CEO/Executive Director of the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT)

Pinnacle Award

Honoring an individual’s lifetime of innovative achievements in STEM and commitment to workplace diversity.

The Science Princess

Nisreen El-Hashemite, MD, PhD, is the granddaughter of King Faisal (I) Bin El-Sharif Hussein, the first King of Iraq and founder of the Modern State of Iraq. Following in the steps of her ancestors, and vowing to preserve the traditions of her family; Dr. El-Hashemite not only dedicated herself to serving mankind but also is the first Royal Princess qualified in science and medicine, with a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences, Master of Science, Medical Doctorate and a Doctorate of Human Genetics. Dr. El-Hashemite is an internationally recognized scientist and scholar; award-winner in science, arts, literature and humanitarian affairs; and author of several scientific papers, studies and books.

Starting a fruitful career

Her career started in 1995 at University of London hospitals and Institutes where she developed a preventive technique known as Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis of single gene disorders that is now in use as a preventive procedure in more than 100 centers worldwide. She further helped raise public and political awareness of genetic disorders, its causes and social-economic value of prevention programs. She continued her career at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School, where conducted research on sex (biological) differences in tuberous sclerosis related cancers, which will lead to new therapeutic strategies and early detection of major types of cancer through accurate blood tests. 

Decades of global change

In 2007, Dr. El-Hashemite left her scientific career at Harvard Medical School, to which she was very committed, to devote herself to serving socioeconomic sustainable development in the world, throughout the programs of Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) as its Executive Director. Dr. El-Hashemite’s experience in science and innovation, vision and leadership led to a great development in RASIT’s work, partners and affiliates into an international platform for catered socioeconomic development programs that would answer the specialized needs of countries and regions.

Kicking off International Day of Women and Girls in Science

In addition to many achievements at the International arena, in 2015 the Science Princess, as she is known worldwide, Dr. El-Hashemite became the first academic professional and CEO of the NGO credited with creating a UN International Day. From drafting and introducing the resolution to successful lobbying, the UN has designated February 11 as International Day of Women and Girls in Science. In 2016, Dr. El-Hashemite founded an international campaign for “Science in Diplomacy,” followed by a movement of “Women in Science in Diplomacy”, which has led to the appointment of more women in science in diplomatic and senior governmental positions. As the founder and president of Jeans 4 Genes International, she seeks to improve the life of people with genetic disorders and raising funds to support scientific research. Dr. El-Hashemite has also worked closely with the United Nations and its entities on achieving the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals. She established the World Women’s Health and Development Forum as a Center of Excellence to improve women’s health. Dr. El-Hashemite is the founder of the Women in Science International League.

Senior Vice President for International Facilities Operations Services and Worldwide Safety, Health and Engineering, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products

Leadership Award

Commending an experienced STEM leader for fostering a high representation of women in leadership and supportive workplace policies.

Leading Disney engineering internationally

From a young age, Rachel Hutter, P.E., dreamt she would one day be an engineer and work at Disney. When she started working for the company, Rachel’s mom gave her an entire box of papers from kindergarten on saying she wanted to be an engineer at Disney when she grew up. Today Rachel is fulfilling her dream as she lives, learns and now leads engineering at Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Her responsibilities span the globe to include oversight of teams in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai. 

Offering more role models who look like her

Growing up at a time when there were fewer female engineer role models, Rachel developed a passion and sense of responsibility to advocate for women in STEM and foster the next generation of leaders in the field. Her focus in this area lead to the creation of Disney’s Ultimate Engineering Exploration, an annual event giving college students interested in STEM behind the scenes and hands-on experience with what it takes to be an engineer at Disney.

Rising the ranks effortlessly

Throughout her more than 22-year career with Disney, Rachel has held 10 different roles and has been involved with many iconic projects, including the recent opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at the Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Rachel credits encouragement she received from family and colleagues, along with her training from Michigan State University where she received a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering with a minor in theater as keys to her success.

CEO, MicroByre

Next Generation Award

Highlighting an early career leader in STEM who is a visible and vocal advocate for diversity and inclusive scientific practices.

Commanding germs to do tricks

Sarah Richardson, PhD, is a computational and molecular biologist, entrepreneur and noted “germ wrangler.” Dr. Richardson specializes in the use of microbial genomes. As CEO of MicroByre she leads the construction of genomic toolkits for non‐model prokaryotes which she describes a using DNA to train bacteria to do tricks on command.

Synthetic biology and computational genomics breakthroughs

Trained to straddle disciplines, Dr. Richardson has a unique perspective on the emerging technologies made possible by synthetic biology. Her accomplishments include designing a synthetic yeast genome working as a Department of Energy Computational Sciences Graduate Fellow. She was also a Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow of Genomics at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where she worked on massive scale synthetic biology projects and the integration of computational genomics with experimental genomics. 

CRISPR pioneer

In 2015, she was named a SynBio LEAP Fellow based on her “leadership potential and vision for shaping a future in biotechnology.” That same year she was also one of five promising young women scientists to receive a postdoctoral fellowship award from L’Oréal USA; she proposed to study CRISPR systems and the domestication of non-model bacteria. 

West Baltimore born and raised

Dr. Richardson grew up in West Baltimore. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Maryland in 2004 and a Doctorate of Human Genetics and Molecular Biology from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine in 2011.

Game Changer Award

Recognizing an exemplary company whose diversity and inclusion efforts represent a true ally to the pursuit of workplace equality.

Lockheed Martin, a Fortune 500 company that ensures workplace equity, diversity and inclusion, and the advancement of women in leadership.

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