Women of Innovation 2011 Event Recap





The Story


The Jana Moak Scholarship


The 2011 Category Award Winners  The 2011 Finalists


Official Press Releases


Great Event Pictures


2011 Planning CommitteeGirls of Innovation

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Fifty six innovative, outstanding women from across Connecticut were honored March 31 during the

WOI-gala

Click here to read the profiles on all 56 Finalists

Click here to see the category winners Click here to view the program for the event (.pdf)

Click here to see the event pictures Click here to learn more about the Women of Innovation Program

Click here to view the press release about this 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. 

2011 Women of Innovation Awards Gala – The Keynote Speech by Ella L.J.Edmondson Bell Ph.D. from Connecticut Technology Council on Vimeo.

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.

Press Releases

2011 Women of Innovation Announcement, Finalists named 2011 Event Press Release, Category Winners named

The Jana Moak Scholarship

Paul Hermes, CTO, Covedien presented Jana Moak Scholarships of $500 to three of the finalists. These awards were provided by the Connecticut Technology Council and were in honor of Jana Moak, a former Board Member and herself a Women of Innovation winner who passed away in 2007.

The Jana Moak Scholarship 2011 winners were Joan Kim of Amity Regional High School; Guste Urbonaite of Newington High School and the Greater Hartford Academy of Math and Sciences; and Rachel Winsor of Stamford High School.

The 2011 Women of Innovation Winners by Category

Academic Innovation and Leadership Award

Rachel O'Neill, Assistant Professor of Molecular & Cell Biology University of Connecticut Prof. O’Neill graduated with a BA in Zoology with Honors from the University of Texas and completed her PhD in Genetics at La Trobe University, Australia. After completing postdoctoral work at the University of Melbourne, Princeton University and Rutgers University, she entered a faculty position at the University of Connecticut. She is Director of the Microarray and Next Generation Sequencing Facility, Center for Applied Genetics and Technology, and co-Director of the iPSCell and Chromosome Core.


Collegian Innovation and Leadership Award

Jacquelynn Garofano, Doctoral Student, University of Connecticut & EO Coordinator, CRISP (Yale/SCSU)

Jacquelynn (Jackie) was accepted to the UConn MSE program (Ph.D. track) in 2006 after graduating from Southern CT State University with Honors in Physics (BS). In 2009, she received her MS degree in MSE under the advisement of Dr.Mark Aindow for research on electron microscopy characterization of laser-processed Ni-based superalloys. That same year, Jackie was the recipient of the Outstanding Woman Scholar Academic Achievement Award for the Graduate School at UConn. Also in 2009, Jackie was appointed EO Coordinator for CRISP, an NSF Center for Research Excellence at Yale/SCSU. Jackie plans to finish her Ph.D. in 2011. Her doctoral research focuses on advanced materials characterization to study the microstructural evolution of magnesia/yttria nanocomposites for optical components. Most recently, Jackie has been selected as the 2010 Outstanding Graduate Student for the MSE program at UConn.


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Community Innovation and Leadership Award Nadia Glucksberg, Hydrogeolist Haley & Aldrich

Nadia 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. Women in these villages are the primary caretakers and spend much of their time collecting water for their families. These projects are designed to not only increase public heath, but allow the women and girls time for education and become more self reliant. It also shows the US students how engineering can signifiancly improve public heath and how it goes beyond classrooms and calculations.


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Community Innovation and Leadership Award Sharon Killian, Accounting Associate Pratt & Whitney Sharon Killian holds an Accounting Analyst position and is a devoted humanitarian. She leads by example in helping the homeless. Sharon worked with United Way promoting a skills empowerment program for homeless veterans and supported legislation for state funding. She remains in contact with area shelters and has led countless donation drives. She is a Steering Committee member of the Operation Santa program. She was recognized as "Volunteer of the Year" by CRT and by Finance senior management for her volunteering efforts.


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Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership Award Leonora Valvo, CEO and Founder etouches Ask life-long entrepreneur Leonora Valvo, CEO and Founder of etouches, her pet peeves and she might tell you: sleep, primetime television, and people reluctant to embrace technology that can make their lives easier and more productive. If she's not skydiving at 30,000 feet or learning to sail, she's probably creating a new company. She has launched four successful ones in the travel industry, the most recent being etouches, which provides online event management software. The Financial Times named Valvo as one of the industry's "Women at the Top," and Trade Show News Network named etouches Top Event Technology Innovator for 2010.


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Large Business Innovation and Leadership Award Deborah Orosz, AMS Manager, Operating Effectiveness

Hamilton Sundstrand Deb Orosz has over 12 years experience in aerospace. She holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Connecticut, and a M.S. in Management of Technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. As Operating Effectiveness Manager, Deb leads strategies to implement lean processes to optimize the company’s ability to meet customer and company commitments. In her role leading the company's global Green Products program, she focused on compliance with product chemical restrictions and reducing the environmental impact of HS products.


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Large Business Innovation and Leadership Award

Agnes Klucha, program manager, Engineering Innovation Center Pratt & Whitney Agnes formed a group to bring new innovations to life through prototyping, design and validation using an integrated approach. In her 16 years at Pratt & Whitney, Agnes has held various roles including Flight Test Engineer, Test Planning Manager, and leadership of Tiger Teams to resolve top technical issues. Agnes received her BASc in Engineering Science – Aerospace Engineering from the University of Toronto and a MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is a member of WAI, AOPA, a tutor at Power to Read and a mentor to Athena's Warriors


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Research Innovation and Leadership Award

Lisa Pfefferle, Professor of Engineering Yale University Lisa Pfefferle is an engineering professor at Yale University. Her research is focused on chemical reaction engineering to direct the structure of nanomaterials.  She has contributed to fundamental understanding of combustion chemistry and sooting.  Recent work has developed controlled property carbon single walled nanotubes (SWNT), the first boron SWNT, and other inorganic nanotubes, including means for assembling them into devices for medical, solar cell and superconductivity applications.  Lisa collaborates widely, leads a team ranging from research associates to high school students, has 150 peer-reviewed papers that are highly cited, and holds four U.S. patents.  Lisa has a 13 year old daughter, Gillian.


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Small Business Innovation and Leadership Award Laura Dietz, vice president Sonalysts, Inc. Laura Dietz has been working with training technology at Sonalysts, Inc. for over 11 years. Her extensive experience has been applied to Air Force, Navy, and Army training domains. Ms. Dietz is also the mother of two boys, and enjoys hiking, running, and horseback riding.


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Youth Innovation and Leadership Award Jenny Liu, High School Student Amity Regional High School Jenny Jiaqi Liu, a senior at Amity High School, is currently studying human-robot interaction at the Yale University Social Robotics Lab. Recently, she was selected as one of 40 Finalists of the Intel Science Talent Search and will travel to Washington D.C. in March to represent Connecticut. An award-winning violinist, she has performed at Carnegie Hall. In her free time, Jenny likes to read, play with her dog, and sleep!


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The 2011 Finalists:

We also honor the full class of 2011 finalists, each and every one is an outstanding woman working in Science and technology.

Academic Innovation and Leadership

Antonella Bona, Teacher Farmington High School Antonella Bona is a science teacher at Farmington High School. After sixteen years of being a researcher in endocrinology, she decided to communicate her passion for science to the next generation of scientists. She has developed unique and highly creative lessons that reflect her former science background. She has been the High School and District Teacher of the Year in Windam, as well as being a finalist for the Connecticut State Teacher of the Year. She has been awarded the Exceptional Science Teaching Award by the Connecticut Science Teachers Association. Antonella has also won awards at the national level, winning the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching personally receiving the award from President Clinton. Most recently she won the Siemens Award which is given yearly to the best AP math or science teacher in Connecticut.


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Academic Innovation and Leadership

Deborah Day, Science Research Instructor

Amity Regional High School

Deborah Day is currently in her 12th year of teaching at Amity Senior High School, teaching classes in Chemistry and Science Research. She has enthusiastically established collaboration with local schools, including Yale University and Southern Connecticut State University where both she and her students have conducted research. She has introduced innovative approaches to curriculum development, developed strong research abilities, particularly in nano materials and has been recognized for her mentorship and outstanding leadership. Deborah is also the Co-Chair of the Amity Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Committee; a member of Amity's Game Based Learning Committee; Amity's Curriculum Steering Committee; SCSEF and CT JSHS Executive Committees; Fellow of the CT Academy for Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, Inc. Deborah has a B.A. (Biology and Chemistry) and a M.S. (Chemistry). Deborah is currently training to complete her 12th marathon.


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Academic Innovation and Leadership Donna Jean Fredeen, Dean of Arts and Sciences

Southern Connecticut State University During her 13 years as Dean of Arts and Sciences at Southern Connecticut State Univeristy, DonnaJean Fredeen has worked to increase the number of women faculty and students in the sciences, to improve the infrastructure needed to support faculty scientific research, and improve the overall teaching of science. Her research focuses on the leadership needed to facilitate innovation and creativity in teaching. She is actively involved in SENCER and serves as co-director for the New England SENCER Center for Innovation and as a leadership fellow. Her interest in science education began during her tenure as a chemistry faculty member and is illustrated with her best selling study guide to accompany the General Chemistry text by McMurry and Fay.


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Academic Innovation and Leadership Amanda Harper-Leatherman, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Fairfield University

Amanda Harper-Leatherman has been Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Fairfield University since 2006. Prior to this position, she was a National Research Council Research Associate at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C. She earned her Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2004, and her bachelor’s in Chemistry from St. Olaf College in 1999. Her research on the properties of proteins encapsulated within porous, solid aerogels has the potential to help improve biosensors or biofuel cells, and is currently funded by a Cottrell College Science Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement.


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Academic Innovation and Leadership Rachel O'Neill, Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology University of Connecticut

Rachel 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. In 2010, Rachel received the CLAS Excellence in Teaching Award in the Life Sciences at UConn. She has secured $6,364,258 in grant support over the last five years and has received peer recognition for her leadership and innovation. She is recruited nationally and internationally as an important and valued colleague in a wide variety of genome sequencing projects. She graduated with a BA in Zoology with Honors from the University of Texas and completed her Ph.D in Genetics at La Trobe University, Australia.


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Collegian Innovation and Leadership Jacquelynn Garofano, Doctoral Student, University of Connecticut & EO Coordinator, CRISP (Yale/SCSU) Jacquelynn (Jackie) Garofano is a UConn graduate student and doctoral candidate. She was accepted to the UConn MSE program (Ph.D. track) in 2006 after graduating from Southern CT State University with Honors in Physics (BS). In 2009, she received her MS degree in MSE under the advisement of Dr.Mark Aindow for research on electron microscopy characterization of laser-processed Ni-based superalloys. That same year, Jackie was the recipient of the Outstanding Woman Scholar Academic Achievement Award for the Graduate School at UConn. Also in 2009, Jackie was appointed EO Coordinator for CRISP, an NSF Center for Research Excellence at Yale/SCSU. Jackie plans to finish her Ph.D. in 2011. Her doctoral research focuses on advanced materials characterization to study the microstructural evolution of magnesia/yttria nanocomposites for optical components. Most recently, Jackie has been selected as the 2010 Outstanding Graduate Student for the MSE program at UConn.


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Collegian Innovation and Leadership Elisa Jorgensen, Medical Student Yale University Elisa Jorgensen is a second-year medical student at Yale University. She began doing research at 16, and currently studies the long-term effects of environmental exposures during pregnancy on epigenetic regulation in the offspring. She is co-president of the Women in Medicine student group at Yale, and mentors three undergraduates in her laboratory. Elisa grew up in Connecticut, and received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Michigan in 2007.


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Collegian Innovation and Leadership Anuradha Kodali, Doctoral Student University of Connecticut Anuradha Kodali is presently a Ph.D student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Connecticut. She received her B.E. in Electronics and Communications Engineering from Andhra University, India in 2006. Her research interests include data mining, pattern recognition, fault detection and diagnosis and optimization theory. She also received national-level merit certificate in mathematics from the Central Board of Secondary Education, India.


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Collegian Innovation and Leadership Junxia Ma, Doctoral Student University of Connecticut Junxia Ma recently received her Ph.D from the University of Connecticut. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Beihang University, Beijing, China in 2003, and a Masters of Science degree from the University of Macau, Macao, China in 2006. She worked at Cadence Design Systems, Inc.’s Beijing R&D Center from 2006 to 2007. She was a Ph.D student at the University of Connecticut from 2007 to 2010 during which she had internships at (1) Texas Instruments, Dallas, Texas (2) Freescale Semiconductor, Austin, Texas, and (3) Qualcomm Corporation, San Diego, California. She graduated on December 2010 and has since joined LSI Corporation in Milpitas, California, as a Test Methodology Engineer.


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Community Innovation and Leadership Nadia Glucksberg, Hydrogeologist Haley & Aldrich Currently the Vice President of Operations and CTO at Imaging Solutions, Wynne Cerone provides leadership and direction to a staff that is responsible for pre and post sales support in addition to the management, development, and implementation of ECM, data capture and workflow systems. She has managed enterprise-wide projects that involved the coordination, integration and implementation of products and systems from multiple vendors. Wynne began her career in the imaging industry when she joined DataImage, Inc. in 1987, later moving to the Plexus Software Division of Recognition International and then joining Imaging Solutions in 1994. Wynne is very knowledgeable in many of the imaging, workflow, OCR, ICR, full text retrieval, and document management software products in the market. She is certified in Kofax Capture and AnyDoc Software products.


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Community Innovation and Leadership Sharon Killian, Accounting Associate Pratt & Whitney

Sharon Killian holds an Accounting Analyst position at Pratt & Whitney. She is also a devoted humanitarian. She leads by example in helping the homeless. Sharon worked with the United Way to promote a skills empowerment program for homeless veterans and supported legislation for state funding. She remains in contact with area shelters and has led countless donation drives. She is a Steering Committee member of the Operation Santa program. She was recognized as "Volunteer of the Year" by CRT and by Pratt & Whitney senior management for her volunteering efforts.

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Community Innovation and Leadership Elizabeth Peterson, Nuclear Engineer

Dominion/Millstone Power Station Elizabeth Petersen is a nuclear Engineer at Dominion/Millstone Power Station For several decades, she has been turning ideas into reality in manufacturing, construction, operations, and sales. Outside of work, she enjoys coaching high school and middle school FIRST robotics teams, teaching engineering K-12 workshops, and mentoring college students. Elizabeth earned dual B.S. Degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Connecticut and an M.B.A. from the University of New Haven.


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Community Innovation and Leadership Theresa Riggs, Senior Engineering Analyst Pratt & Whitney

Thersa Riggs is a Sr. Analyst, Engineering at Pratt and Whitney. Terrie’s real passion is people. She mentored a local student from grade 3 through high school graduation, volunteers at the Hole in the Wall Camp, founded the Connecticut Chapter of Women in Aviation, raises funds for the Chapter’s scholarship, the United Way Campaign and FIRST Robotics Team #3182. She is a proud mentor for Athena’s Warriors, the first all girl robotics team to win the “Rookie Inspiration Award”.

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Community Innovation and Leadership Madeline Sola, Structural Engineer Pratt and Whitney

Madeline Sola joined Pratt & Whitney in 2004 as a Structural Engineer, a position she holds today in the Fatigue & Fracture Mechanics Group. She is currently working on unified fatigue life models as part of the Advanced Rotor Life System for the Next Generation Product Family. Madeline has been an active member of the Birds of Prey FIRST Robotics Team in Hartford since 2004, serving as co-lead and engineering mentor.


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Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership Phoebe Browning, COO YourNurseIsOn.com

Phoebe Browning is the COO of an award winning technology company whose bi-directional communications platform, YourNurseIsOn.Com, is utilized in health care organizations around the world. Phoebe was a very early technology adopter, programming her first Tandy computer in the early 1980’s. Still a technology enthusiast, Phoebe mentors women in business and girls in science/technology/math. She currently resides in New Haven on an organic, urban farm with her family.

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Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership Award Jill Lawrence, Principal J Lawrence LLC Jill Lawrence is founder and principal of a consulting practice with the mission to help companies use participation (from employees, customers, and suppliers) to spark innovation and accelerate decisions and results. Previously, Jill was the Director of Accelerated Innovation at Pitney Bowes, where she led a CEO-sponsored global innovation program to source ideas from employees and driving collaboration across business units. She has 10 years of experience working with multidisciplinary teams in design and innovation. She studied anthropology at Smith College and New York University and her work as an anthropologist has been covered in USA TODAY. Most recently, she was featured in Diversity Journal’s Women Worth Watching in 2011.


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Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership Lakshmi Nair, Senior Founding Scientist Soft Tissue Regeneration, Inc.

Lakshmi Nair is a Scientist in the field of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering at Soft Tissue Regeneration, Inc. She is recognized nationally and internationally for her contributions in Biomaterials for musculoskeletal tissue regeneration. She is also one of the senior, founding scientists of her New Haven based company which is developing breakthrough technologies for soft tissue regeneration of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee and an augmentation device for rotator cuff injuries.


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Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership Leonora Valvo, CEO and Founder etouches

Leonora Valvo, a lifelong entrepreneur, is the CEO and Founder of etouches, a software company which provides online event management. If she's not skydiving at 30,000 feet or learning to sail, she's probably creating a new company. She has launched four successful ones in the travel industry, the most recent being etouches. The Financial Times named Leonora as one of the industry's "Women at the Top," and Trade Show News Network named etouches the “Top Event Technology Innovator” for 2010.


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Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership Nancy Westcott, President GoatThroat Pumps

Nancy Westcott is President of GoatThroat Pumps, a company committed to bringing environmentally preferable solutions for handling chemical products to the industrial, manufacturing and landscape marketplaces. Nancy’s industrial pump company is a successful sales and product development company for her unique pumps whose operation makes it safe for handling the transfer and dispensing of more than 950 liquids ranging from beer and wine to hazardous pesticides and aggressive industrial chemicals. A B.S. graduate of Tufts University with an M.Ed. from Columbia University's Teachers College, she is a lifetime member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and created and launched the Institute’s Sustainability Youth Council in 2005.


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Large Business Innovation and Leadership Theresa Christy, fellow Otis Elevator Co.

Theresa Christy is a highly-respected expert and Fellow at Otis Elevator Company. During her 25 year career at Otis, she has used her technical and leadership skills to help design vertical transportation configurations for some of the most outstanding structures and landmark buildings worldwide. Theresa frequently travels to high-profile building sites around the world to develop and explain customized elevator solutions for building owners and managers. Her enthusiasm and innovative approach in her work has earned her numerous awards, and she is a named inventor on 14 patents. Theresa earned a BA in Mathematics from Wellesley College, an MBA from Babson College and an MS in Mathematics from Central Connecticut State University.


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Large BusinessInnovation and Leadership Teresa Cowles, AMS Project Lead, Airbus A380 Air Generation Hamilton Sundstrand

Terry Cowles is a project lead on the Airbus A380 Air Generation at Hamilton Sundstrand. She currently is responsible for the development and implementation of requirements for aircraft thermal management systems. She has 28 years of experience in systems engineering, from project management, validation and verification, and requirements engineering management. She has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Connecticut. She has two children and enjoys cooking, outdoor activities and home improvement projects.


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Large Business Innovation and Leadership Jennifer Diederich, senior design Engineer Covidien Jennifer Diederich is a Senior Biomedical/Design Engineer for Covidien Surgical Devices in North Haven. She is developing methods for the demonstration of EBM (Evidence Based Medicine) with endoscopic stapling devices. Prior to joining Covidien, Jennifer designed minimally invasive spinal implants and currently holds three patents and 11 patents pending. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.


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Large Business Innovation and Leadership Beverly Elliott, Director, Project Management Comcast’s Western New England Region

Beverly Elliott serves as Director of Project Management for Comcast’s Western New England Region. In this role, she oversees the deployment of technology that strengthens Comcast’s competitive edge in the marketplace and establishes the provider as an industry leader and innovator. Some of these complex intitiatives include the company’s Digital Network Enhancement to maximize Comcast’s network and on-screen program guide upgrades. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and lives in Norwalk with her husband and their two children.


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Large Business Innovation and Leadership Dorothy Goettler, Engineering Specialist Electric Boat Corporation Dorothy Goettler, an Engineering Specialist at Electric Boat, is currently leading a team developing electric actuators that meet the stringent technical requirements for use on U.S. Navy submarines. This is a new application for the technology, and requires innovation in a traditional environment. Dorothy has worked on the design and lifecycle support of mechanical submarine systems at Electric Boat for 14 years Outside her job, Dorothy is presently Board of Trustees President for the Montessori Discovery School.


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Large Business Innovation and Leadership Laura Holmes, General Manager, Customer Training Center Pratt & Whitney

Laura has worked for Pratt & Whitney (UTC) since 1999, holding positions of increasing responsibility in multiple areas, including sales, customer service, business operations, and learning & development. She holds both a B.S. in Business Administration and an MBA from the University of Vermont, and has a master’s level certification in mediation. She enjoys her 3 children, Jesse, Faith and Brooke, and a wide variety of hobbies and community service activities.


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Large Business Innovation and Leadership Agnes Klucha, Program Manager, Eng Innov Center Pratt & Whitney

Agnes Klucha is a Program Manager, Engineering Innovation, at Pratt & Whitney. There she formed a group to bring new innovations to life through prototyping, design and validation using an integrated approach. In her 16 years at Pratt & Whitney, Agnes has held various roles including Flight Test Engineer, Test Planning Manager, and leadership of Tiger Teams to resolve top technical issues. Agnes received her B.S. in Engineering Science – Aerospace Engineering from the University of Toronto and a MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is a member of WAI, AOPA, a tutor at Power to Read and a mentor to Athena's Warriors.


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Large Business Innovation and Leadership Jeanne Larsen, Senior Fellow, Discipline Lead Hamilton Sundstrand

As a Senior Fellow, Discipline Lead, at Hamilton Sundstrand, Jeanne Larsen leads a diverse group of software controls engineers developing critical software and associated processes for the world’s largest and most complex aircraft including the Boeing 787 and Airbus A380. She has over 25 years experience in aviation software. She leads multiple Software Engineering Process Groups providing technical leadership and direction for the entire Hamilton Sundstrand software community. Jeanne is also an active member of the international safety committee that writes the regulations for the aerospace software community.


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Large Business Innovation and Leadership Mary Lombardo, Director Engineering Carrier Corporation Mary Lombardo is an executive with over twenty-four years of UTC experience. She is currently the Director, Engineering, Materials Technology, in the newly established Technology and and Components unit at Carrier Corporation. In this role, Mary will be responsible for assuring that Carrier achieves and expands a position of leadership in the development and implementation of Materials Technology, including metallurgy, coatings, tribology, corrosion resistant materials, plastics, refrigerants and manufacturing process technology, thus ensuring product differentiation in performance, compactness and cost. Prior to this appointment, Mary was Director, Supply Chain Management where she was responsible for leading the commodity management teams at Carrier and had responsibility for over $4Billion in spending in global product and non-product categories.


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Large Business Innovation and Leadership

Elizabeth Maerz, Vice President, Strategy and Execution The Travelers Companies, Inc.

As Vice President of the Strategy & Execution Office for Personal Insurance, Beth Maerz works with the Personal Insurance (PI) Leadership Team to define business strategy, prioritize initiatives, and align investments to the PI strategic roadmap. Previously, Beth was Vice President of Country Wide Products and Services, where she helped lead the ongoing development of Travelers’ Home and Auto product lines. Prior to joining Travelers in 2005, Beth held leadership positions with a variety of marketing and management consulting firms, helping senior executives of leading financial services firms prioritize their strategic business objectives, identify critical enabling capabilities and create implementation plans. Beth holds a Masters degree in Business Administration and Economics from Boston University.


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Large Business Innovation and Leadership Irina Moore, Senior Vice President, Risk Analytics and Regulations GE Capital Aviation Services

Irina Moore is a Senior Vice President Risk Analytics at GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS). In this role Irina is responsible for the overall strategy, direction and execution of all risk analytics for credit and market risk. In her prior role, Irina received the GE Edison Award for developing and implementing a proprietary Risk Assessment and Decisioning model for GE’s consumer financing business. The model was implemented in GE’s business units in 50+ countries.


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Large Business Innovation and Leadership Janice Nykyforchyn, Principal Engineer Electric Boat Corporation Janice Nykyforchyn is a principal engineer in the Propulsion Plant Structures, Shielding and Arrangements Department, at Electric Boat in Groton. She earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1983 prior to coming to EB and a M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of New Haven in 1987 while at EB. Janice has a 27 year career with EB in nuclear engineering design and construction support. She has worked in structural, fluids and acoustics, including testing, analysis and supervision. She is currently performing the function of technical lead in propulsion plant structures, shielding, and arrangements for the U.S. Navy fleet of nuclear submarine and land based prototypes undergoing refueling and modernization overhauls.


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Large Business Innovation and Leadership Deborah Orosz, AMS Manager, Operating Effectiveness Hamilton Sundstrand

Deb Orosz is an Operating Effectiveness Manager at Hamilton Sundstrand and has over 12 years experience in aerospace manufacturing. In her current role, Deb leads strategies to implement lean processes to optimize the company’s ability to meet customer and company commitments. As the company's global Green Products program leader, she focused on compliance with product chemical restrictions and reducing the environmental impact of Hamilton Sundstrand products. She holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Connecticut, and a M.S. in Management of Technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


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Large Business Innovation and Leadership Tara Picard, Senior Project Manager Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation

Tara Picard is a Senior Project Manager at Sikorsky Aircraft. As an aerospace professional she has more than 15 years of experience in a variety of technical and management positions at the Boeing Company, Pratt and Whitney, and Sikorsky Aircraft. She currently leads the Sikorsky Maritime Helicopter Program (MHP), leading her team through the design, development, and delivery of the first aircraft to the Canadian Government. The MHP aircraft will be one of the most advanced maritime surveillance, search and rescue helicopters in the world. In this effort Tara is responsible for over one billion dollars in the management of cost, schedule, design, procurement, lab and flight test of all avionics, electrical systems, flight controls and mission systems. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautical Engineering from Clarkson University, a Master of Science degree in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Juris Doctorate from Quinnipiac University School of Law.


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Large Business Innovation and Leadership Danyel Racenet, Manager of R&D Covidien

Danyel Racenet is a manager of R&D at Covidien Surgical Devices. With over 10 years experience, Danyel is responsible for developing a customer centric product development process. She is charged with delivering impactful insights and strategic guidance to identify innovative surgical solutions to: improve patient outcomes; address unmet clinical needs; and drive efficiencies within the site of care. She has contributed on all levels of engineering, from fundamental research efforts to technology development as well as commercial product development. She holds numerous patents in medical device technology and is a certified Design for Six Sigma Black Belt. She holds a B.S. in Engineering and Math from Hofstra University and an M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Connecticut. She enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with her family.


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Research Innovation and Leadership Tahany El-Wardany, Principal Engineer United Technologies Research Center Tahany El-Wardany joined United Technologies Research Center in 1997 where she is currently a Principal Scientist in the Physical Sciences Department. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham (England). Dr. El-Wardany has nearly 100 publications and 12 patents, and is highly regarded among academic peers nationally and internationally for her work in manufacturing sciences and tribology — or the science of friction, lubrication, and wear.


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Research Innovation and Leadership Rajeswari Kasi , Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Polymer Programs University of Connecticut

Rajeswari Kasi is an Assistant Professor of Polymer and Material Chemistry at the University of Connecticut. A native of India, Kasi received her undergraduate degrees in Chemistry from University of Madras and Indian Institute of Technology. She received her graduate degree in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and was subsequently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota. She has been on the faculty at the University of Connecticut since 2006.


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Research Innovation and Leadership Andrea Marra, Associate Director Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Andrea Marra is an Associate Director at Rib-X Pharmaceuticals where she is a leader in the development of novel drugs to combat serious bacterial infections. Andrea’s career includes postdoctoral fellowships at MIT and Tufts University and working at small and large pharmaceutical companies, establishing infection models to evaluate new anti-bacterials. She received her B.S.in Biology from MIT and Ph.D. in Microbiology from Columbia University, where she became interested in how bacteria interact with human hosts to cause infection.


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Research Innovation and Leadership Susanne Opalka, Principal Engineer United Technologies Research Center Dr. Opalka has been a Principal Scientist in Physical Sciences at the United Technologies Research Center since 2001. She holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry and a M.S. in Materials Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). She is an internationally recognized expert in the application of first-principles atomistic and thermodynamic design methods for guiding the development of novel catalysts, active materials, and coatings for alternative energy applications. She has 31 publications and 12 patents.


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Research Innovation and Leadership Lisa Pfefferle, Professor of Engineering Yale University Lisa Pfefferle is an engineering professor at Yale University. Her research is focused on chemical reaction engineering to direct the structure of nanomaterials. She has contricuted to the fundamental understanding of combustion chemistry and sooting. Recent work has developed controlled property carbon single walled nanotubes (SWNT), the first boron SWNT, and other inorganic nanotubes, including means for assembling them into devices for medical, solar cell and superconductivity applications. Lisa collaborates widely, leads a team ranging from research associates to high school students, has 150 peer-reviewed papers that are highly cited, and holds four U.S. patents. Lisa has a 13-year old daughter, Gillian.


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Small Business Innovation and Leadership Laura Dietz, Vice President Sonalysts, Inc. Laura Dietz is a Vice President at Sonalysts, Inc who works with training technology. Her extensive experience has been applied to Air Force, Navy, and Army training domains. Most recently, Laura and her team were responsible for delivery of one of the most advanced PC-based instructional simulations ever built for the Air Force. In the fall of 2010, the production Stnadard Space Trainer (SST) was installed on schedule in a 28-seat configuration at Shriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs to support the 50th Operational Space Squadron. Shortly thereafter, the production SST passed a rigorous Air Force simulation certification and is currently being used for basic and advanced satellite controller training at both Vandenberg and Shriever, respectively. Ms. Dietz is also the mother of two boys, and enjoys hiking, running, and horseback riding.


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Small Business Innovation and Leadership Billie Jo Mitchell, Director, Manufacturing RSL Fiber Systems, LLC Billie Jo Mitchell is the Director of Manufacturing for RSL Fiber Systems, LLC. In this role, she is responsible for successful, on-time delivery of all advanced fiber optic lighting systems for U.S. Naval ships, including inventory control, supplier management, scheduling, manufacturing, technical support, and field support. She also played a key role in obtaining ISO 9001 certification that was required for a multi-million dollar U.S. Navy program. Billie Jo has been with RSL Fiber Systems since it was founded in 2001. As part of the senior management team, Billie Jo participates directly in the company’s strategic planning.


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Small Business Innovation and Leadership Pauline Murphy, Managing Director, Investments Connecticut Innovations Pauline Murphy is a Managing Director, Investments, at Conneciticut Innovations (CI). In that role, she is responsible for investing in and advising emerging Connecticut high-tech companies. She also manages Connecticut Innovations’ investment associates and investment team support staff. Pauline has led CI’s investments in Environmental Energy Services, etouches, FMP Products, New Ortho Polymers, Premise Corporation, XLerant and Zadspace. Additionally, she serves on the boards of eight CI portfolio companies. Prior to joining CI, Pauline was controller of an early-stage software development company. She launched her career at Ernst & Young in the entrepreneurial services group. Pauline holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Connecticut and is a registered certified public accountant in the State of Connecticut.


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Small Business Innovation and Leadership Jessica Rowen, President Mitchell-Vance Laboratories Jessica Rowen is Founder and President of Mitchell-Vance Laboratories LLC. The company specializes in the research and development of products for the treatment and prevention of scars. In 2002, Rowen founded Advanced Health and Nutrition, a web-based business offering natural health products and nutritional supplements. She established Mitchell-Vance Laboratories in 2007, and soon introduced ScarAway® Silicone Scar Sheets with Silon® technology. Today, her company markets numerous scar treatment products and has become a leader in scar treatment in the over-the-counter retail marketplace. Jessica attended Albertus Magnus College where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in Business Management and Marketing in 1997. Rowen is a member of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and the Guilford Chamber of Commerce. She and her husband reside in Guilford and are the proud parents of five children, ages 19, 18, 17, 16, and 10.


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Small Business Innovation and Leadership Carla Tillery, Associate and Team Leader – Northeast Traffic Fitzgerald & Halliday, Inc. Carla Tillery is a Principal Planner/Engineer at Fitzgerald and Halliday, Inc, a full-discipline transportation and environmental planning and analysis firm. She has 18 years of experience in the transportation industry, both in consulting and government service. She serves as the Managing Director of Operations and also leads the Transportation Planning Team at her company. Carla’s expertise is focused in the area of transportation planning, traffic engineering, transit and rail studies, and environmental analysis. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Hartford.


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Youth Innovation and Leadership Dominika Bajguz, High School Student Sacred Heart Academy Dominika Bajguz is a senior at Vinal Tech High School who has a passion for biolgy and research. This past summer Dominika Bajguz worked as an intern researcher at the Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine, an interdepartmental research institute affiliated with the Yale University School of Medicine. Over the course of six weeks Dominika completed research that will be featured in internationally renowned scientific journals by the principal investigator for whom she worked. Dominika’s research focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of eukaryotic cells in order to better comprehend the nature of certain genetic disorders in the future. Dominika has been a high honors student since her freshman year, while also a varsity athlete (and captain) of the track and cross country teams.


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Youth Innovation and Leadership Emily Briere, High School Student E.O. Smith High School Emily Briere is a senior at E.O. Smith High School. She is passionate about changing the way we relate to one another. Applying experience from international relations with foreign exchange students and Model UN, her participation on sports teams and school clubs, she started three businesses of her own. One company explores how a community can best communicate for maximum efficiency, advancement, and learning. With her twin brother, she designed a Private Facebook for K-12 schools, MoxMe.com, where parents, teachers, coaches, students, faculty and staff can use Facebook to communicate without having to "friend" each other. She has created the architecture for a new online school academic competition network — allowing worldwide matchups. And she produces her own cut-out animation videos for corporations to fund her work.


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Youth Innovation and Leadership Jennifer Dalecki, High School Student Amity Regional HS Jennifer Dalecki is a senior at Amity Regional High School. Throughout the past few years she has conducted independent research in the behavioral sciences and most recently has pursued her interest in clinical psychiatry with Dr. Richard Kaplan of the UCONN Health Center. With college in the near future, Jennifer plans to further explore these interests and possibly major in psychology or neuroscience. Aside from research, Jennifer is editor-in-chief of her high school newspaper, president of the Student Government, and co-president of her school’s Model UN.


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Youth Innovation and Leadership Pauline Dutka, High School Student Amity Regional HS Pauline Dutka is a high school senior at Amity Regional High School who has enjoyed studying various sciences at school. She also enjoys conducting scientific research, particularly oncology research, which she conducted this past summer at Yale and plans on continuing to do so in the future. Asides from the sciences, Pauline is very passionate about music. She mainly focuses on piano and enjoys spending her time by working at a music school, as well as volunteering to entertain others with music.


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Youth Innovation and Leadership Emily Feng, High School Student Amity Regional HS Emily Feng is a senior at Amity High School. There, she enjoys being co-captain of the debate team and has won numerous varsity awards. She spends much of her time working with her school's chapter of STAND, an anti-genocide group, as an editor for her school newspaper, or playing percussion in the school's marching band. While Emily's interest in the behavioral sciences has led her to complete three years of research in that study area, she has pursued her interest in neuroscience this year. In her spare time, Emily enjoys playing the piano, running, and reading, though one can usually find her either arguing with someone, eating, or watching Gilmore Girls.


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Youth Innovation and Leadership Marina Kaneko, High School Student Greenwich High School Marina Kaneko is a high school senior at Greenwich High School. In addition to her interests in science research, Marina is vice-president of the Model UN club, an active volunteer at the Bruce Museum, and an avid sewing enthusiast. Marina was named a semi-finalist in the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search for her independent research, Spectroscopic Modeling of Ergothioneine as a Dermal Protectant. Marina is co-captain of the women’s team at Greenwich Crew and has raced at the 2010 U.S. Rowing Youth National Championships. As an undergraduate student, she plans to continue rowing and pursue a course of study in the biological sciences and public policy.


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Youth Innovation and Leadership Amanda Kelly, High School Student Sacred Heart Academy A senior and high honors student at Sacred Heart Academy, Amanda Kelly is President of the Key Club, co-founder of the Mathematics Honor Society, editor of the school newspaper, and member of the French, Latin, and National Honor Societies. She is a 15-year student and student-teacher at Kicks Dance Studio, and loves playing the piano, reading, and running. She spent this past summer interning at the Yale School of Medicine studing the effect of E. Coli on the female genital tract". This independent project, under the supervision of the principal investigator, assessed the damage caused by bacterial infection.


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Youth Innovation and Leadership Joan Kim, High School Student Amity Regional HS

Joan Kim is a high school senior at Amity Regional High School. She has been in the "Authentic Science Research Program" throughout her high school career and has developed a great passion for research. Joan’s prior research had studied the relationship between social network usage and Alzheimer’s disease, bringing her recognition as a Young Epidemiology Scholars National Finalist. She is currently studying the effect of e-readers on teenagers. Joan loves to sing, do taekwondo, watch Korean television and explore whichever curiosities arise.


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Youth Innovation and Leadership Jenny Liu, High School Student Amity Regional HS Jiaqi (Jenny) Liu, a senior at Amity High School, is currently studying human-robot interaction at the Yale University Social Robotics Lab. Recently, she was selected as one of 40 Finalists of the Intel Science Talent Search and will travel to Washington D.C. in March to represent Connecticut. An award-winning violinist, she has performed at Carnegie Hall. In her free time, Jenny likes to read, play with her dog, and sleep!


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Youth Innovation and Leadership Katherine Schultz, High School Student Greenwich Academy Katherine Schultz is a senior at Greenwich Academy with a particular interest in science and math. During the summers of ’07, ’08, and ’09, she attended programs at Cambridge, Amherst, and Oxford where she studied “Science in the News”, Medical Science, and Molecular Genetics. This past summer, she interned at Cornell Medical Center’s Stem Cell Research Lab. She was also selected for the National Youth Leadership Forum for Medicine. Katherine is perhaps best known for her leadership in environmentally responsible driving. She co-conceived, co-wrote and starred in a video entitled: “From Teen Driver to Green Driver.” This won a Presidential Environmental Youth Award from President Obama, and was featured on NBC Connecticut’s “Green is Universal” series. Today understanding environmentally responsible driving is part of the State of Connecticut’s driver’s license requirement.


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Youth Innovation and Leadership Guste Urbonaite, High School Student Newington High School Guste Urbonaite is a senior at Newington High School and at the Greater Hartford Academy of Math and Science. She maintains a 4.29 G.P.A. Guste has completed research in the area of “Phagehunting” where she discovered a new strain of bacteriophage. Her other research projects include work on a new evolutionary theory for male androphilia and collaboration with peers on a paper to be published in the scientific journal Perspectives. Gusta plans to study biochemistry at Cornell University.


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Youth Innovation and Leadership Rachel Winsor, High School Student Stamford High School Rachel Winsor, a senior at Stamford High School, is a co-founder of Stamford Robotics, an organization that sparks and develops the excitement in science and engineering in her community. The former programming captain of a two-time championship FIRST LEGO League team, Rachel has worked since 2007 to inspire Stamford's youth to pursue interests in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) and just recently helped organize Stamford's fourth annual Jr. FLL Expo. One of four sisters, Rachel has always had a passion to improve female participation in STEM activities, and has worked with the Girls Scouts of Connecticut to provide such opportunities to young girls. Rachel also enjoys playing on her high school and field hockey and lacrosse teams, and participating in Mock Trial, Junior Achievement, and the National Honors Society at her school. In the future, Rachel hopes to become an Emergency Room physician and eventually volunteer as a Doctor Without Borders.


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