Get to know the WEST members:



Irina Agoulnik
Joined WEST in October 2014 

"As an organization, WEST is in a unique position to leverage the rich entrepreneurial and academic environment of Boston and Cambridge, MA, for promoting interdisciplinary and applied STEM approaches. I joined WEST to learn from the best, to mentor young women about their career choices and to grow professionally. So far it’s been a marvelous experience!"

Irina I. Agoulnik is an authentic leader with strong experience in Biotech and Biomedical initiatives, from start-up to mature organizations. She is experienced in developing innovative approaches, strategies, and world-class business solutions to real-world challenges in biomedical research and business development. Irina’s skills set includes strategy development, operations and transitional management, business development, and team leadership. In addition, she possesses strong analytical acumen. Most recently, as Chief Executive Officer for Vesti Intelligence Corp., Irina led the formation of a start-up company with first SaaS (Software as a Service) product on the market and anticipated revenue in year 2016; Previously, Irina spent sixteen years in a variety of management positions at pharmaceutical company, and academic institutions affiliated with Harvard Medical School.  

Connie Jeffery

Joined WEST in June 2011

"Joining WEST has been a great way to meet people in STEM
fields in the Boston area.  From attending the workshops, I've

learned more ways to get my research noticed, how to improve
my lab management methods, and other valuable skills."

Connie Jeffery grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, and obtained a B.S. in biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. While a Cystic Fibrosis Foundation postdoctoral fellow at Brandeis University she learned macromolecular X-ray crystallography.  She is currently an associate professor of biological sciences and an adjunct professor of bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The Jeffery lab uses biophysical and biochemical methods along with computer-based structure analysis (bioinformatics) to study the connections between the sequences, structures, and functions of proteins. Connie also developed the idea/concept of moonlighting proteins, and wrote several articles describing examples of moonlighting proteins from the literature, their methods to switch between functions, possible methods of evolution, and potential benefits to cells. In addition to mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in her laboratory she has served as a research mentor for under-represented minority students through the UIC Summer Research Opportunities Program.  She currently splits her time between Chicago, where her job is and the Boston area, where her husband works. 


Elizabeth Levy
Joined WEST in June 2012

“I have already benefited by becoming very active in WEST's
Leading for Impact Program and appreciate the work WEST is
doing to promote STEM for women.  I joined WEST because
I myself took a STEM path and would have benefited from more
company on this path when I was starting out."

Elizabeth Levy is Counsel for Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ms. Levy began her legal career as a patent agent while attending law school at night, having worked as an engineer for 8 years. She obtained her J.D. with honors from Suffolk University Law School and her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with honors from the University of Texas. She practiced intellectual property law at three firms and was a partner at two, including McDermott Will & Emery LLC. She holds two United States patents for inventions in the field of incandescent lamps.  Ms. Levy has been active in the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL, since 2007. Ms. Levy’s unusual career path was featured in Siemens’ “Exotic Bird” series (April 2012; She is profiled in Power and Influence for Lawyers: How To Use It To Develop Business and Advance Your Career (S. Letterman White, West/Thomson Reuters 2011).