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UNH Women’s Leadership Conference on April 1 Focuses on STEM

Release Date:
3/1/2016 12:00 AM

March 1, 2016

Women's Leadership Conference

WEST HAVEN, CONN. --  While 7.6 million people in the United States work in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math), women hold only 24 percent of the jobs in those disciplines. Most of them also earn less than their male counterparts.

The challenges girls and women face in STEM fields, both in school and in the workplace, will be examined at a daylong conference titled “Building Our Future with STEM” that will take place at the University of New Haven on April 1. 

“So many women and girls who have great potential shy away from considering STEM careers,” said Lourdes Alvarez, dean of the UNH College of Arts and Sciences and chair of the conference. “There is so much we can teach each other and so much we can learn from the wonderful women we’ve invited to speak at this conference.”

The keynote speaker will be Jennifer Lawton, chief strategy officer at littleBits, which produces neon-hued components that snap together magnetically to form circuit boards to construct anything from a remote-control airplane to a talking robot.

Lawton is a serial entrepreneur who also served as interim CEO of MakerBot, a global leader in the 3D printing industry, where she was instrumental in driving the company's 600 percent growth in two years.   

Named to the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014, she also was the co-founder of Net Daemons Associates, an information technology consulting firm and the owner of the independent bookstores Just Books and Just Books, Too and the Arcadia Café in Old Greenwich, Conn.

The conference will also feature a panel on “Investing in Women” designed to align resources with inventors, visionaries and change agents. It will teach participants how investors are increasing their returns by focusing on companies with diversity at the leadership level and will provide them with strategies for getting funding for their own ideas.

The panel will include Paula Calabrese, who holds 10 patents and is founder and chief strategy officer for Accordant Energy, a fuel technology company that offers an innovative, renewable fuel; Emily Moore of GestVision, a Connecticut biotechnology startup that is commercializing a breakthrough diagnostic for preeclampsia; and Pauline Murphy of Connecticut Innovations.

Also speaking at the conference is Nora Poggi a French journalist who directed and produced the documentary film “She Started It” about women leaders in STEM.

Other speakers include:

-        Pooja Chandrashekar, a first-year student at Harvard concentrating in biomedical engineering and founder of ProjectCSGIRLS, a national youth-driven nonprofit working to close the tech gender gap by running a national computer science competition for middle school girls; and

-        Keisha Ashe, co-founder and CEO of ManyMentors, a mentoring nonprofit organization. Ashe is a Ph.D. candidate in chemical engineering at the University of Connecticut, and she is researching bone tissue engineering at the Institute for Regenerative Engineering.

The conference will also feature workshops on Agile Gym leadership, communication for women, being comfortable in your own shoes, negotiation and other topics.

More information about the conference and registration is available online at  Space is limited and registration is encouraged by March 15.

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 the university enrolls approximately 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates.