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AWIS Central Massachusetts Board of Directors


Izabela RC Stroe, Ph.D. 

President -

Associate Professor of Teaching

Worcester Polytechnic Institute 

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Peren Coskun, Ph.D. 

Vice President -

Post Doctoral Associate

University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School


Peren is a Post Doctoral Associate in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology at University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School. Her research focuses on post-transcriptional regulation in mRNAs in the germline. Before her graduate studies, Peren studied Biological Sciences and Bioengineering in Istanbul, Turkey, and received her Bachelor of Science degree with minor honor in Chemistry from Sabanci University. Dr. Coskun completed her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences at University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School. She is passionate about outreach and mentoring; she participated in several student organizations such as Graduate Student Body Committee and Peer Mentoring Committee in University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School. She has joined AWIS in 2022 as the Outreach and Engagement Chair. She currently serves as the co-chair in the Industry Exploration Program’s executive board.


Sarah Woodard 

Senior Treasurer-

Director Product Management

Invoice Cloud

Sarah currently works as a Director of Product Management at Invoice Cloud with a focus on solving customer pain points with clear business goals and product vision. She has previously worked as an applications engineer at Instron and founded an engineering and technical training program at IPG. 

Sarah holds a certification in project management and received a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She is passionate about inspiring and mentoring others to have fulfilling STEM careers. She is committed to helping grow a society that promotes women in STEM.

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Dimpi Mukhopadhyay 

Events Director -

PhD candidate

University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School

Dimpi Mukhopadhyay is a 5th year graduate student in the Department of Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology at UMass Chan Medical School. Originally from Calcutta, India, she received her B.S. in Microbiology from St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta and an M.S. in Cancer Biology from Drexel University School of Medicine. For her Masters, she worked on Lipid metabolic pathways that drive triple negative breast cancer and identified a pro-survival signalling pathway in Glioblastoma. Her current research interests are focused on mechanisms that contribute to the function of breast cancer stem cells with an emphasis on the role of specific calcium channels in the same. She aims to communicate science to people outside the scientific community and foster networking, mentoring, and collaborations withing the scientific community. She has joined AWIS in 2022 as an Events Co-director. Outside the lab, she enjoys cooking, checking out new breweries, watching movies from all around the world, and being a full-time ‘dog mom’.

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Mohana Gupta

Mentorship Chair -

PhD candidate

University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School

Mohona Gupta is a graduate student at UMass Chan Medical School who joined the school in August 2018. She is studying disease pathogenesis of inherited blindness disorders such as X-Linked Retinitis Pigmentosa using multiple model systems from cell lines, smaller organisms like zebrafish and mice. She intends to continue to nurture her passion of being a discovery scientist while taking up leadership roles aligned to her professional goals. Along with being the Mentorship chair of AWIS Central Mass chapter, Mohona is also a serving GSBS ambassador at UMass Chan. In addition, she is a trained Indian classical dancer and performs at several community events.


Lydia Ellen Tonani-Penha

Membership and Communications Director - 

PhD candidate

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Lydia Ellen Tonani-Penha is the Communications Officer of the AWIS Central MA chapter. She is a Research Assistant in the Mechanical and Materials Engineering Department and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), her alma mater. Her work contributes to research involving experiments on the solidification of metals in microgravity, leading to collaboration with the DLR (German Aerospace Center), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and universities in Canada and Japan. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in May 2023 and enrolled in WPI’s doctoral program upon graduation. Due to her experience being a first-generation student, she profoundly appreciates mentorship and outreach in STEM. She enjoys helping high school, undergraduate, and graduate students find the resources to pursue their academic and professional aspirations. Tonani currently mentors undergraduate students in the NSF Renewable Energy Materials in STEM Scholarship program at WPI and joined AWIS in the Fall of 2023 to continue engaging with the scientific community and contributing to mentorship and outreach in STEM.

Snehalata Kadam, Ph.D.

Brand Ambassador-

Assistant Teaching Professor - Department of Physics
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Snehalata Kadam is the President and one of the founding members of the AWIS Central MA chapter. She is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Physics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Worcester. Dr. Kadam earned a B.S and M.S in Biology from India and her Ph.D in Animal Genetics from University of Tuebingen, Germany. She worked as a Post-Doctoral Scholar at California Institute of Technology (CALTECH), Pasadena where she studied how mechanics of cell migration affects developmental processes. Dr. Kadam joined WPI as a Physics faculty in 2014 with a goal of bridging Physical and Biological Sciences. She is passionate about creating a Physics loving atmosphere especially in female students and developing innovative learning strategies for students to adapt and apply their knowledge in diverse fields of science.

Dr. Kadam, an AWIS member since 2014 was involved in founding the AWIS affiliate group, which led to the establishment of the AWIS Central MA chapter. She currently lives in Shrewsbury with her husband and two sons. She is an active volunteer of the non-profit organization, India Society of Worcester (ISW) and helps coordinate cultural performances for the society. She is an avid dancer and loves performing the classical Indian dance style of Kathak.

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