Zuckerman Symposium: Women in STEM
Prof. Ada Yonath, the keynote speaker at the Zuckerman Symposium
The third annual Zuckerman US-Israel Symposium, focused on the advancement of women in STEM subjects, took place in November on the Weizmann Institute campus. The symposium was part of the Mortimer B. Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program, which awards financial grants to American postdoctoral fellows doing research in Israel, provides vital resources to Israeli universities, facilitates the return of Israeli scholars to Israeli institutions, and helps support Israeli postdocs doing research in the US.
The Zuckerman STEM Program, established in 2016, has funded 125 scholars at 63 American universities and seven Israeli universities to date. In the 2019-2020 year, three out of its four faculty scholars are women, and women comprise 54% of this year’s grantees.
“Our uncle Mort Zuckerman would be kvelling over the impressive group here today, especially by the overwhelming number of women in the program,” says Eric Gertler, a trustee of the Zuckerman Institute. “We consider the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program to be a ripple of hope and a center of energy, and we’re confident that this great collaboration will have a lasting impact on the world.”
James Gertler, another trustee of the Zuckerman Institute, says, “We look forward to more and more successes for the women in our STEM program and the United States-Israel academic exchange.”
The event included talks and panels including women from academia, industry and government. The speakers included Dina Ben-Yehuda, Dean of the Hadassah – Hebrew University School of Medicine; Dr. Irit Idan, Executive Vice President of Research Development at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems; and Marissa Gross Yarm, Head of International Student Affairs at the Israeli Council for Higher Education. Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen from the Science Mission Directorate of NASA also took part.
From the Weizmann Institute, participants included Prof. Ada Yonath, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2009, and a former postdoctoral researcher in her lab, Dr. Moran Shalev-Benami of the Department of Structural Biology, a Zuckerman Scholar, who described her research on visualizing protein function.