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WINS 40th Anniversary Celebration

WINS 40th Anniversary

Join us in honoring 40 years of this award-winning science enrichment, positive youth development and career preparation program.


Free Days in Honor of WINS
Saturday, September 17, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Sunday, September 18, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.


Join Women In Natural Sciences (WINS) at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University for a free day in recognition of the amazing achievements of women in the sciences. Check out a special WINS pop-up exhibit in the Academy’s Spotlight Gallery, and experience an engaging and immersive story narrated by WINS alumnae and current students. Plus, meet current students and hear about their work and adventures during a WINS poster session and demonstrations on Saturday from 10 a.m.–noon.


More About Women In Natural Sciences

WINS is a free after-school and summer science enrichment program at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Since its founding in 1982, WINS has introduced 1,000 high school girls to future careers in science and other professions by providing hands-on science workshops, career and college exploration and positive youth development. Of the Academy’s WINS students, 100% graduate high school, 97% attend college and 63% major in STEM.

Read more about the award-winning Women in Natural Sciences Program.

Read about the testimonials of three highly successful WINS alumna.

WINS Stories

Jah'ya Gale Cottries

Scientists posing in a river.

Prior to joining the WINS Program, I wanted to be a lawyer. That did not change, but I was exposed to all different types of science. A passion for environmental science had formed. After my freshman year, I participated in Women on Water (WOW) and Drexel Environmental Science Leadership Academy (DESLA) at Barnegat Bay.

I had the Ocean Acidification Internship and Coastal Ecology Internship under Dr. Elizabeth Watson. For my senior year of WINS, I was the WINS Assistant, and I spent some time working as an Explainer in the Big Dig. After graduating from Central High School and WINS, I became a student at Spelman College majoring in Political Science and minoring in Environmental Studies.

Then, I was recommended to my position as the Alliance for Watershed Education (AWE) Fellow at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum by Dr. Watson. As an AWE Fellow, I promote watershed stewardship and community engagement along the 23 centers along the Delaware River Watershed. My first summer’s capstone project involved a tire cleanup in which my cohort and I removed almost 500 tires from Darby Creek.

My second summer’s capstone project is an upstream survey to determine sources of pollution along Darby and Cobbs Creek. With my real experiences in environmental science and conservation, I now hope to become an environmental lawyer who advocates for the protection and preservation of natural lands. This all started because I joined WINS.


Sarah Pellechia

Scientist out in the field with a green hat.

WINS was a major part of my life in high school and has set me on the trajectory of my current career path. I was in WINS between 2009-2013. I started off with some interest in nature, particularly plants, but I didn't have much experience outdoors aside from going to the playground, the beach, or my own front lawn. WINS had me camping, canoeing, kayaking, dissecting animals, eating squid, visiting the water treatment plant, and much more, all for the first time! It even gave me my first job, which I held for 8 years, in the Butterflies! exhibit, as well as my first internships in the Botany department and Patrick Center.

After working in Butterflies, my interest gradually shifted from plants to insects (a group of organisms I once feared and hated!). I learned that bugs weren't as creepy and gross as I grew up believing, and that they are actually beautiful little creations which make me stop and marvel at their peculiarities and diversity. I was the first to receive the WINS scholarship to attend Drexel because of their affiliation with ANS, where I studied environmental science, then went on to receive my master's studying entomology at the University of Kentucky (another feat I never thought I would bother to pursue).

Now I am the staff entomologist at a nature preserve (Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trusty)! WINS had a profound impact on my life, and I could not tell the story of my life without talking about my time in WINS.


Shanaya Shoats

Woman with daughter sitting in front of the Academy of Natural Sciences.

What is WINS? For some, it’s known as the Women in Natural Sciences Program through The Academy of Natural Sciences but for me, it’s the people that MADE me. WINS has been my saving grace and my home away from home since the summer of 2006.

After losing my mom earlier that year, being around a group of girls for hours at a time multiple days a week was not even imaginable or even thought about. However, after week 1 I knew that my life had changed forever for the BETTER. WINS has changed my life in ways I couldn’t imagine.

They gave me a family, a home, and WINS gave me LIFE. I never knew as a 14-year-old girl from Philly that I would be able to explore the world and discover many talents loves I have for earth and space sciences and especially PALEONTOLOGY!

WINS is where I grew to love myself as a whole and I’ve met my life long best friend, Saieda. I have gained a host of new sisters from throughout the city!

Today, I have a daughter who will know what WINS is, what it means and how much it means to her mommy. WINS is a program to you, but for us ..... it’s a sisterhood and a bond that can’t be broken. WINS is a safe haven and within OUR sisterhood everyone knows that once you’re a WINS girl your are ALWAYS a WINS GIRL!


WINS 40th Featured Blog Posts

WINS Founder Donates Treasure Trove of History

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