.

  • 100 Life Sciences Building (Berg Auditorium)
    (Science Magazine)

    Dr. Beverly Purnell will be giving a two-part seminar discussing her career as a science editor as well as how to get your papers published.


    As Senior Editor at Science Magazine, Dr. Beverly Purnell handles manuscripts in the areas of stem cells, developmental biology, gene regulation, reproductive biology, and related fields. Her duties include the recruitment, selection, and scientific editing of papers for publication in Science. Along with colleagues at Science, Dr. Purnell has coordinated special issues on topics such as germ cells, stem cells, organogenesis, reproductive biology, developmental timing, parenting, forces in development, and women’s health.


    Dr. Purnell earned a B.S. at Shepherd College with double major in biology and chemistry and minor in math. Positions held include Research Laboratory Assistant in stone fruit breeding at a USDA Agricultural Research Station and a Fellowship at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health. She obtained a Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in molecular biology at the Pennsylvania State University with a project in C. elegans sex determination in the group of Carol Trent and Drosophila gene expression with David Gilmour, respectively. Dr. Purnell was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship to do postdoctoral work at the Max Planck Institute in Goettingen, Germany, with research in Drosophila head development and gene regulation in the group of Herbert Jaeckle. She joined the AAAS and Science staff in 1997.


    This event is hosted by the Huck Graduate Student Advisory Committee and the BMB department as part of the Career & Professional Development Seminar Series.

  • (Penn State)

    The Penn State Graduate Women in Sciene (GWIS) will be hosting the 94th annual GWIS national meeting this June, with a STEM symposium on careers taking place on Saturday, June 20th. The topic of this year's meeting is 'Beyond the Bench' and will feature dynamic speakers with unique experiences in outreach, education, and non-STEM fields; a poster session with a cash prize of $400; social events; and a silent auction with Walt Disney World and museum tickets!


    To learn more and to register, visit:

  • 102 Thomas Building
    (The Procter & Gamble Company)

    Determining the next step in life after nearly 20 years of education can be quite daunting as mentors, advisers, parents, and friends may be encouraging you to pursue different career paths. While a post doc position seems like the natural next step to take, maybe you’ve also flirted with the idea of another path outside of the comfortable familiarity of academia. The reality is that few PhDs will reach the coveted level of Full Professor. So…what are the rest of us to do? There are many career paths to follow of which a position in industry is one.  Perspective on what you can expect in, what type of people thrive in, and how you can prepare for a position in industry will be shared. Open dialogue is encouraged.


    As a Senior Scientist in Global Microbiology at the Procter & Gamble Company, Maiysha leads beauty care microbiology productivity and compliance innovation and ensures product quality and compliance in market and for R&D initiatives globally. In addition, she is a member of Biofusion (internal Life Sciences Community of Practice), serves on the new hire-focused North America R&D On-Boarding Steering Team, and also serves as a life sciences recruiter in partnership with North America Talent Supply. Externally, Maiysha was recently appointed to the American Society for Microbiology Education Board Committee on Minority Education.


    Maiysha received her B.S. in Biology from Xavier University of Louisiana and then spent six months as an intern in P&G’s Environmental Science Department (now the Environmental Stewardship Organization) optimizing a chemical screening assay for wastewater discharged to surface water. She then earned her M.S. and Ph.D. from The Gillings School of Global Public Health at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Environmental Sciences and Engineering where her research focused on identifying soil bacteria that degrade organic contaminants.


    Maiysha offers a unique career perspective as she started working for Procter & Gamble directly after finishing her Ph.D. In addition, she was more interested in pursuing a career in industry that took her away from the bench and into a managerial position.

  • W-201 Millennium Science Complex
    (Penn State)

    Dr. Jenifer Smith is a professor in the Forensic Science department. However, before coming to Penn State, she was an FBI Special Agent and also worked with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). She received her B.S. in biochemistry from Penn State and a Ph.D. in Physiological Chemistry from The Ohio State University. She then went on to do a postdoc at Harvard University. Dr. Smith will be discussing her career path and then participating in an informal Q&A.


    Refreshments and snacks will be provided. This event is hosted by the CMIID group.

  • W-201A Millennium Science Complex
    (United States House of Representatives)

    The Centre for Science Advocacy is hosting Congressman Glenn Thompson for an informal discussion/Q&A. Representative Thompson's district includes Penn State, so he is our representative in Congress!


    For more info on Representative Thomspon along with his policies, voting record, and committee assignments, please visit his website:


    Attendance for this event is limited to 20 spots, so if you would like to attend, please RSVP by Monday July 13th to Stephanie Bora ( If you RSVP and then have to cancel, please also let Stephanie know so that someone else may take your spot.


    This event is sponsored by the Huck Graduate Student Advisory Committee (HGSAC). Coffee and cookies will be provided.

  • 100 Life Sciences Building (Berg Auditorium)
    (Saint Francis University)

    Dr. Pedro Muíño is a Professor of Chemistry and Research Integrity Officer at Saint Francis University as well as a former Investigative Scientist for the Office of the Inspector General at the National Science Foundation (NSF).


    This seminar is part of the 2015 Orientaiton Week Seminar Series for the Chemistry Department, but others are welcome to attend. This presentation counts for SARI credit, and refreshments will be provided.

  • 100 Life Sciences (Berg Auditorium)
    (University of Notre Dame)

    Dr. Karen Deak is the Director of the Masters of Science in Patent Law program at the University of Notre Dame. She is a PhD geneticist and a registered U.S. patent agent.


    This seminar is part of the 2015 Orientaiton Week Seminar Series for the Chemistry Department, but others are welcome to attend. Refreshments will be provided.