Arpana Vaniya, academic coordinator in the West Coast Metabolomics Center at the UC Davis Genome Center, recently received a Trailblazer Award for Mentoring from Million Women Mentors, a global movement to spark interest and confidence in girls and women to pursue STEM careers and leadership.
Vaniya was among 26 winners recognized during the Million Women Mentors virtual summit in late October.
“I am very enthusiastic to express my utmost support for Dr. Arpana Vaniya as recipient for the MWM trailblazer award 2020,” Professor Oliver Fiehn wrote in nominating her for the award. “[She] has dedicated much of her life to mentoring young mass spectrometrists in my own laboratory and beyond.”
Vaniya has trained and mentored numerous younger scientists during her graduate studies and postdoctoral research in the UC Davis Department of Chemistry and at the West Coast Metabolomics Center, which is led by Fiehn.
She also has volunteered with, founded, developed or led a number of educational and outreach efforts in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, especially in her own field of mass spectroscopy. These include: UC Davis Snap the Gap, a program aimed at closing the gender gap in STEM, in partnership with Million Women Mentors and littleBits; hands-on workshops for the Girls in Science Education Fair at Peregrine School in Davis; a discussion panel on Women in STEM for underrepresented minorities with the Tolowa Dee-ni’ nation; West Coast Metabolomics Center Science with Kids, bringing third-graders into the lab; and panel speaker at the Girls Leading Our Way, or GLOW, Leadership and STEM Conference, talking about her experience as a woman of color in STEM.
During the pandemic, Vaniya and four of her colleagues organized the Virtual Podium, a 10-part weekly webinar series focused on compelling scientific research in chemistry, biology and informatics, reaching more than 2,800 participants worldwide at the height of the shutdown in the spring. She is also a founder and chair of WomiX: Women in Metabolomics, an interest group of the Metabolomics Association of North America.