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ELATES Class of 2017-2018


Incoming Class Includes Women Leaders from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Academic Fields

PHILADELPHIA (May, 2017) - ELATE at Drexel®, an elite, one of a kind professional development program for women in the academic STEM fields, is pleased to announce the selection of its 2017-18 class of Fellows.

The incoming class for ELATE at Drexel® includes 26 experienced and diverse women faculty from 23 different institutions across the country and Canada. Each was nominated by her dean or provost and will contribute to institutional initiatives as she expands her leadership skills.

ELATE at Drexel® is a one year, part time program that focuses on increasing personal and professional leadership effectiveness, leading and managing change initiatives within institutions, using strategic finance and resource management to enhance organizational missions, and creating a network of exceptional women who bring organizational perspectives and deep personal capacity to the institutions and society they serve. Facilitated by leaders in the fields of STEM research and leadership development, the curriculum includes classroom lessons and activities, online instruction and discussion, and on-the- job application at each Fellow’s home institution.

“We are thrilled to welcome a new class of women leaders in biology, computer science, engineering, health science, and physics for 2017-18 Fellowship Year. With each new class, ELATE is not only making a difference in the professional lives of participants, but the program is continually expanding the national network of leaders and supporters of women in academic STEM leadership.” Koren A. Bedeau, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Strategic Initiatives.

ELATE at Drexel is a national program uniquely hosted by a research intense university. M. Brian Blake, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Provost, noted his pride in the program. “I am so pleased that Drexel University will again host a new cohort of ELATE Fellows this year, continuing our efforts at advancing women in academic leadership across the country. I am also grateful for the administrative leaders who will mentor fellows, and really partner with us to offer executive training that yields positive impacts for all institutions.”

The work for this incoming class begins in May with online assignments and community building activities, and the program will conclude in March 2018 with a symposium organized around institutional change projects that have been developed in collaboration with the leadership of their organizations, and then graduation ceremonies attended by their deans, provosts, and other university leaders. Fellows begin the first of three week-long, in-residence sessions when they meet for the first time at the ACE Conference Center in Lafayette Hill, PA., on August 5, 2017.

About ELATE at Drexel®: For more information on the ELATE curriculum, faculty and participants, visit

2017-2018 ELATE® at Drexel Fellows 

Jennifer Barton, Ph.D.
University of Arizona, College of Engineering

Valeria Bertacco, Ph.D.
University of Michigan, College of Engineering

Melissa Bilec, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburg, School of Engineering

Caroline Cao, Ph.D.
Wright State University, College of Engineering

Dilma Da Silva, Ph.D.
Texas A&M University, College of Engineering

Theda Daniels-Race, Ph.D.
Louisiana State University, College of Engineering

Lucy Flesch, Ph.D.
Purdue University, College of Science

Lisa Gieg, Ph.D.
University of Calgary, Faculty of Science

K. Jane Grande-Allen, Ph.D.
Rice University, School of Engineering

Jocelyn Grozic, Ph.D.
University of Calgary, School of Engineering

Susan Hallbeck, Ph.D.
Mayo Clinic, Health Care Systems Engineering

Christine Julien, Ph.D.
University of Texas, School of Engineering

Maeve McCarthy, Ph.D.
Murray State University, College of Science, Engineering and Technology

Victoria Meller, Ph.D.
Wayne State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Adrienne Minerick, Ph.D.
Michigan Technological University, College of Engineering

Rita Patterson, Ph.D.
University of North Texas, Health Science Center, College of Osteopathic Medicine

Jenna L. Rickus, Ph.D.
Purdue University, College of Engineering

Caroline Schauer, Ph.D.
Drexel University, College of Engineering

Jelena Srebric, Ph.D.
University of Maryland, School of Engineering

Mitra Taheri, Ph.D.
Drexel University, College of Engineering

Bridget Wadzuk, Ph.D.
Villanova University, College of Engineering

Suzanne Weekes, Ph.D.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Mathematical Sciences

Rebecca K. Willits, Ph.D.
University of Akron, College of Engineering

Gillian Wilson, Ph.D.
University of California, College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

Alenka Zajic, Ph.D.
Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Jessica Zhang, Ph.D.
Carnegie Mellon University, College of Engineering