11 Connecticut STEM Leaders Earn Women of Innovation® Awards

Recognized for Outstanding Achievements, Impact and Advances


Eleven exceptional Connecticut women were recognized for their achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at the 17th annual Women of Innovation® awards, presented in a virtual ceremony by the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) and Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) on October 14, 2021.


The prestigious awards were earned by women innovators, role models and leaders in the STEM disciplines. They were selected from a field of 36 finalists - the scientists, researchers, academics, manufacturers, student leaders, entrepreneurs, and technicians who are catalysts for scientific advancement throughout Connecticut.


The 2021 Women of Innovation® award winners are:


  • Youth Innovation and Leadership:

Sivani Arvapalli, South Windsor High School

  • Collegian Innovation and Leadership:

Alexis Ernst, Ph.D. Candidate, Materials Science & Engineering | University of Connecticut

  • Secondary Academic Innovation and Leadership:

Amy Cornell, Science Teacher, Robotics Coach, Health & Wellness Curriculum Coordinator | The Country School, Madison

  • Postsecondary Academic Innovation and Leadership:

Andrea Kwaczala, Ass’t Prof. of Biomedical Engineering | Western New England University

  • Research Innovation and Leadership:

Martha Gilmore, George I. Seney Professor of Geology | Wesleyan University

  • Community Innovation and Leadership:

Adrienna Yan, Design Engineer l Pratt & Whitney

  • Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership:

Carol Yvette Thorney, Founder, President and CEO | Thorney Advisors

  • Small/Medium Business Innovation and Leadership:

Marie Zuckerman, Patent Agent l Precision Combustion, Inc.

  • Large Business Innovation and Leadership: [TIE]

Laurie Chipperfield, Senior Director, Chemical Research & Development | Pfizer

Megan Rosengarten, President, Surgical Robotics | Medtronic

  • STEM Equitability:

Anna Marie LaChance, Ph.D. Candidate l UConn School of Engineering


Women of Innovation® finalists are nominated by their peers, coworkers, and mentors and are selected based on their professional experience, history of innovation, ability to think creatively and solve problems and demonstration of leadership. Young women pursuing STEM studies at the high school, undergraduate and graduate level are also among the finalists and were selected based on inventiveness and accomplishments in science and technology, independent research, as well as academic achievement and community service.


“We are incredibly fortunate in Connecticut to have extraordinarily talented women throughout the STEM disciplines. These brilliant women are an indispensable catalyst in Connecticut’s economic comeback,” says Giovanni Tomasi, President/Chief Technology Officer of RSL Fiber Systems and Board Chair of CTC.


“As these finalists demonstrate, women in STEM in Connecticut are leading innovation, achieving breakthroughs, and encouraging girls to do that and more,” Tomasi added. “Connecticut’s economy is expanding and becoming more robust in great part by achieving and sustaining leadership in STEM. These are the people whose contributions are critical in our state’s renaissance.”


The 17th annual Women of Innovation® awards virtual event was sponsored by Medtronic, Pfizer, UConn, Arvinas, Sonalysts, Goodroot, The Jackson Laboratory, Precision Combustion, Inc. and The Country School. Media sponsors included WTNH News 8, Hearst CT Media, Hartford Business Journal and New Haven BIZ, and The River 105.9 / iHeart Media.

All accepted nominees had to meet the following minimum requirements: currently working or studying in Connecticut, demonstrate strong leadership abilities, and serving or previously served as a mentor, either short or long term, peer mentor, career mentor or life mentor. Nominees must also meet the specific requirements of the award for which they were nominated.


For more information, go to www.womenofinnovation.org.


The Connecticut Technology Council is a statewide, member-based trade association focused on uniting and growing Connecticut's technology community by connecting leaders, driving public policy, and providing needed resources to growing tech companies. The CTC works together with members and the community at large to advance Connecticut's reputation as a technology state.


The Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit, validates, demonstrates, and encourages the adoption of leading-edge technologies into global industrial companies and the advanced manufacturing supply chain, while also providing the training and education necessary to utilize the capability of these advancements and drive efficiency.

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