2024 Women in Science Symposium

March 6 & 7, 2024
Lory Student Center,
Colorado State University

The Women in Science (WiSCI) Network is hosting our 8th annual symposium on Wednesday, March 6, and Thursday, March 7, 2024. This year we have decided to expand the event to two days to better accommodate our growing K-12 programming.

Wednesday March 6, 2024 will resemble our previous symposiums, with a focus on bringing diverse voices and perspectives to discuss “How are we going to tackle cancer?…As it impacts us all.” 

On Thursday March 7, local 3rd and 7th graders will interact with STEAM booths developed and hosted by diverse science and art programs across CSU and Northern Colorado.

Please feel free to  join us for part of a day, a full day, or both days of WiSS24!


9 a.m. WiSS Introduction & Land Acknowledgement

9:20 – 9:30 a.m. Opening Remarks

Helen Kilzer, Founder, Banner Health Palliative Care Program

Helen Kilzer

Dr. Helen Kilzer practiced internal medicine and critical care for most of her 36-year career in the Pacific Northwest focusing on patient-centered care. She believed the patient was a partner in their care and her goal was to focus on their priorities and wishes. She believed in the importance of learning patients’ end of life wishes and prioritized their quality of life, no matter the presenting issues.

Dr. Kilzer practiced palliative care principles throughout her career before realizing it was a specialty and found her perfect fit in medicine. After returning to Colorado in 2010 she founded the palliative care program at McKee Medical Center in Loveland and led the program until her retirement in 2019.

9:30 – 11 a.m. Speakers

Nicole Ehrhart, Professor and Director, CSU Center for Healthy Aging

Nicole Ehrhart

Dr. Ehrhart is the Director of Colorado State University’s Columbine Health Systems Center for Healthy Aging and a Full Professor in Clinical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University. She holds the Ross M Wilkins MD Limb Preservation Foundation University Chair in Musculoskeletal Biology and Oncology. She is the Director of the Laboratory of Comparative Musculoskeletal Oncology and Traumatology and has been involved in limb preservation research, regenerative medicine, tissue engineering and cancer research for the last twenty years. She is actively engaged in translational aging research to improve health and lifespan for aging patients-both human and canine- and she focuses on comparative medicine as a powerful tool to bring new therapeutic strategies to slow aging. She holds joint faculty positions in Colorado State University’s School of Biomedical Engineering, Cell and Molecular Biology program, and the University of Colorado Gates Regenerative Medicine Center and University of Colorado Cancer Center. In addition to her leadership roles in many prestigious national and international scientific organizations (ACVS, VSSO, VOS, WVOC), Dr Ehrhart was also the first woman to be granted a University-level Endowed University Chair at Colorado State University.

Jessica Silva-Fisher, Assistant Professor, Washington University Division of Oncology

Jessica Silva-Fisher

Dr. Jessica Silva-Fisher is an Investigator in the Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology who studies how RNA contributes to cancer metastasis. Her lab focuses on better understanding the roles of non-coding RNAs and RNA modifications in metastatic cancer to utilize them as new therapies.  She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from St. Marys University in San Antonio, Texas-where she is from. Her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a emphasis in Cancer Biology from Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science where she was one of the first to begin studying the importance of long non-coding RNAs in cancer. Her postgraduate career focused on gaining computational and translational research skills at the McDonnell Genome Institute and at Washington University School of Medicine.

She has a long history in doing diversity and inclusion work starting in graduate school that continued at WUSM as the Co-Chair of the DOM Trainee Inclusion and Cultural Awareness Task Force and is currently the one of the Founders and Director of the Mentorship to Enhance Diversity in Academia (MEDA) Program, and the new Assistant Director of DEI for Division of Oncology. She also serves as a mentor and role model for many students at WUSM and within the scientific community.

Anne Avery, Professor, CSU Clinical Hematopathology Lab

Anne Avery

Under the direction of Dr. Anne Avery, the mission of the CSU Clinical Hematopathology Laboratory (formerly Clinical Immunology) is to aid veterinarians in the accurate diagnosis of hematologic malignancies, and to further our understanding of these diseases in canine and feline patients. They have provided diagnostic testing services since 2002, and in 2019 tested samples from more than 13,500 unique canine and feline patients from over 2,700 clinics. These cases, and the follow up information generously provided by submitting clinics, has helped to better define breed trends in lymphoma and leukemia, factors involved in prognosis, and to identify parallels between human and canine lymphoma.

11 a.m. Lunch

12:00 – 12:45 p.m. Interview: Study of Cancer Over Time on Treatment and Prevention

Moderator – Erica Suchman, Professor, CSU Dept of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology


Susan Carter, Chair, Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Rocky Vista University

Susan Carter, MD, FACOG, FACS, is Executive Director of the Office of Simulation in Medicine and Surgery (SIMS) at Rocky Vista University (RVU) campuses in Parker, Colorado, Ivins, Utah and Billings, Montana. A full Professor, she serves as Chair of the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery. As Director of an American College of Surgeons’ Comprehensive Accredited Education Institute at RVU, Dr. Carter is responsible for development, execution and research of simulation activities for several programs. The Office of SIMS provides simulation events for regional healthcare personnel, with simulation modalities such as 3-D virtual reality, hyper-realistic simulated surgery, diagnostic imaging, hi-fidelity manikins, task-trainers, cadavers and live actor standardized patients.

Receiving her medical degree from University of Texas Medical Branch and completing her residency at the University of Colorado, Dr. Carter remains on Staff at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, where she operated for over 30 years. At NCMC she was Director of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery and pioneered several surgeries in both gynecologic and general surgery.

Chelsea Gawryletz, Medical Oncology Doctor, UC Health

Chelsea Gawryletz

Dr. Gawryletz’s philosophy for breast cancer patient care involves an integrative approach to mind, body, and spirit. She has a strong foundation in genomics and individualizing patient care. She delivers excellence in patient care through attention to detail, kindness, and by studying and delivering world-class, cutting-edge therapies and combinations of novel therapies.

Dr. Gawryletz was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. Dr. Gawryletz’s husband was born and raised in Trail British Columbia, Canada and works for the NHL as an On-Ice Official (Linesman). They have two daughters. They enjoy learning Japanese language and culture, alpine skiing, rafting The Colorado River, mountain biking, hiking, swimming, camping, traveling, dance and gymnastics. They have a Golden Retriever named Nanook. As a family, they enjoy travel and everything outdoors!

12:45 – 1:15 p.m. The Art Science Continuum Dedicated to the musings of the late Ed Hoover.

Napkin doodle by the late Ed Hoover

Mallery Quetawki, Artist-in-Residence with the Community Environmental Health Program (CEHP), University of New Mexico

Headshot of Mallery Quetawki standing in front of two of her DNA paintings (partial views)

Mallery Quetawki is from the Pueblo of Zuni in western New Mexico.  She is currently the Artist-in-Residence with the Community Environmental Health Program at the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy.  Mallery has used art to translate scientific ideas, health impacts and research on uranium mines that are currently undergoing study in several Indigenous communities.  Her work has been featured on National Institutes of Health websites and published in peer-reviewed journals on environmental health and academic medicine.  Currently her work titled, “Our Cultures, Our Languages” is displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York City in the Grounded in Clay exhibit in the American Wing through June 2024.

 Mallery has a large-scale mural titled, “Morning Prayer”, on permanent display at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center which depicts the history of the Zuni People from Creation to modern times. Her oil painting symbolizing the ties between the Grand Canyon and Zuni culture is part of a traveling collaboration called the Zuni Map Art Project.  Other noted works include a 12-piece pastel and ink set entitled “What Makes a Zuni?” on permanent display at the Zuni IHS in Blackrock, NM and two murals painted at the Ho’n A:wan Park in Zuni Pueblo.  Mallery’s work was part of an interactive Google Doodle that kicked off Native American Heritage Month on November 1, 2021.  You can also find her work “Extraction and Remediation” as part of the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum of Contemporary Native Arts’ Exposure: Native Art and Political Ecology traveling exhibit.

Examples of Mallery’s work can be found at www.wakelet.com/@CEHP_Artist, Instagram: @M.Quetawki.Art, and https://www.google.com/doodles/celebrating-the-late-wewa.

1:15 – 2:15 p.m. Panel: How to Best Support Cancer Patients, from Diagnosis to Hospice Care

Moderator – Rushika Perera, Associate Professor, CSU Dept of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology

Michelle Schell, Oncology Clinic Social Worker with hospice experience.

Michelle Schell

Lisa Radice, Treating Oncology Nurse Practitioner works with radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

Lisa Radice

Beth Mosko- Music Therapist, Pathways Hospice

Beth Mosko

Magan Hayes- Inpatient/Outpatient Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner

Magan Hayes

Brooke Chapman – Inpatient/Outpatient Palliative Social Worker

Brooke Chapman

Hailey Kepler, Inpatient/Outpatient Palliative Care and Hospice Nurse Practitioner

Hailey Kepler

2:15 – 3:15 p.m. Round Tables

3:15 – 3:35 p.m. Closing Remarks and Yoga

Led by Heidi Olinger, RYT® 200 and certified Yoga4Cancer instructor

9 – 11 a.m. Women in Science Symposium Programming (see schedule above)

11 – 11:45 a.m. Lunch at the Lory Student Center – boxed lunches provided.

11:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. Walk to Experimental STEM Stations

12 – 2 p.m. STEM Experimental Stations – Learn more about CSU STEM Programs!

Example Rotation:
12 – 12:30 p.m. Food Microbiology
12:30 – 1 p.m. Sci on the Fly or Muscles Alive
1 – 1:30 p.m. Teen Digital Literacy & Wellbeing Station
1:30 – 2 p.m. VR Experience

2:15 – 3:15 p.m. CSU Tour back to Lory Student Center for WiSS closing remarks and yoga.

3:15 – 3:35 p.m. Closing Remarks and Yoga

Led by Heidi Olinger, RYT® 200 and certified Yoga4Cancer instructor

9: 30 a.m. Arrive at Lory Student Center

9:30 – 10 a.m. Opening Remarks & Game

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Experimental Learning Activities and CSU Campus Tours

Sci On the Fly
Food Microbiology
CSU Art and Dance
Occupational Sciences
CSU Bug Zoo
Environmental Sciences
Geoscience Activity

A break for lunch will be part of each scheduled experience.