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  • Our Mission

    New York Women in Natural Sciences, Inc. (WINS) is a chapter of the Association for Women in Science and a community resource group that aims to promote and provide skills for the advancement of women in science at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and surrounding institutions. Our efforts are inclusive of the advancement of women and all underrepresented groups in science.

  • News


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    Announcing the Eleanor J. Sterling Student Leadership Scholarship


    AWIS-WINS is deeply saddened to share the passing of WINS Founding Member and Treasurer, Dr. Eleanor J. Sterling. In her honor, we have renamed our student scholarship the Eleanor J. Sterling Student Leadership Scholarship in recognition of her devotion to mentoring early career scholars and promoting a more inclusive workplace. This scholarship covers the AWIS national membership fees for graduate students who are serving on the WINS Chapter Executive Board or who are very active on subcommittees. Read more about Eleanor's accomplishments and contributions here.

  • What We Do

    Past, Present, and Future!

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    Advocacy Committee

    Providing Opportunities to Enact Positive Change

    The Advocacy Committee works to research, plan, and coordinate activities that advance the mission of WINS through advocacy. These include participating in marches, holding action lunch hours and trainings to support our individual members’ efforts, and advocating for positive changes in our workplaces and laboratories towards more inclusive, equitable, and diverse spaces.


    The Advocacy Committee is just one of many committees in WINS. If you are interested in becoming more involved, we suggest you join our mailing list below and learn more about the work that we do within and outside the American Museum of Natural History. You can also check out our "Resources" page.

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    Making the Unseen Visible

    Untold stories of change-makers in conservation and natural history

    In the realms of science, countless members of underrepresented groups have acted and continue to serve as change agents, contributing to the fields through their work as scientists and in other roles. Yet their stories are largely unknown, reminding us of the subjective nature of how history is recorded. We initiated this project to raise awareness of these previously unknown change makers in conservation and museum-based natural sciences in considering historical, contemporary, social and political contexts. We believe that bringing these voices to the foreground and celebrating the lives and legacies of these individuals will be inspirational to current and future generations of scientists. Explore these Untold Stories at untoldstories.net.

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    Guest Speaker Series

    Learning together for professional and personal development

    Every year, WINS hosts guest speakers on wide-ranging topics from navigating the challenges of institutional culture, to anti-harassment, to financial planning, to cutting-edge research. As an example, in her talk titled "The Social Life of DNA", Dr. Alondra Nelson (currently the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy) took us on an unprecedented journey into how the double helix has wound its way into the heart of the most urgent contemporary social issues around race. Artfully weaving together interactions with root-seekers alongside illuminating historical details and revealing personal narrative, she demonstrated that genetic genealogy is a new tool for addressing old and enduring issues, including grappling with the unfinished business of slavery, establishing ties with African ancestral homelands, and making legal claims for slavery reparations. Follow WINS or scroll below for more information about future events like this!

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    Mentoring Circles Program

    Where everyone can be a mentor and be mentored

    This program provides a space for groups of people at different stages of their career (e.g., lab technicians, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, senior scientists and faculty, institute directors, and those involved in science education and communications) to meet and mentor each other on all topics of professional life. The group members decide among themselves the direction of the group and the content of the discussions, which can range from concrete career counseling to relaxing social exchanges. As a part of this program, we arrange a workshop on professional skills open to the whole Museum community.

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    AWIS Star Chapter Award Recipient

    Cultivating talent and leadership among our membership

    In 2022 and in several past years, New York WINS has been recognized as a Star Chapter and Affiliate Award recipient by the Association for Women in Science (AWIS). The AWIS STAR award is given to select Chapters and Affiliates that have made a difference by increasing skills, and support to a community of talented women in STEM, while also empowering key-decision makers and gatekeepers with the knowledge and tools necessary to address systemic issues that have inhibited access and inclusion. To learn more about AWIS, go to awis.org.

  • Upcoming Events

    Click on an event for more information!

  • Join Us

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    Step 1

    Join the WINS mailing list and community

    Sign-up to join the WINS email mailing list and get periodic emails with updates on and access to meetings, events, and resources. Joining our mailing list makes you a member of the WINS community.


    Membership is open to all—you do not need to identify as a woman, a scientist, or an American Museum of Natural History employee to join.

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    Step 2 (Optional)

    Join the NY WINS chapter of AWIS

    If you'd like to be a voting member of WINS, run for an elected position, receive free resources and webinars from the national organization, or financially support the advancement of women in science, please consider becoming a dues-paying member of the NY WINS chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS). You'll also get a discount on our ticketed events and items in our shop!


    Membership has three tiers (Student, Early Career, and Full). When registering for an AWIS membership, be sure to select NY Women in Natural Sciences (NY WINS) as your home chapter under the section for Membership categories.


    Be sure to also sign up for our WINS mailing list via Step 1.

  • Our Leadership

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    Lisa Rifkind


    Lisa Rifkind is the New Media Specialist for the American Museum of Natural History’s Communications Department, where she creates video and digital content to bring the work of the Museum to the general public. She has a background in documentary filmmaking and content creation for museums and nonprofits. She is passionate about science communication and enjoys using media to make scientific ideas accessible to everyone.

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    Samantha Alderson

    Vice President

    Samantha Alderson is the Assistant Director of Science Conservation at AMNH, where she has worked for 30 years. In her current position, she is part of a team focused on the care and preservation of collections in all science divisions for use in research, education, and exhibition. Her specialization is in Anthropology collections, where she is dedicated to improving care for indigenous cultural material both by striving to integrate the perspectives, expertise, and guidance of descendant communities and contributing to efforts to diversify the field of conservation.

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    McKenna Santiago Coyle


    McKenna Santiago Coyle (she/her) is a Curatorial Assistant in the Ambrose Monell Cryo Collection at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). She helps to organize and maintain a large collection of cryogenically frozen tissue specimens as an important repository of biodiversity. She hopes, through WINS, to foster an inclusive environment for women and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

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    Willow Lawson


    Willow is a writer in the AMNH Exhibition department, hired initially for the Northwest Coast Hall project. She has degrees in archaeology and journalism from Harvard and Columbia, respectively. As a descendant of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Willow is interested in how to make AMNH a more accessible and welcoming place for Indigenous communities. The WINS group, and especially the Mentoring Circles, has greatly enriched her experience at AMNH. She is excited to contribute to the good work of WINS.

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    Dr. Maria Strangas

    Member at Large

    Dr. Maria Strangas is an evolutionary biologist and the Manager of the Science Research Mentoring Program at the American Museum of Natural History, a program in which high school students work directly with scientist-mentors on authentic research projects. She is dedicated to building connections between science research and education, and leads activities for professional scientists and youth alike. Maria is also active in the NYC branch of the organization 500 Women Scientists. Her biological research explores how climatic environments shape where particular species can and can’t live, primarily focused on turtles and lizards.

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    Dr. Mary Blair


    Dr. Blair (she/her) is the Director for Biodiversity Informatics Research at the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the Amercain Museum of Natural History (AMNH). She studies the conservation biology of primates and other mammals, and has more than 15 years of field research experience in Latin America and Asia. Mary is also Affiliated Faculty with the Richard Gilder Graduate School at AMNH.

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    RJ Millena

    Graduate Student Representative

    RJ Millena is a PhD student in the American Museum of Natural History’s Comparative Biology program. She works on the evolution, host-parasite relationships, genomics, and systematics of the bizarre twisted-wing insect parasites (Strepsiptera), using preserved insect collections. RJ is passionate about representation in the sciences, and is grateful for the chance to work on the Steering Committee for a group with the same ideals.

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    Dr. Suzanne Macey

    Past President

    Dr. Suzanne Macey (she/her) is the manager of the Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners (NCEP) and a Biodiversity Scientist at the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC) at the AMNH. Suzanne's biological research focuses on the ecology and conservation of turtle species. Suzanne is Adjunct Faculty at Columbia University and mentors students with individual research projects. Suzanne was the WINS President from 2019-2021, and prior to then, Suzanne served as WINS Vice President and Chair of the Mentoring Subcommittee.

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    Dr. Eleanor Sterling

    Co-Founder, Former Treasurer

    AWIS-WINS is deeply saddened to share the passing of WINS Founding Member Dr. Eleanor J. Sterling, who served as chapter Treasurer for a decade. Eleanor leveraged over 30 years of field research and community outreach experience with direct application to biodiversity conservation in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Oceania to focus her work on the intersection between biodiversity, culture, and languages; the factors influencing ecological and social resilience; and the development of indicators of wellbeing in biocultural landscapes. Read a celebration of Eleanor's life and legacy here.

  • Opportunities & Resources

  • Support us with a donation!

    There are two ways to donate to our chapter:

    On the AWIS website

    Go to our chapter's dedicated AWIS donation form to send us a one-time or recurring donation. AWIS will send a donation receipt to you for tax purposes. This is our preferred method of donation. Thank you for your support!


    You can find us on PayPal through our email address: womeninnaturalsciences (at) gmail.com

    Please include as a memo your name and email address so that we can properly acknowledge your gift for tax purposes. Thank you for your support!

  • Follow Us

  • Contact

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