On The Avenue

There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Learning-Free Lunch

by Ben Diamond Photographed by Scott Rudd
Friday, May 11, 2018
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“Isn’t it nice to see all these women together?” one woman was overheard saying to another at the Rockefeller University’s annual Women & Science Lecture and Luncheon. Yes, there were hardly any men to be found—and with the passage of David Rockefeller last year, one fewer than usual—yesterday. But if the luncheon proves anything, it’s that sisters are (scientifically) doin’ it for themselves.


During the luncheon, held at the University’s beautiful Upper East Side campus, ladies learn from a woman scientist doing groundbreaking research. And this year was no different. This year’s speaker was Agata Smogorzewska, M.D., Ph.D, an expert in the burgeoning field of DNA repair. Smogorzewska shared some of the exciting ways that discoveries in her field are helping in the fight against cancer. At one exciting moment, Smogorzewska invited the audience to guess which risk factors predicted an individual’s chance of cancer, and which didn’t. “It looks I’ve given you a lot to talk about over lunch!” she said with a laugh, as the women continued to murmur to themselves.


After the lecture came the lunch. And though it may have been drizzling, the fact that Spring had arrived at all was good enough for all in attendance. “We were wondering whether the Azaleas were even going to bloom or not,” said University President Richard P. Lifton. “And then on Monday, everything just exploded.”


Guests included prominent Deeda Blair, Danielle Ganek, Colby Jordan, Bara Tisch, Bianca Gottseman, Marjorie Gubelmann, Yue-Sai Kan, Lucy Lamphere, Dawn Ostroff, Agatha Herrero, Jennifer Scully-Lerner, Tina Bhojwani, Lottie Oakley, Nathalie Kaplan, Caryn Zucker, Nancy Kissinger, Debra Black, Serena Boardman, Samantha Boardman Rosen, Marigay McKee, Katherine Farley, Claude Wasserstein, Sydney ShumanDiane Sawyer, Susan Rockefeller and Olivia Flatto. Thanks to their contributions, the University raised over $1.8 million.


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