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The Science & Religion (S&R) field displays a culture that is male-dominated in a disproportionate ratio compared to  the disciplines that S&R community members represent.

For example, according to the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, 48% of  Americans employed in science and engineering occupations are female, and women make up 34.5% of STEM faculty at academic institutions.1 In contrast, only about 14% of the  largest membership-based S&R organization in the United States are women, with only about 16% of this organization's elected Fellows being women. Similar statistics are observed within S&R communities in the United Kingdom.


Since the culture of any community or organization is profoundly shaped by demographics and disciplines,  it is possible that the lack of representation of women has contributed to a narrowness of S&R topics being explored, a relative unwillingness to consider new ideas and approaches, and a culture that feels uncomfortable or dissatisfying (if not overtly oppressive) to female participants.

1 National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science  and Engineering. Retrieved September 14, 2021 from 

Our Purpose

The ultimate impact of the WISH project will be to achieve a more equitable gender balance within the S&R community, as well as in the scholarship it produces.


Broader societal impacts the project strives for include increased diversity of voices speaking into culturally relevant questions relating to science and faith, greater public engagement with such questions, improved public perception of the value of constructive dialog between science and faith, and increased public scientific literacy.

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Our Mission

To achieve our purpose, the WISH project will leverage a powerful resource already within the S&R sphere: the women who have already been walking this path.


We are working toward building an interdisciplinary, multigenerational mentorship community by connecting established female professionals in the field with young or newly interested participants to encourage and support more active female engagement in S&R work.


Educational resources will also be made available to support the community, such as reading lists for further exploration and understanding of the cultures that contribute to gender inequality, as well as exemplar female scholarship, success stories, and potential solutions. Other resources that are anticipated include conferences, personal and professional development opportunities, mentorship groups, and collaborative projects.


WISH Leadership

Project Team

Leslie Wickman, Ph.D.


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Wickman holds a master's degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering and a doctoral degree in human factors and biomechanics, both from Stanford University. She graduated magna cum laude from Willamette University with a bachelor's degree in political science.

Read more here.

Sarah Tillema

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David Williams

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Leslie Wickman, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Leslie is an internationally respected research scientist, engineering consultant, author and inspirational speaker. Wickman holds a master's degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering and a doctoral degree in human factors and biomechanics, both from Stanford University. She has lectured around the world on satellite servicing, spaceflight physiology, astronaut training and operations, astronomy, environmental stewardship, and the interface between science and theology.

As a woman of faith working in STEM fields for her entire career, Dr. Wickman's development of the WISH project provides an opportunity to build on shared life experiences in creating a mentorship program to support other women in S&R.

Learn more about Leslie and her work here.

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David Williams, Ph.D.

Project Advisor

David Williams is a professor of philosophy at Centre College (KY) specializing in Classical Greek thought. His focus is on Aristotle’s philosophy of biology and Ancient Greek theories of nature, mathematics, and science. He resides in Lake Tahoe where he currently serves as the director of the Tahoe Semester, an environmental humanities study away program that is a joint venture between Centre College, Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center and the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities. 

David was drawn to this project by a long-standing professional and personal interest in the relationship between science and religion. Because his students in the environmental humanities are entering a world where the dialogue between faith and reason will play a vital role in critical areas of human experience, he is thrilled to be part of a project that is working towards ensuring fairness and access for everyone in the field of science and religion.

Sara Tillema
Ph.D. Candidate

Project Advisor

Sara currently serves as the Director of Programs at Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center along the shores of Lake Tahoe, where she oversees a variety of programs which seek to promote continued education, inspiration, and exploration for all. She is also a PhD student at UC Davis in the Study of Religion, with an emphasis in American Religious Cultures. Her current research is focused on providing a rhetorical and historical analysis of discourses on gender and sexuality in American evangelicalism. 


Sara is passionate about advancing the voices of women and other gender-marginalized individuals in religious spaces, and looks forward to working alongside WISH participants as we explore ways towards continued career sustainability for women at the intersection of science and religion.

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Teri Merrick, Ph.D.

Project Advisor

Teri Merrick received her PhD from the Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science at University of California, Irvine. She has over 18 years of teaching and research experience in the history and philosophy of science. She is author of Helmholtz, Cohen, and Frege on Progress and Fidelity: Sinning Against Science and Religion. Other publications include works on philosophy of mathematics, the role of emotion in science and religion, and feminist and postcolonial critiques of science and religion.

Teri is thrilled to be on the team of the WISH project. She has experienced firsthand the importance of having mentors and colleagues who encourage younger or early-career women to make their mark in fields where male voices tend to predominate. Research on the interrelationship of science and religion and those working in this field can only reach their full potential when historically underrepresented voices speak and are heard.

Josiah Tey
Ph.D. Candidate

Research Assistant

Josiah Tey is a graduate student at Rosemead School of Psychology, earning his PhD in Clinical Psychology. His current research is centered on the reduction of mental illness stigma within the Christian church. He is also a founding member of a grant-funded research group exploring barriers to clergy well-being. Most recently, he has published research on maternal attachment and parenting.

Josiah has diverse research and clinical interests, including supporting marginalized populations and exploring the intersection of science and religion. As an early-career scholar, Josiah is excited to work with the WISH project to foster the integration of underrepresented scholars in scientific and religious spaces.

Advisory Board

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April Cordero, Ph.D.

April Maskiewicz Cordero, PhD, is a professor of biology and Dean at Point Loma Nazarene University. April has been teaching since 1990, and until recently, taught ecology and evolution to science majors, non-majors, and graduate students. As a Christian biologist trained in science education research, she is in a unique position to investigate science students’ perceptions of the relationship between scientific issues that evoke controversy (i.e. climate change, evolution, human origins) and Christian faith. April has several publications, earned three teaching awards, was a SCIO Visiting Scholar at Oxford University in 2015-16, and gave a TEDx talk on evolution and faith. She is also active on several professional development projects with schoolteachers as well as university biology faculty.

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Elizabeth Hall, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Lewis Hall PhD is Professor at Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University, where she teaches interdisciplinary courses on psychology and religion. She is past president of Division 36 (Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality) of the American Psychological Association, and a fellow of APA. Her contributions to the interdisciplinary study of psychology and theology have been recognized in various ways, including the Wheaton College Omar Scandrette Integration Award (2007), the Biola University Robert B. Fischer Award for Faculty Excellence (2010), the CAPS Narramore Award for Excellence in the Integration of Theology and Psychology (2016), and APA Division 36's William C. Bier Award (2021).

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Se Kim, Ph.D.

Se Kim is trained in genetics and neuroscience, and her research work focused on the role of epigenetics in mammalian brain function and plant stress response. Currently, Se serves as the Director of Membership and Governance at the National Academies of Medicine (NAM), where she oversees all the activities of the NAM membership, elections, and works closely with the governing Council on Academy initiatives and member engagement. She received her BS in biochemistry from The University of Texas at Austin, a PhD in molecular and human genetics from Baylor College of Medicine, and an executive MBA from the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park. Previous to the National Academies, she was the Deputy Chief Program Officer at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Office of Science, Policy, and Society Programs. 

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Robert P. George, J.D., D.Phil.

Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He has frequently been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, teaching philosophy of law and related subjects. In addition to his academic service, Professor George has served as Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He has also served on the President’s Council on Bioethics, as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, and as the U.S. member of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Science and Technology. He is a former Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award.

Effat Zeidan Hatoum, Ph.D.

Effat Zeidan Hatoum, PhD, has a research background in Nanotechnology and the development of ultra-sensitive diagnostic tools for the detection of disease in early stages with several
publications in that area. She is currently serving as Program Director of the Master of Interdisciplinary Studies program and Associate Professor of science and mathematics at California Baptist University. Her focus has been on improving the quality of online science and math education through the introduction of practical learning tools, motivational learning strategies, and integration of faith.  Effat has also been serving on the Executive Council of the American Scientific Affiliation since 2019 and is leading the ASA student chapter at California Baptist University.

Louise Huang, Ph.D.

Louise Huang earned a B.S. in Fiber Science at Cornell University, an M.S. in Polymer Science, and a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry from the University of California, Davis. Her interest in environmental science originated from her undergraduate and graduate research on the degradation of pesticides on cellulosic materials. She holds two U.S. patents on such technologies. Currently, she is an Honors College Faculty Fellow who serves as the Director of the Center for Research in Science (CRIS) and the Acting Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) at Azusa Pacific University. Her area of teaching and research lies in environmental stewardship and sustainability; the courses she teaches include Chemistry & Society and History of Science. 

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Gregory Cootsona, Ph.D.

Gregory is a Lecturer in Religious Studies and Humanities at Chico State University, and also co-directs Science for the Church (, which brings resources for Christian congregations to integrate mainstream science into their ministries. In addition, he serves as associate pastor for discipleship at Bidwell Presbyterian Church in Chico. He holds degrees from U.C. Berkeley, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Graduate Theological Union. He serves on advisory council or committees for BioLogos; the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion; the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences at the Graduate Theological Union. 

Jennifer Wiseman, Ph.D.

Dr. Jennifer Wiseman is an astronomer, author, and speaker.  She studies the process of star and planet formation in our galaxy using radio, optical, and infrared telescopes.    She is also interested in national science policy and public science engagement, and is the emeritus Director of the program of Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  She received her B.S. in physics from MIT, discovering comet Wiseman-Skiff in 1987, and continued her studies at Harvard, earning a Ph.D. in astronomy in 1995.    She is currently a senior astrophysicist at the Goddard Space Flight Center.   Dr. Wiseman is a Fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation, a network of Christians in Science.   

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Deborah Haarsma, Ph.D.

Deborah Haarsma is President of BioLogos. She completed her doctoral work in astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her undergraduate work in physics and music at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Haarsma is an astronomer and frequent speaker on modern science and Christian faith at research universities, churches, and public venues like the National Press Club. She wrote the book Origins with her husband and fellow physicist, Loren Haarsma, presenting the agreements and disagreements among Christians regarding the history of life and the universe.  Previously, Haarsma served as professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Calvin University. She is an experienced research scientist, with several publications in the Astrophysical Journal and the Astronomical Journal on extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. 

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