Since 2013, Missouri Cures Education Foundation has brought WISER events to St. Joe, Springfield, Kansas City, Columbia, and St. Louis. WISER events highlight women excelling in science, technology, research, business, and innovation and provide women an opportunity to network and learn from one another.

Our WISER events are designed to showcase Missouri’s leading women in science, business, and technology. The Missouri Cures WISER team partners with innovation centers and chambers of commerce around the state to host events throughout the year so we can bring a special focus on women leaders in our field.

With a program centered on thought leadership, medical innovation and research, and entrepreneurial vision, our WISER events highlight influential researchers, WISER women, and community leaders who are actively promoting women in STEM, and who are sponsoring women entrepreneurs that are uplifting the Missouri economy.

Introducing WISER Conversations

Missouri Cures Education Foundation is excited to announce the launch of our first podcast series: WISER CONVERSATIONS, hosted by Executive Director, Dena Ladd. The first podcast of its kind, WISER CONVERSATIONS will promote and explore the work of women in science, entrepreneurship, and research.

This podcast, which will broadcast bi-monthly on Wednesday mornings, will bring together experts from Missouri and around the country to discuss cutting-edge medical and scientific research, innovation, and technology.

In each episode, Dena will speak to women succeeding in their field about their work to move therapies and cures forward, improve the health of our communities, and to stimulate the economy.

Listen here.

This Month’s Featured WISER Woman

Dr. Mary Huff

February 2021

Dr. Mary Huff, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research

Dr. Mary Huff is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, MO. Her work focuses on characterizing the molecular mechanisms supporting the stability of long-term memories. Dr. Huff is also passionate about improving the mental health of the academic research community through reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and building supportive communities at Stowers and the general scientific community and is a co-founder of KCRiBS (KC Researchers in Bio Science), a network of early career scientists in the Kansas City area. Dr. Huff will also be joining a WISER Conversations panel on April 8th. More details to come soon! Learn more about her work here.

Previous Featured WISER Woman

Dr. Becky Lynn

January 2021

Dr. Becky Lynn, , CEO and Founder of Evora Women’s Health at St. Luke’s Hospital

January’s WISER Woman is Dr. Becky Lynn, CEO and Founder of Evora Women’s Health at St. Luke’s Hospital and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Saint Louis University. Dr. Lynn specializes in menopause and sexual health and is a certified North American Menopause Society Physician. She was named as one of the top 100 menopause providers in the United States by Faboverfifty™ in 2020. You can learn more about her work here.
Wiser Women

December 2020

2020 Panelists

This month we want to look back at all of the panelists, partners, attendees, and supporters who helped to make WISER 2020 a success. Missouri Cures Education Foundation hosted 4 virtual events featuring women in science, entrepreneurship and research from Springfield, Kansas City, Columbia, and St. Louis. These panel discussions focused on professional development topics. Scroll down for 2020 recap.
Dr. Lisa Dorsey

October 2020

Dr. Lisa Dorsey, Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training at Saint Louis University

Dr. Lisa Dorsey is the Interim Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training at Saint Louis University and we are proud to feature her as our October WISER Woman. Dr. Dorsey has been the recipient of the Saint Louis University Woman of the Year Award, and will be featured as a panelist at WISER Week, learn more about her work supporting women.
Melanie Bernds

September 2020

Melanie Bernds, Director of Communications at Benson Hill

Our September WISER Woman is Melanie Bernds, Director of Communications at Benson Hill. Not only does Melanie volunteer for many organizations (including Missouri Cures) she is an incredible advocate for women in STEM and never misses an opportunity to help out or to lift other women up. Learn more about work here or hear her speak at our upcoming WISER Week.
Dionne Stalling

August 2020

Dionne Stalling, Founder and Executive Director of Rare and Black

This month we are excited to introduce you to Dionne Stalling. Dionne is the Founder and Executive Director of Rare and Black, whose mission is to empower and amplify voices of black patients and care takers affected by rare disease. They work to educate the broader community, to bring awareness to the needs of this population, and to advocate for changes to improve the delivery of health care to individuals who are black and living with rare disease. We are excited to have Dionne as a panelist at our upcoming Rare Disease Symposium on September 30th. To find out more click here.
Natalie Self

July 2020

Natalie Self, Executive Director of STEMSTL

We are proud to introduce Natalie Self as our July WISER Woman. Natalie is the Executive Director of STEMSTL, a collaborative consortium committed to equitable access to high-quality STEM learning and employment opportunities for all learners in the St. Louis metro region. Natalie has been a champion for women entrepreneurs –committed to providing support to communities systemically left behind. She’s passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion education and has recently facilitated an anti-racism webinar. We are so excited to feature Natalie as a panelist at our WISER Week Virtual Lunch on November 12th.
Dr. Michelle Altrich

June 2020

Dr. Michelle Altrich, President of Viracor Eurofins

Dr. Michelle Altrich is the President of Viracor Eurofins, a Lee’s Summit diagnostic company that has been on the frontlines of fighting the novel coronavirus here in Missouri. Since January Dr. Altrich has led the way as Viracor Eurofins works to develop a test to detect COVID-19 in patients as well as a diagnostic to detect coronavirus antibodies in those who’ve already had the disease.  You can learn more about her groundbreaking work here.

May 2020: WISER Women Fighting COVID-19

This month we are featuring three women doing incredible work to help fight COVID-19. Learn more about them below.

Dr. Karen Joynt Maddox, Washington University School of Medicine

Dr. Karen Joynt Maddox is an Assistant Professor, Washington University School of Medicine, and Co-Director, Center for Health Economics and Policy (CHEP). She is a member of the St. Louis area hospital task force for COVID-19, which combines the experiences and knowledge of the area’s three major health systems to produce a more coordinated response. She recently was featured in the presentation: Through the Looking Glass: COVID-19 and What’s Next. You can learn more about her work here.

Sarah George, M.D., Saint Louis University

Sarah George, M.D., is an associate professor of infectious diseases at Saint Louis University and Saint Louis University’s principal investigator of the trial for a possible treatment for COVID-19 in St. Louis. There are no known treatments for the novel coronavirus, and SLU is testing what could be one of the first. The trial, which is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), may be conducted in up to approximately 75 sites across the country and worldwide. You can learn more about her groundbreaking work here.

Dr. Abigail Barker, Center Health Economics and Policy at the Institute for Public Health

Dr. Abigail Barker is affiliated with the Center for Health Economics and Policy at the Institute for Public Health and is serving on the State of Missouri’s COVID-19 Response Team. She’s using data and analytics to inform potential policy responses to pandemics and has recently published an article touting the virtues of high levels of social distancing to lower the COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death rates over the next six months across all counties in Missouri. Learn more about her work here.

Lashana Lewis

April 2020

LaShana Lewis as our WISER Woman. LaShana is currently serving as the Director of the St. Louis Equity in Entrepreneurship Collective (STLEEC)

This month, we are proud to introduce LaShana Lewis as our WISER Woman. LaShana is currently serving as the Director of the St. Louis Equity in Entrepreneurship Collective (STLEEC) where she works to make sure an entrepreneur’s success will not be pre-determined by their race or gender. She is also the CEO of L. M. Lewis Consulting and an entrepreneur in the tech and diversity fields. She was selected as a Fulbright Specialist in February 2019 and has lent her knowledge as a tech director and consultant for nonprofits and startups around the country. Learn more about LaShana here.
Dr. Patricia Dickson

March 2020

Dr. Patricia Dickson, Chief of the Division of Medical Genetics and Genomics at Washington University

This month we are excited to introduce you to Dr. Patricia Dickson. Dr. Dickson is the chief of the division of medical genetics and genomics at Washington University. She oversees a team that provides care for children and adults with a variety of medical problems, including birth defects, inborn metabolic diseases, genetic syndromes, familial cancer syndromes, chromosomal abnormalities, and many other genetic disorders. She is a leader in the field of precision medicine in both her research and her patient care. To learn more about her work click here.

2020 WISER Recap

2020 was a year unlike any other. Taking our WISER events virtual created some challenges, but also some incredible opportunities to connect women from around the state, and around the world. Missouri Cures Education Foundation hosted virtual WISER events featuring women excelling in science, entrepreneurship, and research in Springfield, Kanas City, Columbia, and St. Louis. These outstanding panelists discussed topics of professional development such as networking, negotiation, mentorship, and communication.

Collage of WISER Week Panelists

If you missed any of these great events you can watch them now:
 WISER Springfield Panel: 
Featuring moderator Karen Shannon and panelists Amanda Tummons, Bridget Dierks, and Jann Holland.

WISER Kansas City Panel:
Featuring moderator Sonia Hall and panelists, Amber Yount, Dr. Prachee Avasthi, and Dr. Susan Rahman.

WISER Columbia Panel:
Featuring moderator Dena Ladd and panelists, Dean Carolyn Henry, Debbie Allen, Susan Hart, and Shiela Grant.

WISER St. Louis Panel 1: Women Leading Women -Mentorship:
Featuring moderator Dena Ladd and panelists LeShana Lewis, Diane Brockmeier, Patricia Barco, Lisa Dorsey, and Shamim Mollah.

WISER St. Louis Panel 2: Self-Discovery -Marketing Your Talents:
Featuring moderator Dena Ladd and panelists Charli Cooksey, Stacy Taubman, Chanté Summers, Melanie Bernds, and Jacqueline Hawkins-Salsbury

WISER St. Louis Panel 3: Find Your Voice -Communication and Negotiation Skills:
Featuring moderator Dena Ladd and panelists Mary Jo Gorman, Natalie Self, Randi Foraker, and Amanda McClerren.

We are grateful to our panelists, partners, attendees, and sponsors for helping WISER continue to be successful.

2019 WISER Recap

In 2019, Missouri Cures Education Foundation was excited to announce that WISE (Women in Science and Entrepreneurship) was becoming WISER (Women in Science, Entrepreneurship, and Research). We excitedly debuted newly branded WISER events to 4 cities across Missouri.

We were proud to partner with ROSIE to bring a WISER networking breakfast to Springfield, MO. Panelists Kathryn Bergmann, Staci Neimoth, and Elaine Strope shared their experiences working in engineering, medicine, science, and entrepreneurship.

Our Kansas City WISER KC Conference featured 2 panels. On Panel I —Women in Science & Research: The Opportunities & Challenges in the Field, we heard from Laura Treml, Dean Carolyn Henry, Julie Christianson, and Jennifer Schofield. Panel II —Innovation & Entrepreneurship: Kansas City Women Leading the Way featured panelists Melissa Roberts, Tammy Wauhaus, Frumi Barr, and Liliana Younger. Thank you to our partners Central Exchange and WiSTEMM for making the event a success. BioNexus offered their 8 Key Takeaways from WISER KC.

The Missouri Innovation Center hosted us for Columbia’s WISER Networking Breakfast. Panelists Susan Hart, Mindy McCubbin, Kellie Ann Coats, and Jaya Gosh talked to us about the importance of making space for imperfection, mentors, and their unplanned career paths.

Our WISER St. Louis Conference, hosted by Union Station featured 3 incredible panels. Panel I- Leaders in St. Louis; Women Breaking the Glass Ceiling featured Amy Berg, Ann Marr, Ruth Wagner, and Sita Kedia. On our second panel, Women Leading the Way in Science and Research, we heard from Supriya Shivakumar, Rochelle Henderson, Bettina Drake, Rachael Bradshaw, and Nadia Shakoor. And for our final panel Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Women Making Their Mark,  panelists Nichole Mercier, Kathleen Cook, Elise Miller Hoffman, Anne Miller, and Karen Mullis shared their insights and wisdom with our audience.

We are grateful to all of our sponsors, partners, panelists, moderators, volunteers, and attendees that helped make our 2019 WISER events so meaningful and successful.

2019 WISER Press

2019 WISER Around Missouri

2018 WISE Recap

2018 WISE Conference Fox2Now news story
October 26, 2018 – Featuring Dr. Jennifer Silva, Washington University Pediatric Cardiologist

ST. LOUIS, MO – Five years ago, organizers weren’t sure how many people to expect for the first WISE Conference: Women in Science and Entrepreneurship. With just a few days before this year’s event, the response has been excellent. The popular event brings together women of vision committed to helping other women find success. Business, science, and technology, just a sampling of the expertise available for those attending an ambitious networking event.

2018 WISER Around Missouri