Meet Caitlyn

By: Mikaela Dunkin
October 8th, 2018

Say Hello to Caitlyn – our event coordinator, twitter wrangler, and resident expert on how to survive Minnesota in the winter. As a part of our new ‘Meet the Executive Board” series, we’ll – and by we I mean the blogger, Hi! Hello! – we’ll be showcasing each member of the board, interview style.


NAME: Caitlyn Cardetti

EDUCATION: B.S. in Human Biology & Psychology from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Currently working towards a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at Stony Brook University

RESEARCH INTERESTS: Mitochondrial Biology and Alzheimer’s disease

FUTURE GOALS: Work in academia and connect mitochondrial biology with Alzheimer’s disease pathology


Why did you want to be a part of GWiSE?

I wanted to be a part of GWiSE because I believe in women supporting each other. I have met a lot of amazing people through this club and I want other women to share in the feeling of solidarity that a club like GWiSE can provide.

If you didn’t have to sleep what would you do with the free time?

I’d probably still sleep, I love sleeping. But if that answer is not allowed, I guess I would read more snuggled up nice and cozy in my bed.

What bends your mind every time you think about it?

That people wear socks when their shoes are off. Don’t you want to let your feet breathe?!

What got you interesting in your field?

You have probably heard of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle but did you know it’s just the first book of a quintet? One of the books, A Wind in the Door, takes you into the mitochondria, describing it as a world of its own filled with fictional microscopic life forms known as farandolae. This book really got the idea that our cells are a universe contained within.

Caitlyn and her friend after running in the Philadelphia Marathon

“… our cells are a universe contained within.”



Separately I became interested in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) after working in a nursing home and experiencing first-hand how devastating the disease can be. Thus I chose to study both Human Biology and Psychology. Before grad school, most of my experiences were clinical, but I believe I can make the most impact on advancing our understanding of AD by going back to the basics – in this case basic science and exploring our mitochondria.

Describe your perfect day

On a perfect day, I’d wake up without an alarm to sun shining in my bedroom window. Then I would go for a solo morning run in the woods on a perfect brisk autumn day, where the leaves are turning colors. After returning home, I’d make brunch with that special someone while dancing to music and laughing. Then we’d lounge by the fireplace while reading a book before cooking a nice dinner with dessert and having a few drinks by the fireplace before calling it a night.


What do you think needs to happen for there to be more women in science and engineering?

We all need to challenge our views on gender roles and work on our double standards every single day. We need to learn to identify microaggressions and understand the hostility they create can undermine someone’s ability to meet their full potential. We need men to support us and to be involved in household management, childcare, and emotional labor. And we need them to not expect a pat on the back for doing so, they are not going above and beyond – they are finally just catching up. We need to not think that having children makes a women a “bad financial investment”. We need to provide and promote maternity AND paternity leave. We need equal compensation. Quite simply, we need to end the patriarchy!



Salary Negotiation Workshop

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) salary Negotiation Workshop on October 10th, led by Cathrine Duffy from the Office of Student Affairs, was an informative event for GWISE club members representing many STEM departments on campus. The room was filled with women at a range of career stages, from Computer Science masters students with job offers to postdoctoral researchers from Anatomical Sciences on the hunt for academic positions. The workshop began with learning about the gender pay gap, and participants drew from past experiences and the GWISE Brown Bag Lunch on this topic to discuss why it is so important for women to negotiate and establish fair pay early on in their careers. Many participants were shocked to learn that over the course of a career, a woman will make on average hundreds of thousands less than a white man with an equivalent position and experience. For women of color, this lifetime pay gap can be well over a million dollars, which has major impacts on financial stability and opportunities. We then went through specific strategies for when to negotiate during hiring and how to overcome anxieties that may arise during this process. Online tools for researching positions and pay distributions in different locations were explored to prepare for establishing realistic goals for negotiations. Most importantly, it was stressed that the power is in your hands once you have a job offer. It is critical to be realistic about your education, experience and skills, and to ask for a salary (and benefits!) that reflects all that you have to offer. To close out the workshop, we worked through real negotiations that women were going through at the time and devised strategies for navigating through tricky situations that can arise during the hiring process.

-Alyssa Liguori

Bike Repair and Fall Social

Bicycles became a powerful symbol of the women’s movement in the late 1800’s, and are still a vehicle of cost-effective independence for women the world over today. GWiSE and Stony Brook’s Freewheel Collective partnered to conduct a workshop for graduate students to learn some simple tricks to repair their own bicycles, and discuss vehicles of change and empowerment from the past to today. The event started with all the attendees getting their own patch repair kit to repair tire punctures with. Jen Everhart, Sean Friele, and Anusha Shankar from Freewheel then went over some common bike problems and helped people fix some minor bike issues. We then ate pizza and snacks as Shikha Singh and Anusha introduced the Eboard and talked about how bicycles were tied to the women’s movement. They were a way for women to start wearing more efficient clothing – women’s pants became a common occurrence; they allowed women to move about without chaperones, and more broadly, allowed women of all classes their independence. The famous suffragist, Susan B Anthony, said “Bicycling has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world”. We ended by opening the floor for a discussion of women’s issues, and what the next vehicle of change might be.

-Anusha Shankar

fall repair


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