Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

2019 NC Women of Color Research Network Symposium

May 30, 2019
EPA, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina

portraits of different women of color

Becoming: Women in Research

Meeting Documents

Sibby Anderson-Thompkins

Sibby Anderson-Thompkins, Ph.D. serves as the Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Research (Diversity & Inclusion) and the Director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. In her role, she leads the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity and diversity-related initiatives for the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. As director of OPA, she oversees postdoctoral human resources, professional development, and career services.

Dr. Anderson-Thompkins brings 25 years of experience in higher education administration. Her expertise is in serving and supporting the success of underrepresented groups. She has also been an active member of the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA), serving as the NPA’s Diversity Officer and past member of the Advisory Group for the NPA’s NSF Paid ADVANCE Grant, as well as contributing to a book that resulted from the project, From PhD to Professoriate: The Role of Institutions in Fostering the Advancement of Postdoc Women. Most recently, she served on a committee for the National Academy of Sciences that authored the report, State of the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers Revisited and a working group for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities that issued the report, Increasing Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce.

Dr. Anderson-Thompkins completed her Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies at Georgia State University. Additionally, Sibby holds a B.A. and a M.A. in Communication Studies from Carolina and a M.S. in Educational Research (Ethnography and Qualitative Methods) from GSU.

Darlene Dixon, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Darlene Dixon, D.V.M., Ph.D., D.A.V.C.P. is Head of the Molecular Pathogenesis Group in the National Toxicology Program. Dr. Dixon’s research interests are aimed at understanding the basic mechanisms of tumor and disease development in response to environmental exposures, and the comparative aspects of pathology in the female reproductive tract. Her research is focused on delineating molecular mechanisms of tumor cell proliferation/inhibition, and understanding the role of growth factor/hormone receptor signaling pathways in the pathogenesis of female reproductive tract diseases/lesions that can translate to development of clinical prevention and intervention strategies. She also studies the molecular mechanisms of toxicity and carcinogenicity of chemicals evaluated by the NTP testing program.

Dr. Dixon earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1982 at Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine and her Ph.D. in 1985 at Michigan State University. She served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at The Rockefeller University before joining NIEHS in 1987.

Frances Graham

Frances Graham, Ph.D. has dedicated 30 years in higher education serving in administrative roles at North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University and the University of Illinois. She has served as the Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at NCCU and the Associate Vice Provost for Gender Affairs and Director for the Women’s Center at North Carolina State University (NCSU). Dr. Graham has taught black feminist theory, feminist theory, African American literature and women’s history at Duke, NCSU, UIUC and Parkland Community College. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors for BRIDGES, an academic leadership program for women in higher education in North Carolina. She has also served as part of a career coaching team with Dress for Success and served three terms on the National Women’s Studies Journal advisory board. Her most recent publication appears in The Challenge of Coeducation: Women’s Colleges since the 1960s.

Originally from Champaign, Illinois Dr. Graham is the first member of her family to attend college, earning both an undergraduate and doctoral degree from the University of Illinois, and a master’s degree from Howard University.

Susanna L. Harris

Susanna L. Harris builds communities, both on plant roots and on the internet. As a PhD candidate in Microbiology and the University of North Carolina, she studies how bacteria work together to colonize plants. As the founder of The PhDepression, she works to break the stigma around mental illness in higher education by connecting academics around the world to share stories and resources.

Sarah D. Mills

Sarah D. Mills, Ph.D., M.P.H. is a postdoctoral fellow in the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity and the Cancer Control Education Program at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research focuses on tobacco control and tobacco-related health disparities. She uses an ecological framework to examine the roles that culture, the neighborhood in which one lives, and public policy play in tobacco use among racial/ethnic minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. She has also conducted research in cross-cultural measurement.

Dr. Mills has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. She completed her clinical internship at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and Hispanic Cultures from Columbia University.

Joan P. Packenham

Joan Packenham, Ph.D. is the Director of the Office of Human Research Compliance (OHRC) in the Clinical Research Branch, Division of Intramural Research (DIR) at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)/National Institutes of Health (NIH). She has developed and managed Research & Development contracts for scientific resources for NIEHS. She has worked in both the Intramural and the Extramural Research Divisions of NIEHS. Her research and scientific administrative expertise include: clinical research, translational research, toxicology, mouse genetics, molecular genetics, pathology, molecular genetic mechanisms of oxidative stress, signal transduction, apoptosis, DNA repair, cell cycle control, cancer research, gene expression in environmentally induced disease, mouse genetics and the NIEHS Environmental Genome Project.

Dr. Packenham graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. degree in biology and a minor in chemistry from North Carolina Central University, and she received a Ph.D. in experimental pathology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Medicine.

Sharlini Sankaran, Ph.D.

Sharlini Sankaran, Ph.D. is Director of Translational Programs at Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship. She is responsible for the management and execution of a University-wide Translational effort to enable the innovations born at the university to be realized through formation of a new venture or other appropriate means. Sharlini has over ten years’ experience leading complex, cross-disciplinary programs involving multiple stakeholders at the University and State levels. Her research interests include data systems and STEM career outcomes. She enjoys tackling challenges that combine her multidisciplinary engineering and scientific background with her leadership experience. As a typical extrovert, Dr. Sankaran is happiest working with different stakeholders and making connections that may not be immediately obvious.

Dr. Sankaran holds a Ph.D. In Biomedical Engineering from UNC Chapel Hill, and the Masters and Bachelor degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Ohio University, Athens Ohio.

to Top