Womxn in Science & Engineering (WiSE) is a graduate student led, non-profit UCSB campus organization founded in 2001. We aim to intersectionally promote equal opportunity and inclusion for all members of our campus community, support the scientific and career advancement of traditionally underserved people in academia, and create community for women and gender minorities of all ages in science and engineering fields. WiSE encourages the participation of all STEM undergraduates, graduates, researchers, faculty, and professionals in the Santa Barbara area.

Our Organizing Board

Molly Kaplan (she/her)


Molly is a fourth year PhD student in the Physics department, where she researches problems in quantum gravity, especially those related to the AdS/CFT correspondence. She has been on the organizing board for WiSE since 2020, and is excited to be president this year! She loves the community she has found through WiSE—every person she has met through the organization has been brilliant, dedicated, and so kind. In her free time, she likes to write music, swim/bike/run, cook vegan recipes with her partner, and cuddle her dog 🐾.

Erica Rivera (she/her)

Vice President

Erica is a third-year PhD student in the Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology department. Erica’s lab primarily studies Alzheimer’s diseases, and her research involves studying tau protein spread, a hallmark of the disease progression. Last year Erica was the co-chair of outreach for WiSE and helped run the WiSE Mentorship Program. This year Erica is excited to be serving as vice-president of WiSE. Erica appreciates all the great friends she has made through WiSE and hopes to continue to help foster connections through mentorship. In her spare time, Erica enjoys running, jiu jitsu, ceramics, gardening, hiking, and playing with her dog Pepper.

Jemma Fendley (she/her)


Jemma is a second year PhD student in Physics. Her research is in theoretical biophysics, and she is currently investigating viruses which infect bacteria. This is her first year on the organizing board for WiSE, but she loved attending WiSE events last year. Hosting trivia night was a highlight! She is excited to support the WiSE community by managing finances as treasurer. Outside of science, Jemma loves running (slowly), cooking, and watching copious amounts of Netflix.

Jenny Smith (she/her)

Outreach Committee Chair

Jenny is a fifth year PhD student in the Physics Department where she works on superconducting detectors capable of imagining faint objects in space. This is her second year on the outreach committee and she is excited to continue connecting grads with amazing outreach opportunities! Jenny’s favorite part of WiSE is getting to work with awesome womxn and building a network of colleagues and friends outside her own department. Jenny’s hobbies include growing exotic fruits, making cocktails, and getting out around town with her French Bulldog, Cosmo.

Hiba Wakidi (she/her)

Professional Committee Co-Chair

Hiba is a fourth year PhD student in the Chemistry department, working on the fundamental understanding of new materials for organic electronic devices. She will be co-chairing the professional committee and is excited to work alongside all the talented members of WiSE. Outside of lab, she enjoys surfing, cross-training, baking, doodling on the piano, and catching up with friends and family 🙂

Daniella Walter (she/her)

Professional Committee Co-Chair

Daniella is a second year Ph.D. student in the Mechanical Engineering department, and her research focuses on studying the effect of mechanical forces within 3D hydrogels for cancer applications. She served as the Secretary and Outreach Chair for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) during her undergraduate studies, and is excited to be a co-chair of the Professional Development committee for WiSE this upcoming year. In her free time, Daniella likes to surf, go backpacking, camp, play soccer, or go on a beach run 🙂

Elle Murata (she/her)

Social Committee Co-Chair

Elle is a third year PhD student in Psych and Brain Sciences focusing on the intersection of women’s health and neuroscience. More specifically, her work explores how sex hormones impact brain morphology, connectivity, and cognition. Outside of the lab, you can find Elle running by the beach, hiking in the Los Padres National Forest, doing yoga, or hunting down the best food spots along the Central Coast. Most importantly, she is thrilled about organizing events throughout the year and bringing together the WiSE community!

Mathilde Papillon (she/her)

Social Committee Co-Chair

Mathilde (she/her) is a second-year Physics PhD student (in camouflage in the ECE Dept.) building artificial intelligences for producing human movement :dancer:  This year, she is very excited to co-lead WiSE’s Social Committee, through which she hopes to help celebrate, elevate, and protect our community of wonderful grad students. Inside and outside of WiSE, she is a firm believer in the power of baked goods, friendly conversation, and a little time outside.