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Press Release: CTC Announces the 2018 Women of Innovation

Women of Innovation® nominations 2018 wordmark


CONTACT: Taylor Van Antwerp, Connecticut Technology Council

(860) 289-0878 x340,

EAST HARTFORD, CT (March 5, 2018) – The Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) is pleased to announce the 50 women who have been selected as Women of Innovation® finalists for the 2018 Women of Innovation awards program. The Women of Innovation program seeks to celebrate and create a growing network of women in the trenches of STEM. Finalists are the scientists, researchers, academics, manufacturers, student leaders, drafters, entrepreneurs, and technicians who create tomorrow’s advancements through their efforts in Connecticut today.

The 50 finalists will be recognized at the Women of Innovation awards gala at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville on March 28 from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm. A winner in each of the eight award categories will be announced live during the program.

In place of a keynote speaker, this year’s awards gala will feature a panel of some of Connecticut’s leading women in STEM, discussing their experiences in technology-centered careers and the unique opportunities they’ve found in our state. The panel, entitled Women in STEM: Leading Connecticut Through Innovation, will include past Women of Innovation winners Radenka Maric, PhD (Vice President for Research at the University of Connecticut) and Wendy Davis (founder and CEO of GestVision), and it will be moderated by attorney Susan Huntington, a partner in Day Pitney’s Healthcare and Life Sciences Group.

Tickets, registration, and details are available online at the CTC website, The complete list of 2018 Women of Innovation Finalists is posted below.

“Over the 14 years that we have operated the Women of Innovation program, it has become clearer and clearer that Connecticut is unmistakably an excellent place for women to make significant professional, academic, and community achievements in technology fields.” said Bruce Carlson, President and CEO of the Connecticut Technology Council. This is a trend that’s likely to continue—the UConn School of Engineering, for instance, currently has the highest percentage of women students of all public universities. “We look forward to celebrating what this year’s impressive class of finalists has accomplished, and hearing from past Women of Innovation winners on this year’s panel,” Carlson continued.

“My experience is that Connecticut is an excellent home for women in bioscience and technology,” says Yale Entrepreneur-in-Residence Susan Froshauer. Froshauer was a Women of Innovation finalist in 2005 and a winner in 2006, and she current serves as a Women of Innovation Committee member. “There are many start-ups and growing companies alike who have women in senior leadership roles and who are driving value creation. CTC’s Women of Innovation has been an important foundational part of the community of Connecticut women in tech for over a decade, and I’m privileged to have been both an honoree and now part of the award and selection process itself.”

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. This year’s 50 finalists include researchers, educators, engineers, managers, students, and entrepreneurs who work in or study biotech, pharmaceuticals, software, computer hardware, advanced materials, medical devices, IT, or associated fields.

High school, undergraduate and graduate students who have demonstrated extraordinary and unique achievements in their technology disciplines are also among the finalists. Students are judged on inventiveness, STEM accomplishments, independent research, community service, and academic achievement. All Youth Innovation and Leadership finalists will receive an academic scholarship, with the winner of the category being awarded a $4,000 scholarship from Medtronic, one of the program’s presenting sponsors.

Women of Innovation is presented in conjunction with Day Pitney LLP, Medtronic, and United Technologies Corporation. Additional support is provided by ESPN, Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Axinn Veltrop & Harkrider LLP.

For questions regarding the program or awards dinner please contact Taylor Van Antwerp at (860) 289-0878 x340.

Below is a list of the 2018 Women of Innovation by category, with their affiliated organizations and hometowns:

Secondary Academic Innovation and Leadership

Roxanne Amiot, Bullard Havens Technical High School (South Glastonbury, Conn.) Susan Meabh Kelly, Henry Abbott Technical High School (Bridgewater, Conn.) Melissa Manzione, Engineering and Science University Magnet School (Stratford, Conn.)

Postsecondary Academic Innovation and Leadership

Katherine Coyner, UConn Health Center (Hartford, Conn.) Julia Valla, University of Connecticut (Tolland, Conn.) Karen Wosczyna-Birch, CT State Colleges and Universities, College of Tech. (Farmington, Conn.)

Collegian Innovation and Leadership

Yikun Huang, University of Connecticut, School of Engineering (Shaanxi, China) Yan Li, University of Connecticut, School of Engineering (Shandong, China) Qin Lu, University of Connecticut, Dept. of Electrical & Computer Engineering (Storrs, Conn.)

Community Innovation and Leadership

Nicole Gagnon, Pratt & Whitney (Haverhill, Mass.) Cristina Guzman-Toro, Pratt & Whitney (Manchester, Conn.) Kristin Harkness, Spark Makerspace (New London, Conn.) Heather Pieszala, Pratt & Whitney (Larksville, Penn.)

Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership

Candace Freedenberg, Untapped Potential Inc. (Canton, Conn.) Ashley Kalinauskas, Torigen Pharmaceuticals (Vernon, Conn.) Brenda Lewis, Transactions Marketing, Inc. (Stamford, Conn.) Randi Oster, Help Me Health (Fairfield, Conn.) Pamela Perdue, Continuity

Large Business Innovation and Leadership

Jackelyn Anderson, Pratt & Whitney (Medway, Mass.) Hilda Arguelles, Pratt & Whitney Linda Betz, University of Saint Joseph (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) Iuliana Cernatescu, Pratt & Whitney (Glastonbury, Conn.) Jennifer Cogswell, Pratt & Whitney (South Glastonbury, Conn.) Colette Fennessy, UTC Aerospace Systems (West Hartford, Conn.) Jennifer Gaffney, ESPN, Inc. (Wallingford, Conn.) Amy Green, Pratt & Whitney (Hampton, Conn.) Sarah Kelly, Pfizer, Inc. (Mystic, Conn.) Mary Musco, Pratt & Whitney (Colchester, Conn.) Eve Pickering, Pfizer, Inc. (New London, Conn.) Catherine Pratt, UTC Aerospace Systems (Holyoke, Mass.) Tara Rahemba, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Cromwell, Conn.) Honey Reddi, The Jackson Laboratory (Cheshire, Conn.) Margaret Steinbugler, Pratt & Whitney (East Windsor, Conn.) Sarah Toomey, Pratt & Whitney (Tolland, Conn.)

Research Innovation and Leadership

Kathy Ayers, Proton OnSite (South Glastonbury, Conn.) Susan Baserga, Yale University (Guilford, Conn.) Carine Boustany, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Newtown, Conn.) Xiaomei Fang, Pratt & Whitney (Glastonbury, Conn.) Christine Finck, M.D., UConn Health Center Stefanie C.F. Toise, PhD, MPH, At One, LLC (Vernon, Conn.)

Small Business Innovation and Leadership

Jessica Bailey, Greenworks Lending (Norwalk, Conn.) Diane Body, PNT Data Corp (Wallingford, Conn.) Candace Freedenberg, Untapped Potential Inc. (Canton, Conn.) Marcia LaFemina, The Pennsylvania Globe Gaslight Company (Madison, Conn.) Nicole Schulz, IT Direct, LLC (Manchester, Conn.)

Youth Innovation and Leadership

Agrani Dixit, Amity Regional High School (Woodbridge, Conn.) Sophie Edelstein, Wilbur Cross High School (New Haven, Conn.) Ayana Klein, 3Dux/design (Fairfield, Conn.) Rishika Maitra, Academy of Aerospace and Engineering (Middletown, Conn.) Shobhita Sundaram, Greenwich High School (Greenwich, Conn.) Sophie Wang, Waterford High School (Waterford, Conn.)

About The Connecticut Technology Council

The Connecticut Technology Council is a statewide association of technology-oriented companies and institutions, providing leadership in areas of policy advocacy, community building, and assistance for growing companies since 1994. Speaking for 2,500 companies that employ some 200,000 residents, the mission of the Connecticut Technology Council is to spark innovation, cultivate tech talent, foster business growth, advocate for industry-beneficial law and policy, expand the scope of industry networking and professional development, and celebrate industry achievements in the state. The CTC seeks to serve Connecticut’s technology ecosystem by providing leadership, support, mentoring, and advocacy to companies across every industry and at every stage of growth. For more information, visit

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