October 2022 Circuit

Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable

About this event

Our initiative remains committed to discussing topics of interest to women in STEM, including topics that are not often discussed. Thus, our monthly mentorship program, STEM Circuits, will continue virtually this fall on October 6th, 2022 with a discussion about mental health and impostor syndrome. The discussion will focus on how we can better navigate professional, educational, and life changes in a way in which our discomfort can become beneficial to us. This seminar will be led by our speakers Dr. Margot Gerritsen, PhD (Co-founder and Executive Director of Women in Data Science (WiDS) Worldwide and Professor Emeritus at Stanford University) and Rebecca Wolkoff, MS (Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of ChargeNet Stations and JEDI Project Director of the Volta Foundation). Our event will commence with an interactive, personal and experience-based discussion partaking to mental health, how impostor syndrome impacts our lives and how to better deal with it in ways that can push us onwards and upwards. This will be followed by a discussion with the audience and moderated Q&A.

We look forward to seeing you there!


Chicago Women in STEM Initiative

*Remote joining information (via Zoom) will be provided closer to the date in the event reminder email.

Banner photo credit: Cleveland Clinic

Becoming Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

with Dr. Margot Gerritsen and Rebecca Wolkoff

Date: Tuesday, October 6th

Time: 6:00-7:30 PM CDT

Tentative Schedule:

6:00-6:10 PM : Welcome and Introduction

6:10-7:00 PM: Mental Health & Impostor Syndrome Seminar

7:00-7:30 PM: Q&A Session

Description: Whenever we start a new stage in our education, career, or personal life, there are challenges – some great and some not so. A new environment may come with a dose of dread: Do I belong? Will I have what it takes to succeed? Many of us develop some level of the Imposter Phenomenon (IP). A new environment may also present a change in work or study culture that causes us to feel a little lost and adrift, not quite knowing how to adjust. As exciting as starting a next stage (from undergraduate to research, from academia to industry) can be, it often introduces discomfort and associated stress. How do we get comfortable with the uncomfortable and embrace these changes and challenges? Dr. Margot Gerritsen looks forward to sharing some of her own experiences and that of students, whom she has mentored over the decades and reflect, with us, on ways that take us onwards and upwards.

Dr. Margot Gerritsen

LinkedIn, Personal Twitter, WiDS Twitter, Facebook

Margot is Professor Emerita at Stanford University, and Executive Director of Women in Data Science (WiDS) World Wide and WiDS@Stanford. She received her MS from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, her PhD from Stanford, and before her 21 years as Stanford faculty, she spent 5 years at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her academic interests are in computational mathematics and range from fluid dynamics to numerical analysis to data science. From 2010-2018, Margot was the Director of the Institute for Computational & Mathematical Engineering at Stanford and from 2015-2020 the Senior Associate Dean for Educational Affairs in Stanford’s School of Earth. Margot co-founded Women in Data Science (WiDS) in 2015 and is the current Executive Director of WiDS World Wide. Born and raised in the Netherlands, Margot moved west in search of sunnier and hillier places in 1990. Apart from teaching, research and WiDS, Margot loves the outdoors and now lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband Paul where she is hoping to become a better paddle-boarder and skier and regularly backpacks and rides her motorbike.

Rebecca Wolkoff

Rebecca Wolkoff is the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of ChargeNet Stations. With a background in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, Rebecca Wolkoff and her team developed ChargeNet’s front end and energy management platforms. At her past role with Enel X she prototyped, scaled, and patented Enel X’s energy storage optimization for both behind-the-meter and front-of-meter use cases. In her spare time, Rebecca volunteers as a First Robotics mentor and is a JEDI Project Director of the Volta Foundation.

We can’t wait to see everyone virtually at our event! Please reach out if you have any questions about the event or our organization.

Chicago Women in STEM Initiative


Sarah E. Philbin, STEM Circuits Co-coordinator

PhD Student

Health Services and Outcomes Research

Center for Education in Health Sciences

Northwestern University

Katy Trotter, STEM Circuits Co-coordinator

Research Manager

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Northwestern University

Carla Patricia Reyes Flores, STEM Circuits Co-coordinator

Biomedical Sciences PhD Candidate

Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine

Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University

Becoming Comfortable with the Uncomfortable image