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Women in STEM: Professional Advice for High
School Students

Women in STEM
Speakers at the Young Women in STEM workshop were Dr. Elizabeth Singewald,
Dr. Sandy Saouaf, Dr. Ryan Savitz, Dr. Sylvia Riviello, and Tiffany Connelly.


None of the young women from St. Elizabeth’s High School and Bethlehem Catholic High School had ever heard the word “Lycra,” but they all knew about Spandex.


Dr. Elizabeth Singewald, who worked in research for DuPont for ten years (including six in the fabric and fiber field working on Lycra) is one of four speakers who mesmerized 15 young ladies from those high schools at a Young Women in STEM workshop on October 23.


Now an adjunct chemistry professor at Neumann, Dr. Singewald told the audience of budding scientists, “I was motivated to work on something that would have value for the general population.” Her work on an essential component of Spandex certainly achieved that goal.


Her tales of undergraduate research (“We played in the lab. We broke things. We caught thing on fire.”) and corporate experience (working in a glove box filled with argon to protect its contents from oxygen) fascinated the students. She shared details of her journey from small college to large university to corporate research to intellectual property to teaching, telling the students “How we get where we are is not always a direct path.”


Dr. Sandy Saouaf’s career journey was very different. After working in the oncology department at Bristol-Myers Squibb, the protein biochemistry department at Glaxo-Smith Kline, and the department of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, she left Penn to start her own consulting business to the pharmaceutical and biotechnical industries. This business grew into what is now her very own biotechnical company that is in the process of developing therapeutics to fulfill unmet needs in autoimmune disease.


She majored in biochemistry at Rutgers University, where she realized that “there is so much that is unknown about immunology, and that interests me.” She admits that the transition to entrepreneur has been a lonely and risky road, but she’s motivated to find treatments for multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Type I diabetes.

“Academia has the most interesting research,” she cautioned the students, “but it’s so engrossing that it can take over your whole life.”


The event was organized by Dr. Sylvia Riviello, head of the Math and Science Department and assistant professor of chemistry. Other panelists at the workshop were:


Tiffany Connelly, an analytical scientist at QS Pharma, which provides a broad range of contract development/research and clinical/commercial manufacturing services for pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies. The 2014 Neumann graduate is currently working on testing to assist with critical care treatment of HIV, leukemia, osteoporosis and many other illnesses.


Dr. Ryan Savitz, a professor of mathematics at Neumann University. He earned a BS in applied mathematics and economics from Ursinus College, an MBA from Drexel University, a MS in statistics from Temple University, and a Ph.D. in business administration from Touro University International. He teaches a variety of classes, ranging from developmental algebra to advanced mathematical statistics. 

After the initial presentations, the students networked with the panelists; met Katrina Terry and Haley Broomell, two Neumann students who will major in biology (clinical laboratory science); and ate lunch with Neumann’s science and math professors.


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