Local organization helps women in science find their voice in ‘a room of all men’

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Local women ranging from college students to top-level executives are getting a lift in their professional development through the Southern California chapter of Women in Bio, which also is offering a new grant opportunity intended to promote diversity.Based in San Diego, the WIB Southern California chapter, which also serves Orange and Los Angeles counties, has 423 members and is “rapidly growing,” according to chapter Chairwoman Jennie Starr.WIB, a nationwide organization with 14 chapters in cities with “robust life science and biotech clusters,” aims to provide women “a network and a support structure … throughout their careers,” said Starr, a Del Mar resident. Several of WIB’s programs were started in San Diego and became models for the national programs, she said.The programs meet monthly. Many were meeting in La Jolla before going virtual in the spring amid the coronavirus pandemic, Starr said. One such program, Mentors Advisors Peers and Sponsorships, was created by Starr before she was chairwoman and is responsible for much of the chapter growth, she said.

Gayani Weerasinghe, a member of Women in Bio, says the organization helps keep her connected to the science community.(Courtesy)

Gayani Weerasinghe, a University Towne Center-area resident with a practice in …

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