Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Board of Christian Women in Science (CWIS)

Lynn Billman, CWIS Board Chair
23 October 2013

The first CWIS Board was assembled during our opening months of operation. Given that this is a brand new organization, we relied on the Holy Spirit for guidance, and the ASA Executive Council for feedback, and came up with several criteria. We wanted women who have demonstrated support for the ASA overall, who had shown a strong interest in the mission of CWIS, and who thought they would have enough time to participate on the Board. As to the best number, we were finally led to try the biblical number of seven. Diversity on the Board seemed an important criteria for us to be able to successfully serve our desired audience, and we managed to put together a good group for our initial Board:

· Some Board members are professionally associated with secular institutions, some from Christian institutions, and some with professional experience in both.

· We are university professors, government research managers, one person with consulting experience, and one student.

· We include a chemist, mechanical engineer, plant scientist, energy analyst, integrative biologist, science educator, and aerospace engineer.

· We range in age from graduate student to retiree.

· Our Board calls are convened across all four time zones in the United States.

As we agreed in our Charter, the duties of the Board are to:

· Set policy and direction of Christian Women in Science.

· Determine the proposed activities for the next year that Christian Women in Science will initiate and sustain to achieve its mission and goals for its stakeholder communities.

· Recruit, select, train, motivate, and guide volunteers to implement these activities as needed.

· Respond to suggestions for new or additional activities as they are offered by the membership or others.

· As necessary, review official communications (blogs, newsletters, website material, etc) of Christian Women in Science before publication or dissemination.

· Report periodically on activities to the membership and to the ASA leadership.

Please feel free to contact any of the Board members with questions or ideas. We need your active participation to let us know what you need, what you want, and how we are doing! Thanks for your support.”

Christian Women in Science
Board of Directors, 2013

Ms. Lynn Billman grew up in Chicago, and earned a BS in Chemistry and a Phi Beta Kappa key from University of California Berkeley in 1975. After several years at Chevron as an analytical chemist and operations analyst, she began a 26-year-career at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, where she served as a senior energy analyst, institutional planner, science writer, and manager, for many different energy-related projects, until her retirement in Sept 2013. Her husband of 34 years passed away in late 2012, but she has four grown children, three spouses, and three grandchildren in the Denver area. She became involved in ASA in 2003, and was blessed with being elected to the ASA National Council to serve 2013-2017. Lynn is excited to able to help encourage more women to become involved in ASA, and to help other women scientists realize that Christians are not the enemy. Lynn was elected an ASA Fellow in 2009.

Contact Lynn at

Dr. Gayle Ermer serves as a professor of engineering at Calvin College, where she has taught mechanical engineering courses since 1994. Her educational experience includes degrees from Calvin College (B.S. Engineering – Mechanical Concentration), the University of Wisconsin – Madison (M.S. Manufacturing Systems Engineering) and Michigan State University (Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering). Her technical specialties include machine/system dynamics and manufacturing system quality. She has also written papers on engineering ethics, women in engineering, and Christian perspectives on technology, many of which have been contributions to the Christian Engineering Education Conference (CEEC) and to ASA, where she was recently elected a fellow. She is an active member of Jamestown Christian Reformed Church in Hudsonville, MI, where she regularly leads worship and sings on a praise team. Gayle was elected an ASA Fellow in 2013.

 Contact Gayle at

Dr. Beth Kroa is a native of northwest Ohio. Beth majored in chemistry at Bowling Green State University for her bachelor’s degree and studied at The University of Toledo for a doctorate in organic and biochemistry. Inthe fall of 1983, her freshman year of college, she became a follower of Christ after reading the book of Romans in a New Testament she received from the Gideons. She worked in the chemistry field as a high school chemistry teacher, a research scientist, and university faculty member. She and her husband David have been married since 1986 and have one son, James, who has lived in his room in heaven since 2010. Beth is currently an assistant professor of chemistry at Bethel College in Mishawaka, IN, and she and David reside on a small farm in nearby Niles, MI with two dogs, a cat, and several chickens. She is involved in mentoring, discipleship groups, and music ministry at her college and home church and is often found at Gideon conventions and banquets as a testimony speaker.   

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Dr. Ann Marie Thro has served since 2001 as a National Program Leader in the areas of plant breeding and genetic resources, in USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture. During 2011/12, “on loan” to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, she worked with counterparts in the Ministry of Agriculture in Afghanistan. Her previous positions include service as Commissioner of the USDA Plant Variety Protection Office (1999-2001); Coordinator, Cassava Biotechnology Network, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Cali, Colombia; Technical Advisor, National Grain Legume Program, Gandajika, Zaire (now D.R. Congo) (1991-92), and Associate Professor of Agronomy, Louisiana State University (1982-1992). Ann Marie earned a PhD and MS in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Iowa State University; a BS in Agronomy from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a BS in History from Bryn Mawr College.

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Dr. Kristen Tolson is a postdoctoral research fellow at UC San Diego, studying the regulation of pubertal development and the interface of reproduction and metabolism. She earned her Bachelor’s degrees in Biological Sciences (BS) and World Cultures and Religions (BA) from California Lutheran University in 2004, and her Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 2009. Kristen is dedicated to both research and education, using her research experience to inform her teaching and bring relevance to abstract concepts. She works to remain active in the larger community through volunteer opportunities, especially in programs designed to increase scientific interest in disadvantaged and minority populations, and also recently began teaching Microbiology of Infectious Diseases at Point Loma Nazarene University.

Contact Kristen at

Ms. Faith Tucker is the youngest member of the board and an educator by training. She brings her passion for students and early career scientists to the CWIS board. Her interest in the intersection between faith and science was sparked while double majoring in Astronomy and Religion at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. Since graduating, she has spent time working in astronomy education at NASA, teaching high school astronomy and physics, and managing communications for the Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is currently pursuing a Master's degree in science education from Stanford University.

Contact Faith at

Dr. Leslie Wickman directs the Center for Research in Science at Azusa Pacific University (APU), where she stimulates the dialog on science and theology by bringing in renowned speakers, and a full professor at APU, teaching Astronomy and related classes. Leslie has a PhD from Stanford University in Human Factors and Biomechanics, and an MS in Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering from Stanford, and a BS in political science from Willamette University, Oregon. She worked for Lockheed Martin and NASA Ames Research Center before coming to APU, and continues to consult for NASA, the Air Force, and other clients Her current projects include research on global climate change and national security issues, assessment of current and future space mission technologies and applications, human factors issues in extreme environments, and sustainable water reclamation systems. Leslie was elected an ASA Fellow in 2013.

Contact Leslie at

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