Pairwise Celebrates International Day of Women and Girls in Science

    Today is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

    Meet seven Pairwise scientists working across different areas of our company—from food science to data science. Hear what compels them to work at a mission-driven company committed to inclusivity and transparency, and learn how they work each day to build a healthier world through better fruits and vegetables. 

    Picture1 Gaewalin Ricklefs

    What I do at Pairwise: Lead, Food Science and Product Development              

    I drive gene edited leafy greens and berries consumer product launches through sensory understanding, product development, product optimization and product validation

    My biggest source of inspiration in science: My mother, who is also a woman in science. I became interested in science with the influence from both of my parents who are scientists in plant science and food science - what a coincidence!

    My message for the next generation of women in science: Don’t afraid of any status quo, believe in yourself that you can do anything if you put all of your effort and focus on your passion.

    Tracey Chapman


    What I do at Pairwise: Lead, Molecular Screening

    I lead a team of scientists who develop and run the tests to determine whether we made the intended genetic changes in our crops that will ultimately produce our desired traits.

     My biggest source of inspiration in science: My mom is my biggest science inspiration. She is an organic chemistry professor/researcher, holding a PhD in the field specializing in heterocyclic chemistry. So literally the first person I ever met was a female scientist! That was huge for me growing up.

    My message for the next generation of women in science: Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. No one can do it all (no one expects men to) so don’t burden yourself thinking women need to. Surround yourself with a great team at work and at home – be it great mentors/colleagues or domestic assistance like a delicious meal-home delivery subscription or a bi-weekly house cleaning service. Superwoman is tired, and also fictitious. Be nice to yourself!

    More about me: I’m a runner! I started running in my postdoctoral fellowship. I did it to show myself that I could do hard things. Starting the day completing a 5-mile run lets me know that I can accomplish the challenges of the day ahead. Running is meditative to me; it clears my head and allows me to know that I can kick butt on the pavement and in the lab!


    Picture3Zoe Cesarz

    What I do at Pairwise: Software Engineering Manager

    I manage a team of developers that design and build applications that provide access and transparency to our data and automate processes to support our R&D growth.

    My biggest source of inspiration in science: Early in my career, I had an amazing female mentor who was both my manager and a laboratory director. I was inspired by her technical knowledge, but also her leadership in sharing that knowledge and her ability to elevate her team. Her example is one that I reference in my current leadership role often and she was one of my first in-person role models of what it might look like to succeed as a Woman in Science.

    My message for next generation of women in science: Go for it! Embrace what you love most about science and find the culture and the position that lets you do it. I really love designing and building products that enable cutting edge science, rather than doing the cutting-edge science, and at Pairwise I’ve found the culture and place to do just that.


    Pamela VogelPicture4

    What I do at Pairwise: Manager, Transformation

    I work with a fantastic group of scientists and together we enable the development and optimization of transformation systems to generate healthier, tastier, and more sustainable fruits and vegetables.

    My biggest source of inspiration in science: I have been fascinated with science ever since I first learned about genetics and DNA in high school. Even more so after I learned all the impact that science can bring to agriculture, health, industry, and food.

    My message for the next generation of women in science: You can achieve anything you set your mind to. It might be a rocky road, and it may take time, but you’ll get there. Opportunities come from the most unexpected places; every wave of the ocean comes with an opportunity.

    My goal: I’d love to see more women in leadership roles in science.



    Picture5Joanne "Jones" Hunt

    What I do at Pairwise: Senior Research Associate

    I am a scientist who studies how plant proteins can be leveraged to make food more nutritious, sustainably grown, and delicious using the latest in genome editing tools.

    My biggest source of inspiration in science:

    I’ve always been inspired by the women I work with. Watching first-hand how they approach and execute experiments inspires me to learn more and to challenge myself.

    My message for the next generation of women in science:

    Find a mentor, teacher, or professional that can help you create a career plan. Begin by answering the question, "what type of job do you want 5-10 years after graduation?" Then go back and determine checkpoints that will help you navigate towards that goal, keeping in mind that life is never a straight line and sometimes your checkpoints may get accomplished out of order.


    Haejin KimPicture6

    What I do at Pairwise: Scientist, Molecular biology

    I develop, design, and produce new tools for plant genome editing and manage vector production and QC pipeline.

    My biggest source of inspiration in science: Marie Curie. When I was 1st grade, I read her biography and I wanted to be a scientist. And my Mom; she loved to grow plants and I grew to see it. It inspired my interest in plant science.

    My message for the next generation of women in science:

    Do what you love—with passion!


    Picture7Raj Deepika Chauhan

    What I do at Pairwise: Lead, Transformation

    I lead a team of 17 researchers focused on innovating in vitro technologies and methods to enable generation of better fruits and vegetables through high throughput and efficient plant production systems.

    My obstacle as a woman in science & what I will change:

    Female scientists have made enormous contributions in science but all of them are not well known. Things have changed over time but there is still an underrepresentation of women at all levels. Going back to my early days in science, the major challenge was to break stereotypes and unconscious biases within our society that women can lead, grow, and contribute to the scientific field. I feel fortunate to be working at Pairwise because of culture that fosters inclusion and provides equal opportunities for growth and development.

    Whenever I get a chance to make a change, I would like to expand the opportunities for female researchers, empower young generation through education, and set an example that women can have successful career in science.

    My biggest source of inspiration in science:

    I have always been curious about finding innovative ways to improve crops to help farmers. Now, I’m extending the same to consumers and impacting the lives of millions of people.

    My message for the next generation of women in science:

    There are so many exciting options if you are passionate about science and want to change the world. Believe in yourself, pursue your dreams, focus on self-efficacy, and embrace challenges as a great opportunity to learn.

    By | | Research, Mission, Outreach