Sylvia & Me
Dr. Alisa Stephens-Shields: Women in the Sciences and the Pandemic

Dr. Alisa Stephens-Shields is an Assistant Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a mom of an infant and a 5-year-old. The field of science has always been a struggle for female scientists to break into. On top f that, add being a mom to the mix and that struggle becomes a whole lot more challenging. A female scientist, mom and a woman of color and you’re looking at a very rocky path. And that was before the pandemic.

Alisa’s job is demanding. It is technical and detail oriented. It involves long uninterrupted hours of thought. How was she able to do her job and take care of her family during this unprecedented pandemic?

A conversation with a woman who adjusted her expectations of herself. Going from 100% to 80%.

  • The plight of women in science
  • Mothers and science’s expectations
  • Finding the time and mental space
  • Overcoming challenges
  • The impact of being a Black woman
  • Women and science
  • Public health, statistics and modeling for advancing health and medicine
  • Her job and what she enjoys most
  • Setting boundaries

Dr. Stephens-Shields is also a New Adjunct Faculty at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. For more information on Dr. Alisa Stephens-Shields go to