#HiddenNoMore: Empowering Women Leaders in STEM

Posted on


The department recently hosted international visitors from China, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan for the US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

Dr. Qian Zhang (Vice Dean, Chemistry Department, Northeast Normal University; China), Dr. Vinitha Thadhani (Sr. Research Scientist, Sri Lankan Institute of Nanotechnology; Visiting Sr. Lecturer, Institute of Chemistry; Sri Lanka), and Dr. Shakhlokhon Turdikulova (Deputy Director for Science, Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Academy of Sciences; Professor and Head of Biology Laboratories, National University of Uzbekistan; Uzbekistan) visited UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry on October 24, 2017, as part of a delegation consisting of 48 women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) who traveled to the U.S. for the the Hidden No More (#HiddenNoMore) exchange program. 

This International Visitor Leadership Program was inspired by screenings of the award-winning film Hidden Figures at more than 100 U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide as part of the American Film Showcase program. Participants are “hidden talent” in their home countries who visited to engage in networking with professional counterparts and explored policies that champion the interests of women in STEM in cities across the United States, with the ultimate goal to highlight and develop the important contribution of women and girls in STEM.

The three visitors met with UCLA Chemistry and Biochemistry Department Chair, Prof. Catherine Clarke, Prof. Ellen Sletten, Adj. Prof. Zhao Li, Emma Pelegri-O’Day (OCDS President; Graduate student in the Maynard Group), and CNSI Education Manager, Dr. Rita Blaik. The visitors were presented with an overview of the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, OCDS, and CNSI; and also discussed efforts to promote the advancement of women in scientific research and innovation. The visit concluded with tours of the undergraduate labs and computer classrooms by Dr. Johnny Pang, a tour of the Sletten Research Lab by Prof. Ellen Sletten, and CNSI by Dr. Rita Blaik.

Photos from the visit are shown below.

Dr. Johnny Pang, State Department representative, Dr. Rita Blaik, Dr. Shakhlokhon Turdikulova, Dr. Vinitha Tahdhani, Prof. Catherine Clarke, Prof. Zhao Li, Prof. Ellen Sletten, Dr. Qian Zhang, and Emma Pelegri-O’Day pose for a photo during the tour.

Johnny Pang (right) gave a tour of the undergraduate labs and computer classrooms.


Prof. Ellen Sletten (right) gave the visitors a tour of her research facilities.

More information about the program is available here:


Information for this news item was from the U.S. Department of State.

Photos by Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.