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Connecticut Technology Council Announces Winners of the Seventh Annual Women of Innovation Awards Pr

HARTFORD, Conn.  Fifty six innovative, outstanding women from across Connecticut were honored March 31 during the seventh annual Women of Innovation awards dinner at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. The awards program, sponsored by the Connecticut Technology Council, recognizes women in the workforce who are innovators, role models and leaders in the technology, science and engineering fields. Students at both the high school and college level were also recognized. More than 500 guests attended this year’s event.

“Many of Connecticut’s most extraordinary and talented women working in technology are in attendance tonight,” said Matthew Nemerson, president and CEO of the Connecticut Technology Council. “As each year, this awards event allows us to recognize these exceptional innovators and leaders, while also introducing them to a professional network of peers who are equally accomplished.”

The 2011 keynoter was Ella Edmondson Bell, Ph.D.,

the founder and president of ASCENT‐Leading Multicultural Women to the Top, as well as an Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Dr. Bell is considered by industry to be one of the leading experts in the management of race, gender, and class in the workplace. 

In attendance were the Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Catherine Smith who will begin her position as the State's Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner on 4/1.  As master of ceremonies, TV personality Diane Smith energized the crowd and spoke of the importance of strong networks.

The 2011 Women of Innovation category award winners are:

Academic Innovation and Leadership

  1. Rachel O’Neill, assistant professor of molecular and cell biology, University of Connecticut

Ms O’Neill is Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Connecticut. She is Director of the Microarray and Next Generation Sequencing Facility Center for Applied Genetics and Technology. She is recruited nationally and internationally as an important and valued colleague in a wide variety of genome sequencing projects.

Collegian Innovation and Leadership

  1. Jackie Garofano, doctoral student, University of Connecticut, and EO Coordinator,    CRISP (Yale/SCSU)

Ms Garofano is a UConn graduate student and doctoral candidate. Her doctoral research focuses on advanced materials characterization to study the micro-structural evolution of magnesia nanocomposites for optical components.

Community Innovation and Leadership

  1. Nadia Glucksberg, hydrogeolist, Haley & Aldrich

Ms Glucksberg is a hydro-geologist at the engineering firm of Haley and Aldrich. She has been a member of Engineers Without Borders since 2007 and has successfully designed and constructed potable water systems in rural villages in India, Guatemala and Ghana.


  1. Sharon Killian, accounting associate, Pratt & Whitney

Ms Killian is a devoted humanitarian. She leads by example in helping the homeless. She has been recognized as "Volunteer of the Year" by CRT and by Pratt & Whitney senior management for her volunteering efforts.

Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership:

  1. Leonora Valvo, CEO and founder, etouches

Ms Valvo, a lifelong entrepreneur, is the CEO and founder of etouches, a software company which provides online event management. Trade Show News Network named etouches the “Top Event Technology Innovator” for 2010.

Small Business Innovation and Leadership

  1. Laura Dietz, vice president, Sonalysts, Inc.

Ms Dietz works with training technology. Her extensive experience has been applied to Air Force, Navy, and Army training programs.

Large Business Innovation and Leadership:

  1. Deborah Orosz, AMS manager, operating effectiveness, Hamilton Sundstrand

Ms Orosz is the company's global Green Products program leader, focused on compliance with product chemical restrictions and reducing the environmental impact of Hamilton Sundstrand products.


  1. Agnes Klucha, program manager, Engineering Innovation Center, Pratt & Whitney

Ms Klucha leads a group formed to bring new innovations to life through prototyping, design and validation using an integrated approach.

Research Innovation and Leadership

  1. Lisa Pfefferle, professor of engineering,Yale University

Ms Pfefferle’s research is focused on chemical reaction engineering to direct the structure of nanomaterials. She has contributed to the fundamental understanding of combustion chemistry and sooting. 

Youth Innovation and Leadership

  1. Jenny Liu, High School Student, Amity Regional High School

Ms Liu has studied human-robot interaction at the Yale University Social Robotics Lab, and was honored in Washington D.C. last month as one of 40 Finalists of the Intel Science Talent Search. Ms Liu was awarded a $2,500 scholarship by Covidien.

The presenting sponsors for the 2011 event were Boehringer-Ingelheim USA Corporation, the law firm of Day Pitney LLP and United Technologies Corporation. 

About the Connecticut Technology Council

The Connecticut Technology Council ( is the state’s industry association for the technology sector. CTC’s mission is to “connect people, ideas and opportunities to the global technology and innovation community.” CTC provides members with business assistance and specialized programs, in addition to promoting and supporting public policies that position Connecticut to have a globally recognized “culture of innovation” that helps attract great ideas and entrepreneurs to in turn develop new jobs and wealth for the state.

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