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Society of Women in Sciences and Mathematics

Spring 2017 auburn.edu/cosam

Q&A WITH DR. KACIE Tell us about your time at Auburn.

As a first-generation college student, and
I still had no idea what I would do within
the field. I had some basic science research
JACKSON SAULTERS one of only a few high school friends who went opportunities in the summer and shadowed
straight to a four-year university, I didnt really at a local physical therapy center. Both were
The journey from first-generation college
know what to expect from Auburn when I good learning experiences, but I didnt find
student to assistant professor of medicine
arrived. At first, I was quite nervous and didnt them exciting enough for a career. Eventually,
at Georgetown University
get involved right away. After I transitioned I narrowed down my choices to public health
into the College of Sciences and Mathematics, and medical school, with the idea to use
I started out by doing supplemental instruction my newfound love for biology in a helping
for a non-majors biology class. Then, I became profession. I did both a public health internship
a peer advisor for pre-health students and a and extensive physician shadowing and decided
COSAM Leader. Thanks to Anne Gorden, on the latter about six months prior to my
associate professor in the Department of December 2007 graduation. In terms of staying
Chemistry, and former COSAM Dean Marie in academics, now as an assistant professor, my
Wooten, I was inspired to start a chapter of the love for teaching definitely started at Auburn.
Association of Women in Science, or AWIS, Between leading supplemental instruction
at Auburn, an organization that is still active and the incredible experience I had as an
on campus today. I was also involved with the undergraduate teaching assistant in biology
Auburn Christian Student Center and spent labs, I knew I wanted teaching to be an aspect
some summers abroad in Peru and Panama of whatever career I chose. Seeing the look on a
doing mission work. students face when they understood a biology
concept for the first time was so exciting and
What made you want to go into the medical field rewarding, and I still get that feeling when
and ultimately teach? I help my medical students listen to a heart
I was not one of those kids who grew up murmur or feel an enlarged spleen for the
knowing I would become a doctor, but I did first time.
How did you choose to come to Auburn?
know I wanted to work in some type of helping
Originally I thought, given family finances,
profession where I got to work closely with Tell us about your life after Auburn.
that I would attend community college prior
people. I actually started out at Auburn with a After Auburn, I attended medical school
to transferring to a four-year university. My
major in psychology. My freshman year, I took at the University of South Alabama. Halfway
family had always been Auburn fans, so I
Dr. Robert Lishaks general biology course as a through medical school, I married a wonderful
decided to apply to Auburn, just to see what
requirement for my degree. I was surprised at man named Stuart Saulters. Hes a civil
would happen. Not only did I get accepted,
how challenging and fascinating the course was engineer and graduated from Mississippi State,
but I was also blessed to receive a full-tuition
and at how much I enjoyed studying for it. I so fortunately, that rivalry isnt too hard on our
scholarship, allowing me to go straight to a
actually met with him during the year to discuss marriage. I was fortunate to match into my
four-year university.
these feelings, and he encouraged me to change
my major to biology, which I did. At that point, see SWSM page 2


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SWSM continued from page 1...
first choice of residency at the University of
Virginia, where George Petrie was from and
CAREER SPOTLIGHT: in the area and was privileged to work with
some extraordinary chemists and engineers.
where they share Auburns colors. I completed AMY DANNA However, over the next few years, I saw the
my internal medicine residency there in industry contracting and consolidating around
June 2015, with a concentration and some me, so I thought it would be wise to continue
research experience in global health. Stuarts my education. My manager suggested getting
job brought us to the Washington, DC, area an MBA, but I decided on law school instead.
around that time, and I now have my first real I continued working in the chemical industry
job as a hospitalist and assistant professor of and attended law classes at night and on the
internal medicine at Georgetown University. weekend. While it was a really busy schedule
for a few years, combining science and law
How do you feel COSAM prepared you for turned out to be a great decision.
your life and career after graduation? Upon graduation, I jumped at the
COSAM prepared me in so many opportunity to join a litigation firm
ways, and I could talk about it for a long that handles dockets for chemical and
time. Given that I really didnt know what I manufacturing companies. It was a great
wanted to do prior to college, I feel that my experience. Now, as in-house counsel, all
experiences in COSAM, and the people in kinds of cases land on my desk. Some test
COSAM, really helped shape me and guide my chemistry background, but others do not.
me into the physician I am now. I learned Generally, we engage outside law firms to assist
Amy Danna is a lawyer at Huntsman
to love biology from Dr. Lishak, which with case development, discovery, and litigation
International LLC, a global manufacturer
shaped my career choice. The guidance, strategy. On any given day, I coordinate with
and marketer of chemicals used in a variety
encouragement, and mentorship from the outside counsel and outside data management
of industries, such as plastics, automotive,
COSAM advisors and, specifically, Beverley vendors, as well as the company business
aviation, textiles, footwear, paints and coatings,
Childress, director of pre-health professions managers, sales teams, production engineers,
construction, technology, agriculture, healthcare,
programs, always kept me going in the right risk managers, and contract negotiators. Every
detergent, personal care, furniture, appliances,
direction. Drs. Gorden and Wooten gave me case is unique so it never gets boring.
and packaging.
the confidence to start something new with My chemistry education and industry
She received a bachelors degree in
AWIS. My favorite course at Auburn was experience give me an edge in understanding
chemistry at Saint Vincent Seminary in
parasitology with Christine Sundermann. and working up cases involving complex
Pennsylvania, a masters degree in chemistry at
Little did I know, her class would spark my chemical processes. There is often a steep
Auburn University, and went on to study law,
interest in neglected tropical diseases and learning curve for lawyers at the beginning of
earning her juris doctor.
global health, and I now have a pending such a case while they try to understand the
As in-house litigation counsel, she oversees
publication related to this. I could never say chemical reactions, manufacturing process,
lawsuits that affect the company. She manages
enough about Dr. Larry Wit. He was my and industry shorthand particular to the
United States-based litigation and also works
professor, advisor, mentor, and someone who matter. For instance, a lawsuit might involve
with attorneys in South America, Europe,
I will always look to as the ultimate example the purity of chemicals sold, so in addition to
and Asia.
of excellence in teaching, leadership, and truly contract law, it is important for the lawyer to
After Auburn, I moved to Houston to
caring for each and every one of his students. understand product specifications, analytical
work in the chemical manufacturing industry.
In summary, COSAM instilled in me a love test methods, and production capabilities to
In part because of the excellent education I
of science, gave me a strong educational effectively argue their position. My background
received at Auburn, I secured a job in one of
foundation, and confidence that I could be in science is so beneficial in helping me
the more sophisticated industrial analytical labs
successful in whatever path I chose. manage all aspects of my job.


Since its inception in 2006, the Society of Women in Sciences and Mathematics technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM fields, and meet the needs of our
has been committed to fulfilling its mission of increasing awareness of the alumnae, students, faculty, and community, while maintaining and strengthening
opportunities available in sciences and mathematics fields for women at all stages our involvement with the aforementioned programs. Proposed additions are: Lecture
of their careers, supporting experiences to enhance the learning environment, and Series, Mentoring Program, Shadowing Opportunities, Faculty Lunch and
encouraging young women to pursue career paths in sciences and mathematics. Learns, and Career Expo.
The society has met these goals by providing financial support for programs at We would love your input on ways to enhance our program and provide more
each stage of the pipeline: Science and Engineering Fair, Summer Science opportunities to our alumnae, students, and faculty. You can find a link to a survey
Institute, Womens Leadership Symposium, Scholarships for Undergraduate at auburn.edu/cosam/swsm where you can provide your opinions and ideas on
Students, Faculty Service Award, and SWSM Holiday Reception. current programs and proposed future opportunities.
SWSM and its loyal supporters have made quite an impact, but we realize there By supporting these programs, SWSM is able to provide recognition for excellence
is so much more we can do. In celebration of 125 years of Auburn Women, the and encouragement for the next generation of female scientists and mathematicians
society will be expanding to provide more opportunities for women in science, through peer mentoring, professional development, and leadership experiences.

SWSM Newsletter_0316.indd 2 3/30/17 9:49 AM

Chandana Mitra, assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences

locations throughout Birmingham, impervious surfaces in downtown Birmingham

Opelika, and Auburn. They placed 20 absorb more heat which is released at night.
iButtons in downtown Birmingham and Mitra also looked at heat intensity
surrounding rural areas, and 20 iButtons in differences during two heat waves.
the Auburn-Opelika area including Tiger There were two high heat spells during our
Town, The Hotel at Auburn University and study that occurred continuously for three days.
Dixon Conference Center, Samford Park, During these timeframes, the average daytime
and various rural locations. temperature difference between urban and rural
Temperatures were gauged during a span areas in Birmingham was about 11 degrees
of six months, and data was then analyzed. Fahrenheit. At night, it was about 9 degrees
They discovered that in the Auburn-Opelika Fahrenheit. The Auburn-Opelika average
area, there is an average 4.39 degree Fahrenheit daytime temperature difference between rural
heat intensity difference between urban and and urban areas was 18.92 degrees Fahrenheit,
rural areas during the day. Birmingham had an and the nighttime difference was about 7
average 3.84 degree Fahrenheit daytime heat degrees Fahrenheit.
intensity difference. Mitra noted these numbers are significant
because they could spell danger for the most
Scientists have long understood the effect
vulnerable members of society, including the
large urban areas like New York City or
elderly, children, and those who work outdoors.
Atlanta have on temperature these mega
Those living and working in areas that are
cities are warmer than nearby rural locations
nearly 10 or more degrees hotter than the high
due to increased energy usage, the enormous
temperature for the day are at a higher risk for
presence of heat-absorbing impervious surfaces
emergency health situations, said Mitra. We
like concrete, steel, and asphalt, and dwindling
can mitigate the effects of urban heat islands
green spaces. Scientists refer to these heat-
by promoting more green space, incorporating
producing urban centers as urban heat islands.
verdant rooftops or white rooftops. We can
What is less understood is whether smaller
use less energy by adopting solar panels and
urban areas create the same urban heat
rainwater-catching techniques. All of this
island effect.
contributes to a much cooler, sustainable
In an effort to shed light on the heat-
community, and a resilient one too.
causing potential of small to mid-sized
cities, Chandana Mitra, assistant professor
in COSAMs Department of Geosciences,
completed a study on whether the Auburn-
Opelika and Birmingham areas create enough
The reason Birminghams heat intensity COSAM female faculty members go above and
excess heat to be considered urban heat islands.
difference was smaller is due to the height/ beyond to create new research opportunities,
In 2008 we crossed the line between urban
and rural, and we now have more people living width ratio of the buildings in the Auburn- mentor other women, and work together to
in urban areas than rural areas, said Mitra. Opelika area versus Birmingham, explained solve any day-to-day issues they may face.
Urbanization is happening rapidly; its a global Mitra. Downtown Birmingham buildings
Nanette Chadwick, associate professor in the
phenomenon. The United Nations forecasts are taller and the gap between buildings is
less, which means there is more shade. In the Department of Biological Sciences, serves as
that over 70 percent of the worlds population
Auburn-Opelika area, there are not many tall a mentor for the Smiths Station High School
will be living in urban areas by 2050, which
buildings and there is a larger space between grant proposal and funded teaching project
is why it is imperative we gather information
on how urban heat islands affect local buildings, which means there is less shade. on clownfish aquaculture and symbiotic
climate change and how we can lessen As a result, during the day, the difference in systems for high school biology students, in
human discomfort. average temperature between rural and urban collaboration with biology teacher, Jamie Sikes,
Mitra, along with geography masters areas is greater in Auburn-Opelika than it is via National Education Association Foundation
student Andy Hug 14, GIS Specialist for in Birmingham. Grants for Educators. This grant includes funding
the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust, used 40 However, at night the reverse happens.
a female biology teacher in high school to serve
iButtons, which are highly accurate, small The temperature difference between the urban
and rural areas is less in the Auburn-Opelika
as a role model for girls in science.
digital thermometers that store data, to measure
temperature differences in rural and urban area because the tall buildings and increased

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Non-Profit Organization
College of Sciences and Mathematics US POSTAGE
Office of Development PAID
315 Roosevelt Concourse Auburn, AL
1161 W. Samford Ave., Bldg. 8 Permit #9
Auburn, AL 36849-0001


Auburn University is an equal opportunity educational institution/employer.

Each year, the Society of Women in Sciences and

Mathematics Symposium invites women to be a part of a
dynamic, one-day experience. The symposium includes
a panel discussion from accomplished women in various
disciplines, opportunities to receive mentorship for possible
career paths, and a luncheon featuring a keynote speech
delivered by a woman distinguished in her discipline.
The Marie W. Wooten Distinguished Speaker at the 2017
SWSM Symposium will be Audrey Goins Brichi, biological
sciences 74, zoology entomology 77, former manager of

diversity and inclusion for Chevron Corporations Office of
Global Diversity, Ombuds and University Partnerships.
The event is sponsored by SWSM, a COSAM-based
organization committed to increasing awareness of the
for the 11th annual SWSM Symposium and Luncheon opportunities available for women in the fields of sciences

MAY 4, 2017
and mathematics.

To register, complete the enclosed form and mail to:

Kristen Bond
Auburn University
131 Sciences Center Classrooms Building
315 Roosevelt Concourse
Auburn, AL 36849-5319

Or visit auburn.edu/cosam/swsmregistration
to download a registration form and email it to

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