The WINGS WorldQuest Women of Discovery Awards were established in 2003 to recognize extraordinary women making significant contributions to world knowledge and science through exploration.

On April, 23, 2019, four intrepid explorers were honored and inducted as WINGS WorldQuest Fellows at the Women of Discovery Awards Gala at Scandinavia House in New York City. Eighty-four pioneering women have received this honor and over $650,000 in grants since 2003.

The Women of Discovery Awardees presented their research, initiatives and discoveries during the Fellows Forum, an accessible, interactive symposium for anyone seeking to better understand the world around us, advance scientific inquiry and promote environmental conservation. Our four Women of Discovery Awardees were honored during the Women of Discovery Awards Reception.




Mandë Holford, Ph.D., Humanity Award

Dr. Mandë Holford is as an Associate Professor in Chemistry at Hunter College and CUNY-Graduate Center, with scientific appointments at the American Museum of Natural History and Weill Cornell Medicine. Her joint appointments reflect her interdisciplinary research, which goes from mollusks to medicine, combining chemistry and biology to discover, characterize, and deliver novel peptides from venomous marine snails as tools for manipulating cellular physiology in pain and cancer. Her laboratory investigates the power of venom to transform organisms and lives when it is adapted to create novel therapeutics for treating human diseases and disorders.


Krithi K. Karanth, Ph.D., Conservation Award

Dr. Krithi Karanth is Chief Conservation Scientist at at the Centre for Wildlife Studies, Adjunct Faculty at Duke and National Centre for Biological Sciences and an Explorer with National Geographic Society. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Policy from Duke, a M.E.Sc. from Yale, and, B.S. and B.A. degrees from University of Florida. Krithi’s research in India spanning 20 years encompasses macro-level studies assessing patterns of species distributions and extinctions, impacts of wildlife tourism, voluntary resettlement, land use change, conservation education and understanding human-wildlife interactions. She has published more than 90 scientific and popular articles in English and Kannada. Krithi served on the editorial boards of Conservation Biology, Conservation Letters and Frontiers in Ecology and Environment. Krithi has mentored over 100 young scientists from India, the U.S., Australia, and the UK and engaged more than 500 citizen science volunteers in projects.


Laly Lichtenfeld, Ph.D., Conservation Award

Dr. Laly Lichtenfeld believes in finding the balance for communities and nature. A nearly 20-year resident of Tanzania, Laly co-founded African People & Wildlife in 2005 to help rural communities conserve and benefit from their wildlife and natural resources. Laly specializes in wildlife conservation with a focus on lions and other big cats, community empowerment and engagement in natural resource management, and the development of conservation incentives for rural people. As a female CEO in East African conservation, Laly is often one of few women at the senior leadership table, a responsibility she does not take lightly. In 2018, Laly became an invited member of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority Research Advisory Committee. Laly is an accomplished speaker, a Distinguished Alumni of the Yale Tropical Resources Institute, a National Geographic Explorer, and a recipient of the 2016 Lowell Thomas Award for Open Space Conservation.


Darlene Lim, Ph.D., Air & Space Award

Dr. Darlene Lim is a geobiologist based at the NASA Ames Research Center in California. Darlene leads several NASA-funded research programs that are focused on blending field science research with the development of capabilities and concepts for future human spaceflight into deep space and Mars. She is the Principal Investigator of the NASA-funded SUBSEA, BASALT and Pavilion Lake research programs, and the Deputy PI of the NASA SSERVI FINESSE research program. Darlene has served on a number of NASA Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group committees and was the MEPAG Goal IV (Prepare for Human Exploration) Co-Chair from 2009-2016. 
Darlene is a passionate promoter of science and exploration education and outreach efforts, and founded the Haven House Family Shelter STEM Explorers& Speakers Series, which from 2012 – 2015, enabled NASA and academic researchers to conduct educational sessions with homeless children in the San Francisco Bay Area.


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