SWIGS | Society for Women in Graduate Studies in Chemistry and Biochemistry at UC San Diego

Society for Women in Graduate Studies in Chemistry and Biochemistry at UC San Diego

Our mission is to foster a community for inspiring the pursuit of gender equality in STEM.

Upcoming Events

October Monthly Meeting

When: Wed, Oct 9 from 1-2pm Where: Pacific Hall Rm 4500 What: Set your intention: SWIGS sponsored yoga

November Monthly Meeting

When: Wed, Nov 6 from 1-2pm Where: Pacific Hall Rm 4501 Topic: TBA

Dec Monthly Meeting

When: Wed, Dec 4 from 1-2pm Where: TBA Topic: TBA


Professor Stacey Brydges approached graduate stduents Alissa Sasayama and Jane Henderson during their first year in the Kubiak group with her ideas for starting a women’s group in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. The ladies ran with the idea and created SWIGS in spring of 2011. Alissa continued to develop SWIGS as President for the following four years. In 2012, Melissa Helm joined the Kubiak group as a first-year graduate student and quickly became involved with SWIGS. Melissa served as vice president from 2013-2015, before becoming president for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Thanks in large part to the women who have come before us, SWIGS has grown over the last 7 years to reach 35 members and a total of 109 mailing list subscribers. In the last year alone, SWIGS hosted 51 events averaging 12 attendees with discussion topics such as “Negotiation Tactics: Getting to Yes,” professional development seminars such as “Finding and Applying for Non-academic positions,” outreach activities such as Expanding Your Horizons San Diego, and a number of social gatherings outside of the lab.

Recently, SWIGS was the recipient of the 2017 UC San Diego Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action & Diversity Award.

Check out our yearly newsletter!

2013-2014 2013-2014 Left to right: Melissa Clark (Vice President), Alissa Sasayama (President) and Lisa Adamiak (Outreach Coordinator).
2014-2015 2014-2015 Left to right: Lisa Adamiak (Outreach Coordinator), Jacquelin Kammeyer (Secretary), Alissa Sasayama (President), Jessie Peters (Interclub Liaison), Melissa Clark (Vice President), and Katherine Nadler (Seminar Coordinator).
2015-2016 2015-2016 Left to right: Faith Katz (Secretary and Marketing Coordinator), Jessie Moreton (Professional Development Coordinator), Melissa Helm (President), Katherine Nadler (Vice President), Yanice Benitez (Junior Outreach Coordinator), Gwen Merlen (Junior Outreach Coordinator)
2016-2017 2016-2017 Left to right: Faith Katz (Secretary and Marketing Coordinator), Joey Palomba (Inter-Club Liason), Katherine Nadler (President), Naneki Collins (Vice President), Yanice Benitez (Co-Outreach Coordinator), Katia Charov (Co-Outreach Coordinator)
2017-2018 2017-2018 Left to right: Liora Mael (Outreach Coordinator), Ellen Coddens (Profession Development), Jessie Moreton (President), Katia Charov (Vice President), and Joey Palomba (Inter-Club Liason).

2019-2020 Principle Members

Katia Charov - President

Katia is the current President of SWIGS after serving as Co-Outreach Coordinator in 2016-2017 and Vice President in 2017-2018. She is a fifth year graduate student in the Burkart Lab researching natural product biosynthesis. When not in lab, Katia is probably outside failing to surf or getting sweaty palms while rock climbing.

Brianna Sierra - Vice President

Brianna is the current SWIGS Vice President. She is a third year graduate student in the Burkart lab researching the biosynthetic pathway and structural characteristics of melanin. When not in lab, Brianna is most likely to be found outdoors hiking or at the beach while managing to never tan but perpetually burn to a crisp red.

Rebecca Re - Professional Development Coordinator

Rebecca is the current Co-Networking/Professional Development Chairs. She is a third year graduate student in the Burkart lab, studying biosynthetic pathways. When not in lab, Rebecca is at the beach with friends, exploring San Diego, or collecting new recipes that she most likely will never try.

Liora Mael - Outreach Coordinator

Liora, the 2019-2020 outreach coordinator, is a fourth year in the Grassian group where she is studying low temperature properties of atmospheric aerosols. When not in lab, Liora can be found trying to teach her pets to be better communicators.

Stacey Brydges - Faculty Advisor

View Bio from UCSD

Past Events

April Monthly Meeting

When: Wed, April 3 from 12:30-2pm Where: Pac Hall 4501 Topic: Implementing Toyota Style Process Improvement to Graduate School

Student Research Seminar

When: Tuesday March 12 @2pm Where: NSB Auditorium What: Join SWIGS and CGSC for five 10-minute talks by graduate students from each of the departmental tracks. Coffee and snacks available!

March Monthly Meeting

When: Wed, March 6 from 12:30-2pm Where: Pac Hall 4501 Topic: Mental load in graduate school