About the Event

The Summit will feature a combination of panel discussions and mini-keynote presentations by thought-leaders from across the network who will feature equitable, sustainable and scalable solutions to some of the most pressing STEM challenges facing our members, as well as meaningful partnerships that are driving progress toward a more diverse and robust STEM workforce.

 Summit Objectives
  • Learn from leading practitioners about trends around STEM education and workforce development
  • Build new connections to colleagues with similar interests and complementary capabilities
  • Contribute to a national conversation around the need for new collaborations to drive innovation in this space
We hope you will join us!

Please note the Summit is a no cost event for STEMconnector, MWM and STEMx members, but space is limited so register early!


Leading Organizations in Attendance




Panel Sessions



Event Speakers

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Dr. Merary Simeon
Vice President, Global Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, PepsiCo

Dr. Simeon is an 18-year PepsiCo veteran. Her diverse experiences have equipped her with a deep understanding of the needs and opportunities critical to leaders and associates alike at all levels. Her leadership experience spans the areas of Diversity, Equity Inclusion, Talent Management, Culture Change, and Executive Coaching. In her current role, she is responsible for developing programs and partnerships that drive continued progression toward PepsiCo's gender parity goal across the organization, including in STEM fields. As part of this focus, Dr. Simeon also supports elevating the impact of diverse talent, advancing PepsiCo's racial equality commitments, and ensuring overall that diversity, equity, and inclusion are embedded within the business.

Prior to this role, Dr. Simeon served PepsiCo in a range of human resource capacities, including leading the HR agenda for field sales, finance, supply chain, human resources, and the foods business in the Caribbean.

Dr. Simeon sits on the National Board of the Women's Foodservice Forum and Back on my Feet, an organization that combats homelessness through the power of running, community support, and essential employment and housing resources. She is also the co-founder of the What Rules Podcast, which highlights successful women who have overcome cultural adversity and mastered the art of resilience, all by breaking the rules.

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Erin R. Silva, MA
STEM Strategies Project Manager, University of California, Davis

Focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math, the STEM Strategies Group works across UC Davis colleges, schools, and departments to understand the big picture of STEM opportunities and outlook for the University. By leveraging resources, driving program development, and encouraging collaboration the Group is able to foster opportunities for prospective and current undergraduate and graduate students at UC Davis. Additionally the Group works regionally with partners to develop student pathway programs as well as increase the footprint of UC Davis as a premier STEM institution regionally and nationally through public partnerships.

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Sunji Jangha
Director of Pipeline Programs, UMBC

Sundiata “Sunji” Jangha (he/him/his) currently serves as the Director of Pipeline Programs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. This includes oversight of the Upward Bound Math and Science Center, the USM Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation, and the USM LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate Program. Sunji represents UMBC for the GEM Fellowship program and STEMconnector. He plays an active role in recruiting and supporting historically underrepresented graduate students in STEM fields through the Graduate School. Sunji is also an associate with Channel ZerO and Associates, an educational and motivational consulting firm. Sunji earned his B.S. degree with high honors from North Carolina A&T State University and M.S. degree from Georgia Tech both in mechanical engineering, and a M.P.P. from UMBC. Sunji has been recognized nationally for his continued commitment to empowering students to succeed. Sunji currently resides in Columbia, MD with his family.

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Dr. Cindy Ziker, Ph.D.
Head of Research, STEMconnector

Cindy Ziker, Ph.D., M.P.H., is the Head of Research for STEMconnector and a STEM Research Education Fellow at California State University at Monterey Bay. She earned her doctorate in educational psychology and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University, as well as a Master’s degree in Public Health Practice from the University of Arizona. Dr. Ziker is a co-principal investigator for a National Science Foundation INCLUDES project that focuses on increasing the representation of minorities in engineering. She specializes in mixed-methods research and evaluation projects that measure the impact of STEM initiatives.

Cindy Marten
United States Deputy Secretary of Education

Cynthia "Cindy" Marten was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Deputy Secretary on May 11, 2021. Before joining ED, Marten served as the superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District since 2013. She has spent 32 years as an educator, holding various roles of increasing responsibility as a teacher, literacy specialist, vice principal, and principal. She is the author of "Word Crafting: Teaching Spelling, Grades K-6," which places an emphasis on literacy as a key to students' success.

As superintendent, she directed implementation of the district's Vision 2020 commitment to a meaningful graduation for all students, with the district achieving the highest graduation rate among big-city districts in California and the fastest reading growth of large urban districts nationwide, in 2019.

In addition to her emphasis on academics, Marten has been a champion for health and wellness, putting in place an award-winning wellness policy for staff and students. Under her leadership, San Diego Unified received Gold Recognition in the American Heart Association's Workplace Health Achievement Index for efforts to support employee wellness, and multiple San Diego Unified schools received "America's Healthiest Schools" award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Prior to being appointed superintendent, for ten years Marten worked in one of San Diego's most ethnically diverse and economically challenged school communities, at Central Elementary School in City Heights. As a teacher, instructional leader, and later as principal, she established a commitment to educating the whole child through an emphasis on social and emotional learning and the arts, combined with academic rigor.


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Dr. Ronda Hamm
Global Academic Relations Leader; Corteva Agriscience

Dr. Ronda Hamm is passionate about providing enriching science and agriculture experiences for everyone. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Education at Fresno State University. She received her Master of Science and Doctorate degrees in Entomology at Cornell University. Currently, she is the Global Academic Relations Leader for Corteva Agriscience. In this role, she develops and implements strategies and relationships to promote people and innovations for the future of agriculture. Find out more about her past experiences at

Dr. Hamm was named an American Association for the Advancement of Science If/Then Ambassador. In 2019 she was recognized as an Indiana Woman of Achievement with Distinction in Science Education and was the 2016 recipient of the Distinguished Informal Educator Award from the National Science Teaching Association for her work in founding three successful STEM programs (two at Cornell University and one at Corteva Agriscience) that continue to grow.

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Stacy Zaja
 Lead Program Manager, Technology Community Outreach, Northwestern Mutual

Stacy Zaja is Lead Program Manager – Technology Community Outreach at Northwestern Mutual, joining the company in April 2020 to lead the company's K-12 Tech Outreach strategy and portfolio of programs. Her leadership of the company’s hi, Tech program focuses on developing meaningful experiences while layering in the importance of mentors and role models for students that are more underrepresented in tech careers, our girls and students of color. Stacy also supports the company’s Tech for Good initiative, Milwaukee Tech Ecosystem partnerships and leads programs and partnerships to grow the company’s tech presence in New York City.

Stacy brings nearly 15 years of experience developing and implementing STEM programs and partnerships across the Greater Milwaukee region and globally through leadership roles that she held at Rockwell Automation and Time Warner Cable. Through this work she has partnered with organizations including FIRST and the MIND Research Institute. Stacy serves on several STEM and Talent development committees in the Northwestern Mutual headquarters hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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James Moore
Assistant Director, National Science Foundation

As a member of the executive leadership team at the National Science Foundation (NSF), Dr. James L. Moore III is the Assistant Director for the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR). With an annual budget of over $1 Billion and personnel oversight for nearly 200 employees, he serves as the senior leader for EHR, which supports science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects focusing on K-12 education, undergraduate and graduate education, workforce and human resource development, and learning in formal and informal settings. Prior to his NSF appointment, Dr. Moore served, for over five years, as the university’s vice provost for diversity and inclusion, chief diversity officer, and leader of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (one of the nation’s oldest, largest, and most comprehensive office of its kind) at The Ohio State University. From 2015 to 2017, he served as a program director for Broadening Participation in Engineering in the Directorate for Engineering at NSF, and, during that time, he was one of the program directors who helped launch the highly acclaimed, cross-directorate, NSF INCLUDES, a $100 million plus national broadening participation in STEM initiative. From 2011 to 2015, he was an associate provost for diversity and inclusion at The Ohio State University, where he managed numerous nationally-acclaimed programs and units.

Dr. Ping Ge
Director, Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS), Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy

Dr. Ping Ge is the Director of Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS), under Office of Science at U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Dr. Ge’s background is in engineering design research and STEM education/training.

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Dr. Leroy D. Nunery II
President, Evolution Advisors LLC

Dr. Leroy D. Nunery II is the president of Evolution Advisors, LLC, focused on expanding opportunities for minority-owned insurance agencies and brokers. His career includes a unique breadth of experiences in corporate banking and capital markets, K-Adult education, professional sports, and a family-owned electrical contracting firm, Leroy Nunery & Sons, Inc.

Stewart Barber
Director of Government Affairs, Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA)

Stewart Barber is director of government affairs at SIA, where she works with Congress, the White House, and federal agencies to advance the industry’s policy priorities.

Before joining SIA, Barber served as senior vice president of government affairs at Corley Consulting, where she led congressional engagement on issues such as appropriations, trade, workforce, and supply chain. She also served as the executive director of the Task Force on American Innovation (TFAI), executing a comprehensive strategy to secure federal research funding and invest in innovation.

Barber previously worked as special assistant to the president and director of international initiatives and outreach for the Office of Economic Initiatives and Entrepreneurship (OEI) at the White House. She has also served in government roles as deputy assistant United States trade representative for intergovernmental and public engagement in the office of the United States Trade Representative and as legislative staff for U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).

Originally from Atlanta, Stewart received a B.A. in English and Government from Wofford College.

Jon Cardinal 
Director of Economic Development for United States Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer

Jon is Director of Economic Development for United States Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer. In this capacity, he works on the Senator’s legislative agenda on various economic and community development policy areas, including small business and entrepreneurship, workforce development, and innovation and industrial policy. Jon previously served in a similar role for more than a decade with United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. He began his career on Capitol Hill in 2007 working for former United States Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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Heather Sherman
Director, STEMx

Heather leads the national STEMx NetworkTM, managed by Battelle. Through STEMx, she seeks to lift the collective voice of STEM leaders across the country to advocate for STEM as a national priority while creating a professional learning community to close the nation’s gaps in access, talent, and skills.

Heather uses her insatiable curiosity and genuine love of people and problem solving to bring about solutions to important problems. When dealing with complex issues, she sees patterns and connections between people and ideas to find creative avenues to optimize results.

Heather has managed the Ohio STEM Learning Network for three years prior to taking on leadership of STEMx. She has extensive experience leading and managing programs like the OSLN annual statewide student Design Challenge program which reaches thousands of students each year. Other significant program management work includes: Manufacturing and Engineering Externship Program (MEEP), a teacher externship program; the Ohio Rural Educator Program designed to help rural teachers infuse agriculture-based PBL into their science classrooms, and a NASA Educator Professional Development program.

She has a BA in English from Roanoke College and an MBA from Franklin University. She also received two teaching excellence awards from Franklin University, her former place of employment.

Heather likes reading, hiking, and treasure hunting for antiques. She’s also convinced that she is going to be one of the last people on earth who uses the telephone for talking.

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Sheila Boyington
CEO, Thinking Media- Learning Blade, MWM National States Chair

Sheila C. Boyington serves as the National States Chair for Million Women Mentors® assisting in leading the states and national movement and other efforts focused on women in STEM. She also leads Thinking Media’s Learning Blade® adoptions which is a Battelle-validated platform increasing interest in STEM careers in schools across the country. Sheila has received many awards for her entrepreneurship and leadership including the Athena, SuperNova and Small Business of the Year. Sheila is a successful engineering entrepreneur exuding her passion, strong management and leadership skills. Those skills lead to high adoption of the Thinking Media tools. Thinking Media was also the creator of ACT’s KeyTrain® system for WorkKeys® (acquired by ACT in 2011), PictureRx® for health literacy, and CharacterEd.Net® for K-12 character education. Sheila is Professional Engineer, with an M.S. in Civil/Environmental Engineering from the UC at Berkeley and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Florida.

Umran Beba, Honorary Dr.
Co-Founder, Beba Foundation

Umran Beba is an experienced senior business executive with general management, talent, and diversity background. Close to 35 years of experience in Consumer Goods Industry where 25 years was with PepsiCo in four different locations namely Istanbul, Hong Kong, Dubai, and New York. Umran Beba is the co-Founder of the Beba Innovation and Entrepreneurship Foundation since 2018 and a partner at August Leadership, Executive Search and Leadership Advisory since June 2020.

She is an Independent Non-Executive Board Director in Bakkavor Group plc., co-Vice Chair in the board of International Youth Foundation and a trustee of Purchase College Foundation board. She is an Advisory Board member of Mercy College Business School and in the role of Board of Overseers for Columbia University School of Professional Studies. She has recently launched a book called Leaders with Purpose in Turkish (Deger Yaratan Liderler) with her co-author Arzu Cekirge Paksoy. She is a native of Turkiye and earned her MBA and Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Bogaziçi University in Istanbul. She has received honorary Doctor degree from Mercy College, NY in 2022. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut with her family.

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Martha Fernandez
Senior Director, Employer Resource Center,  Dallas College

Martha is a Dallas College alumna and first-generation college graduate from the University of North Texas (UNT). She graduated from UNT with a Bachelor of Science with an emphasis in bilingual education in Early Childhood to 6th grade. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Design and Innovation at SMU.

Martha has worked alongside students, parents, teachers, school leaders, industry leaders and elected officials to build relationships and coalitions that foster collaboration. She has created statewide advocacy programming while serving as Director of a statewide association and local career and workforce readiness programming while working for Dallas County Promise a Dallas College initiative.
She currently serves as the Sr. Director of the Employer Resource Center at Dallas College and works with industry and key stakeholders to advance economic opportunities for Dallas College students via work-based learning opportunities, career connections, and larger scale strategic county-wide initiatives.

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Margaret Resce Milkint
Managing Director and Practice Leader, Global Insurance, Diversified Search Group

Margaret is a talent strategist, DEI champion and an evangelist for talent innovation, transformation and excellence.

Margaret’s 35-year executive search career has focused on insurance and healthcare in the C-suite
(notably CEO, COO, CFO, Chief Actuary, CIO, CRO, Chief Medical Officers/Physician Executives) and in the boardroom on Director searches. She offers depth in the property and casualty, life, health, and reinsurance sectors, including insurtech. She has successfully conducted searches in disciplines such as actuarial, analytics, underwriting, claims, operations, risk, finance, investment, legal, technology, sales/distribution and marketing.

Margaret is Board Chair and Trustee for The Actuarial Foundation. She is a Board Member for the
Museum of Broadcast Communications and for the Executive Sisterhood, an organization promoting female leadership in businesses. Margaret is also a member of the advisory council of UpspiralLeadershipTM, a custom leadership and organizational development firm. Additionally, she serves as an Advisory Council Member for the Women’s Business Collaborative and holds membership in the Chicago Finance Exchange (CFE) and the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD).

Margaret is a champion for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the insurance industry and has been action-focused in her efforts. She served as the North America Co-Champion for Dive In, the global festival for DEI in insurance, growing the reach of the event since 2015. She co-founded the Women’s Insurance Networking Group, a platform for networking and career development among female and enlightened male insurance professionals. Margaret is the current U.S. Chair of ISC Group, a global business community for women operating in or involved with insurance. She chairs the Women in Insurance Initiative of Million Women Mentors/STEMconnector and is the recipient of their Champion of Industry Award. Margaret was honored to receive a 2020 President’s Award from the Society of Actuaries in recognition of her service to the actuarial community and for her advancement of DEI. Margaret was also named to the Elite Women 2022 list by Insurance Business America (IBA).

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Dr. Shawna Hudson
External Affair and Social Equity Program Manager, Intel

Dr. Shawna Hudson is an External Affairs and Social Equity Program Manager at Intel Corporation, the world’s largest semiconductor chip manufacturer company headquartered in Santa Clara, California. She focuses on external engagements and equitable advancements in under-resourced communities in hopes of enabling talent in the STEM industry and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Dr. Hudson has over 20 years of experience implementing and leading business strategies and designing effective human capital solutions. Prior, Dr. Hudson led a group of Test and Reliability systems and software engineering on the Global Position System, with a focus on the ground station and control interface at Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC). While at NGC, she also served as a Senior Organization Effectiveness Consultant, responsible for leadership and professional development strategy for over 25,000 employees in STEM. However, the proudest moment of her career was in service to her country while in the United States Air Force, as a senior enlisted leader, delivering global supply chain solutions, while simultaneously leading airmen and multi-million-dollar operations to drive the warfighter.


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Ted Wells
Vice President, External Engagement, STEMconnector

Ted Wells is the VP of External Engagement at STEMconnector – an organization committed to supporting industry engagement in STEM education and workforce development. In his role at STEMconnector, Ted manages a portfolio of projects relating to STEM K-12 education and workforce development. His clients include non-profit organizations, government entities, and corporations. As the son of an engineer and an educator, this field is not far from his roots. He began his career as a French and Spanish teacher and after attending graduate school in International Affairs at the Elliott School at The George Washington University focusing on International Economic Affairs and International Development, he helped found STEMconnector in 2011. Ted lives in the Park View neighborhood in Washington DC.

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Melissa Moritz
Director of Policy, STEM Next Opportunity Fund

Melissa Moritz serves as the Director of Policy for the STEM Next Opportunity Fund. In this capacity, she oversees the STEM Next Fellows Program and supports STEM Next’s policy and partnership efforts. Moritz served as the inaugural Afterschool and Summer Learning Fellow serving in the US Department of Education’s (ED) Institute of Educational Sciences (IES) where she supported the Department’s Out-of-School Time work with a particular focus on supporting successful implementation of the American Rescue Plan set asides that opened up more than $2.4B for afterschool and summer learning. Melissa served in the Obama-Biden Administration as the Deputy Director of STEM at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and supported STEM policy and programs that focused on STEM teaching and learning, from preschool to workforce. She served on numerous interagency working groups and co-chaired the P-12 STEM working group as part of the White House Committee on STEM Education (CoSTEM).

Melissa has also been instrumental in leading Strategic Initiatives for the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) and Teach for America. As a strong advocate for STEM opportunities for young people across the country, Melissa hopes to build strong partnerships and demystify policy for communities working with youth on the ground. Melissa began her career as a middle school science teacher in New York City after graduating from MIT. She resides in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two daughters.

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Bo Machayo
Director of U.S. Federal Government and Public Affairs, Micron Technology

Bo Machayo has extensive experience as a public policy and public engagement advisor with stakeholders and elected officials at the local, state, and federal government levels. He has worked on a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues - particularly relating to the economy, climate, and Africa. He has successfully passed legislation, formed coalitions, and accomplished organizational goals throughout his career, including as a political appointee at the White House during the Obama Administration.

He is currently the Director of Federal Government and Public Affairs for Micron Technology. He previously worked for U.S. Senator Mark Warner, Loudoun County government, the U.S. African Development Foundation, the Obama White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Bo graduated from Wake Forest University with degrees in Economics and International Affairs and a Master’s in Public Administration with Honors Distinction at George Mason University. Inspired by his background as a first-generation Ugandan-Kenyan-American, he has worked to serve his community through a nonprofit he co-founded: Global Inheritance.

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Dr. Steven Wurtz
Chief Academic Officer, Arlington Independent School District

Dr. Steven Wurtz has served Arlington ISD as the Chief Academic Officer since October 2014. Prior to his current appointment, he served as an Area Superintendent of Elementary Schools supervising 26 schools and providing executive coaching to principals to facilitate implementation of research-based instructional leadership practices. Dr. Wurtz has led in various leadership positions within Grand Prairie ISD and Irving ISD including both as principal and Division Director of Elementary Teaching & Learning.

As Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Wurtz he is responsible for developing and collaboratively actualizing the district’s learning framework designed to empower and engage all students through relevant, innovative and rigorous learning experiences. He facilitates the articulation of the district’s instructional and curricular direction, is responsible for the development and supervision of campus and academic service department leaders, and ensures the efficient implementation of academic systems aligned with the district’s adopted strategic plan.

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Kris Brown
Deputy Associate Administrator for STEM Engagement, NASA

Kris Brown serves as Deputy Associate Administrator for STEM Engagement, providing leadership of NASA’s efforts devoted to creating unique student learning opportunities and supporting educators and educational institutions.

Kris began her career over 30 years ago as an engineer at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, dedicating much of her career to work on flight programs and as a leader in engineering. As a result, she brings unique perspectives as a STEM practitioner to her position, coupled with a strong commitment and passion for inspiring and engaging young people to pursue STEM education and careers.
Immediately prior to her current role, Kris led an agency team to define a new vision and direction for NASA’s endeavors in education and public engagement, creating the roadmap for the agency’s future work in this realm. Previously, Kris served as a key member of the NASA Office of Communications’ leadership team, as the architect of a transformation effort toward more effectively engaging people around the globe in NASA’s mission and work.
Previously, Kris served as Special Assistant for Strategy and Development at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, leading a diverse set of initiatives. Earlier throughout her career in engineering, Kris led efforts devoted to advancing the state-of-the-art in practice and capabilities. She served in organizational and project leadership positions in systems engineering and mechanical systems.
Kris has been awarded NASA’s Medal for Outstanding Leadership and Medal for Exceptional Service.

Kris earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Virginia Tech. Having grown up in a small, rural town in Pennsylvania and as the first person in her family to attend college, Kris learned firsthand, the power of education and its potential in launching people on paths toward fulfilled lives. She is thrilled in her role to lead NASA’s contributions in helping to shape the paths of our nation’s students and enabling them to discover and forge STEM pathways.

Dr. Mike Heithaus
Dean of the College of Arts, Sciences & Education, Florida International University

Dr. Mike Heithaus is dean of the College of Arts, Sciences & Education (CASE) and Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida International University (FIU). A marine ecologist specializing in predator-prey interactions and the ecological importance of sharks and other large marine species, Heithaus is the principal investigator and co-principal investigator on grants totaling $28 million. His research leverages a number of cutting-edge technologies, including drones and animal-borne cameras, to unravel the mysterious lives of hard-to-study marine creatures. His work in Shark Bay Australia is the most detailed study of the ecological role of sharks in the world. Working with several prominent non-governmental organizations, it has been used as the underpinning for affecting positive policy changes.

Prior to joining FIU, Heithaus was a scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory's Center for Shark Research. He also worked with National Geographic's Remote Imaging Department where he conducted studies using their "Crittercam." Heithaus has been involved in the production of more than a dozen natural history documentaries, including two featured on Shark Week, and has hosted a National Geographic Channel television series. He has dedicated his career to bringing the excitement of scientific exploration and discovery to audiences of all ages. He received a B.A. in Biology from Oberlin College in 1995 and completed his Ph.D. at Simon Fraser University in 2001.

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Dr. Olga Bolden-Tiller
Dean, College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences, Tuskegee University

Dr. Olga Bolden-Tiller, assumed the deanship of the College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences (CAENS) and 1890 Research Director, effective January 1, 2022.

Bolden-Tiller is a graduate of Fort Valley State University. She has a Ph.D. in Animal Sciences from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has done post-graduate work in Academic Leadership at the University of Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Prior to her employment at Tuskegee University in 2006, she served as a Visiting Scientist at the University of Texas - MD Anderson Cancer Center, an adjunct faculty member in the Houston Community College System, and as support faculty and Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Texas -MD Anderson Cancer Center.

At Tuskegee, she worked herself up through the ranks from assistant professor to full professor and finally head of the department, having received numerous awards, including the TU Outstanding Faculty Performance Awards for Teaching and Outreach as well as TU’s Faculty Achievement Award, the highest honor given to faculty at the institution. She is a successful grant writer and has acquired extramural funding for grants ranging from $52,000 to $20 million, supporting the training of numerous high school students and over 50 undergraduate and graduate students which has resulted in numerous publications.

She holds memberships and leadership roles in several professional associations including the National Society for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences for which she currently serves as the President.

She was recently appointed to serve on the board for Together We Grow and the Farm Journal Foundation as well as a member of the Blue-Ribbon Panel for Enhancing Coordination Between Land-Grant Universities and Colleges organized by the National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine on behalf of the USDA.

Justin C. Sanchez, PhD
Technical Fellow, Battelle Memorial Institute

Justin C. Sanchez, PhD is a Battelle Technical Fellow. As a noted expert in biotechnology, he creates strategic vision to guide Battelle’s biotechnology business. Serving on the leadership team, Dr. Sanchez leads the organization’s technical investment strategies and initiates and drives collaboration across Battelle, as well as with government, industry, and academia partners.

Prior to joining Battelle, Dr. Sanchez was the Director of the Biological Technologies Office (BTO) at DARPA. He advanced the mission of BTO through strategy development focused on vital breakthrough technologies and capabilities for national security, particularly in the areas of neurotechnology, gene editing/synthetic biology, and infectious disease. Major accomplishments include developing foundational human neurotechnology for the United States BRAIN Initiative, delivering the world’s most advanced prosthetic arm to military Veterans, accelerating gene editing techniques for national security/human health, and forming partnerships to deliver countermeasures in the African Ebola crisis. He was responsible for starting 31 new DARPA programs and investing more than $1.65 billion at national labs, industry, and academic institutions.

Prior to joining DARPA, he was an associate professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience at the University of Miami. He directed the Neuroprosthetics Research Group where he oversaw development of neural-interface medical treatments. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, holds seven patents and authored two books on the design of neurotechnology.

Dr. Sanchez holds a Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Engineering degrees in Biomedical Engineering, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Science, all from the University of Florida.

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Keisha Chandler
Director, Partner Success, ASCD

Keisha Chandler is a certified teacher and administrator who began her career in the mid- 1990s when she received her Bachelor of Science in Education from Temple University. Keisha has taught in urban school districts throughout the United States primarily in areas that served students with the greatest needs.

In 2007, Keisha entered the education consultant world working for several companies while earning her Master of Science in Training & Organizational Development. Eventually, Keisha started her own PreK-12 educational consulting firm, Strategies 2 Success, Inc. In 2020, Keisha joined ASCD where she utilizes her 20+ years of education and professional development expertise daily. Keisha is also employed as an adjunct professor at Trinity Washington University in their Graduate School of Education and anticipates completing her doctoral degree at Northeastern University in 2023.

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Jeanne Gogolski

Educator turned entrepreneur, Jeanne Gogolski, is on a mission to connect the agriculture industry to the classroom by creating exceptional learning experiences for teachers, as well as making high-quality agriculture curriculum and career opportunities readily available to middle school and high school students.

As CEO of [], she is responsible for the partnerships and programming that make several state and national initiatives happen in agricultural science education.

Wes Hall
Vice President of Philanthropy and Education, Battelle

Wes Hall, Vice President of Philanthropy and Education, drives the strategy and vision for Battelle’s efforts to expand STEM learning opportunities nationally to build the workforce of tomorrow. These efforts include investing in STEM learning through corporate philanthropy, expanding collective impact strategies through the state and national networks managed by Battelle Education, and replicating quality school models through the Metro Schools partnership. Wes’ leadership has enabled Battelle to impact over 1 million students in STEM education annually in communities across the US.

Wes previously served as the executive director of STEMx, working to convene and elevate state perspectives in federal STEM policy, and as the director of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network. In Tennessee, he led a highly successful partnership between Battelle Education and the Tennessee Department of Education designed to amplify quality STEM learning opportunities for students across the state.


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Catherine Lamson
Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, MEMIC

Catherine is the Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at The MEMIC Group. She came to MEMIC in 2002. After 10 years in banking, she entered the healthcare sector working for MaineHealth, the largest healthcare system north of Boston, and gained another 11 years of experience in a tertiary care hospital and medical laboratory setting.

She is responsible for the corporate administrative functions of the organization which are inclusive of human resources, employee compensation (cash and non-cash) and benefits, training and education, along with responsibility for all real estate holdings and all facilities management functions throughout the organization.

Catherine received her bachelor’s degree from the University of New England. She has earned the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from the Human Resource Certification Institute and the Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) designations from the Society for Human Resource Management as well as the Workers’ Compensation Professional (WCP®) designation from AmComp. She is also a graduate of the Institute for Civic Leadership.

She is a Director of the Maine Health Management Coalition and currently serves on the Board of the Olympia Snowe Women's Leadership Institute and the Center for Grieving Children. She is the President of the Dorcas Society of Hollis & Buxton, a local philanthropic charity group serving its community since 1897. She is the State of Maine Chair for the national Million Women Mentors movement and a sponsor of the Women in Insurance group, with a mission to advance the careers of women in the insurance industry.

She has served as the Board Chair of the Park Danforth, a senior residential community and assisted living facility, and the Portland Downtown District Board as Treasurer in addition to being a member of the Board of the Town and Country Federal Credit Union.

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Lucy Moore
Special Policy Advisor, NTIA

Lucy Moore joined NTIA’s Office of the Assistant Secretary as a Special Policy Advisor focused on workforce development initiatives in January 2022. She most recently served as Associate Staff Secretary in the White House. Prior to joining the Office of the Staff Secretary, she worked as an Appointments Associate on the personnel team of the Biden Harris transition. Lucy previously served as a Policy Associate for Middle Class Economics and as Co-Editor of the Biden Forum at the Biden Foundation. Before joining the Biden Foundation, she served as Special Assistant to U.S. Secretary Thomas E. Perez at the Department of Labor and as a White House intern with the National Economic Council, focused on climate and workforce policy. Lucy received her BA from the University of Southern California and her Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.

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Carolyn Alessi, MBA
Regional Director of Community Health and Well Being, Trinity Health Of New England

Carolyn Alessi is Regional Director of Community Health and Well Being and the Curtis D. Robinson Center for Health Equity at Trinity Health Of New England -Saint Francis Hospital. Carolyn has been instrumental in championing Trinity Health Of New England’s pledge to join Paradigm for Parity. In 2020, she was appointed by the Lt. Governor’s office as State Leader for Million Women Mentors Connecticut Chapter (MWM-CT). A movement to help women and girls pursue and persist in STEM pathways. Through her work with MWM-CT she was recently awarded the 2021 Trailblazers award at the Million Women Mentors Summit. Through her influence with the members of MWM-CT, she along with the Lieutenant Governor signed on three more organizations, Pfizer, The Jackson Laboratories and Yale New Haven Health in 2022. Carolyn is the co-chair of Women’s Innovation Network (W.I.N) at Trinity Health Of New England. This network will be instrumental in leading the P4P initiative in reaching gender parity by 2030.

She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from University of Massachusetts at Lowell, her MBA from Centenary University and holds certifications in Healthcare Management and Women’s Leadership from Yale SOM Executive Education programs. Carolyn has lead Community Health and Well Being in Hartford in being the leading voice in health equity through her work on gun violence, social influencers of health and the integration of social and clinical care integration. Within the last 3 years she has raised almost $800k in grant funds to support social care programs.

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Dr. Dane Boyington
CTO, Thinking Media – Learning Blade

Dr. Dane Boyington is Chief Technical Officer and Co-Founder of Thinking Media, where he leads the development of the Learning Blade® system for building STEM and computer science career awareness and interest in schools. He is also the chief architect of a new workforce preparation platform, Ready for Industry™.

Previously, Dane served Technology Co-Chair for Million Women Mentors and as Vice President at ACT, Inc., and at Thinking Media also developed the workforce curriculum systems KeyTrain® and Career Ready 101®, which were acquired by ACT in 2010. Dane holds a doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Chemical Engineering from the University of Florida.

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Thomas Phillips
Sr. Congressional Affairs Specialist, Government Relations, Battelle Memorial Institute

Since starting as a Policy Fellow in 2014, Thomas Phillips has been a member of Battelle’s government relations office in DC, where he brings his passion for public policy and communication to his role in advocating for Battelle’s interests on Capitol Hill. His portfolio supports the work of the Battelle Education team, with a focus on federal policy that builds state capacity and improves equity and access to high-quality STEM education for all. He collaborates with major coalitions in D.C. to educate members of Congress and their staff on the critical role that STEM will play in closing America’s skills gap.

Before joining the Battelle Washington Office full-time, Thomas worked for Battelle in another capacity, managing the satellite proposal office during their successful re-compete for the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC). He took this role after his time in Ohio State’s Washington Academic Internship Program and proudly serves as the current internship coordinator in Battelle’s Washington Office. He is also a Mission First Culture Champion and is pursuing certification from Senn Delaney as a culture facilitator.

Thomas is the President of the Ohio Society of Washington, D.C. and the former D.C. Outreach Chair on the John Glenn College of Public Affairs’ Alumni Society Board. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs, specializing in Rhetoric & Policy.

He currently lives in Georgetown with his wife Alyssa and their dog Sukey. When he's not working the room of a Congressional reception, Thomas enjoys biking, sailing, and birding.

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Janine Koeneke, M.A.
Business Development/Grants & Proposals, STEMconnector

A proven leader in effective STEM education, career equity, youth development, homeless services and health care advocacy programming, Janine Koeneke has raised $100 million to support causes for which she cares deeply. An expert in federal, foundation, corporate and private family foundation grant fundraising, as well as creating dynamic individual fundraising campaigns, she is passionate about education equity and access to opportunity for all.

Prior to joining the STEMconnector team to implement a Grants and Proposals Strategy in 2021, Janine was an active member of STEMconnector and MWM through her Vice President, Fundraising positions at MIND Research Institute (2013-2018) and TGR Foundation (2018-2019) and remains a steadfast STEMconnector ambassador for the networking and partnership benefits it provides to members.

Dr. Clint Coleman
Dr. Clint Coleman
Program Administrator of LaSTEM/Cybersecurity Louisiana Board of Regents, Women in the STEM Economy (W.I.S.E.)

Dr. Clint Coleman is the Program Administrator of the Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Advisory Council (LaSTEM). LaSTEM is Louisiana’s state STEM ecosystem managed by the Louisiana Board of Regents and supported by nine Regional STEM Centers across the state. The centers are located at universities/colleges (Louisiana State University, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Fletcher Technical Community College, Northwestern State University, Louisiana Technical University, and Southeastern University), GNOinc (economic development organization), Calcasieu Parish School Board, and SciPort Discovery Center.

In this role, he supports Regional STEM Centers with the overall objective of providing educational pathways in our K-12 and higher education systems that ultimately align with local industry needs. His career goals revolve around increasing STEM education access to Louisiana citizens of all ages. He continues to strive towards that goal by working with all industry, commercial, non-profit, and government partners to bring educational opportunities to our state.

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Marcy Raymond
Strategy Officer,  PAST Foundation

As a Strategy Officer at the PAST Foundation, Marcy Raymond brings nearly 30 years of experience as an innovative educator to help schools and districts link learning to life. Marcy is an expert on College and Career Readiness in STEM, STEM identity formulation, STEM pedagogy, inquiry based learning. She leads school improvement programs that focus on data based decision making, and mastery learning implementation to maximize student success.

Marcy has her B.S. in Chemistry and History from Muskingum University, M.A in Curriculum and Instruction from Bowling Green State University, M.S. in Policy and Leadership from The Ohio State University. She founded the Metro Early College STEM School, eSTEM Academy at Reynoldsburg and was a founding member of the Ohio STEM Learning Network.

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Mary Schneider
School Design Coordinator,  PAST Foundation

As part of the Innovation Lab Hybrid Teaching Team pioneers, Mary has successfully demonstrated for teachers and administrators how to weave Humanities (ELA and Social Studies) seamlessly into a hybrid course with Science and Math. Mary works with rural schools helping create hybrid courses that provide rigorous and relevant STEM education for students across vast geographic regions.

Mary received her B.A. in English from South Dakota State University and her Masters in STEM Instruction from Dakota Wesleyan University. Mary is also a freelance journalist.

Kristin McQueen
STEM Relationship Manager, Tennessee STEM Innovation Network

A seasoned educator, Kristin McQueen spent 8 years teaching K-4 STEM in a rural school. While there, she helped lead the charge of earning STEM School Designation. In 2018, she was named the school’s Teacher of the Year and the district’s Elementary Teacher of the Year. In 2018, the Tennessee Science Teachers Association honored her work with the Tennessee Science Teacher of the Year Award.

Kristin holds a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies K-6 from TN Technological University, a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of TN Chattanooga, and an Educational Specialist Degree in Administration Leadership from the University of TN Chattanooga. Throughout her time with TSIN, she has managed the Career Exploration and Advising Platforms, led the Manufacturing and Engineering Externship Program for TSIN, and most recently has transitioned into spearheading the Network’s Tennessee STEM/STE(A)M School Designation process along with the STEM Workforce Fellowship.

Dr. Kathleen Schofield
Executive Director, STEM2Hub, Florida

Kathleen Schofield is the Program Director for the Northeast Florida Regional STEM2 Hub. Kathleen holds a master’s degree in technology integration, and educational leadership, and is a doctoral candidate researching the impact of administrative leadership on teacher quality in elementary mathematics instruction. She has presented at multiple conferences at the state and national levels, and has published in multiple peer-reviewed journals. Kathleen served as the STEM Supervisor for the Clay County SD, serving over 36,000 students, developing the district’s STEM program with an emphasis on robotics and coding. Kathleen has written and been awarded over $14 million in competitive grants, implementing multiple successful STEM programs.

Kathleen has taught in both the K12 and university system, served on state and national committees, including the Florida DOE Standards Alignment, Mathematics Standards Setting, PARCC Educator Leader Cadre, and serves on accreditation teams across the nation for district systems accreditation and STEM school accreditations.

Zachary Dollar
Senior Director, Corp and Fnd Relations, EiE, Museum of Science, Boston

Zachary Dollar has been working in the partnership development space for over 10 years. Beginning in the sports marketing industry, he has worked in partnership development for Ironman, the Preakness Stakes, America’s Cup World Series and other national endurance and triathlon properties. Soon after he began working in the non-profit world, applying partnership development principles to establishing local, national, and global partnerships with corporations and foundations for organizations such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Museum of Science, Boston where he currently serves as Senior Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations.

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Heather Gunsallus
Vice President, Products & Services, STEM, EiE, Museum of Science, Boston

Heather Gunsallus is a passionate STEM champion, leader and creator of programs that impact the lives of students and teachers and encourage lifelong learning. As Vice President, STEM Education, Products & Services at Museum of Science, Boston, she brings more than 20 years of experience building teams, developing partnerships, and designing and implementing e-learning and multimedia education solutions for diverse classrooms.

At the Museum of Science, Heather leads the EiE® curriculum division, including product management, curriculum development, professional development, and sales.

A compassionate and inspirational leader, Heather is known for mentoring high-performing teams, driving change, and the keen ability to expand possibilities for our future generation. She knows it’s going to take all of us—foundations, corporations, school leaders, community organizations, and families—working together to inspire all children to be confident STEM learners and to cultivate a future of STEM equity.

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Dr. Venu (Kal) Kalavacharla
Deputy Director for Institute of Youth, Family and Communities, USDA-NIFA

Prior to joining NIFA, he served as Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Plant Molecular Genetics and EpiGenomics in the College of Agriculture, Science and Technology at Delaware State University (DSU). Dr. Kalavacharla joined DSU as an assistant professor in 2006, became associate professor in 2009, and professor in 2014. Since 2009, he has served as the founding Director of the Center for Integrated Biological and Environmental Research at DSU.
Dr. Kalavacharla is actively engaged in understanding and improving crop responses to abiotic and biotic stressors in plants by using tools and methods from classical genetics and breeding to genomics, transcriptomics, and epigenomics. He has secured more than $19 million in extramural grants to Delaware State University from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and has experience in many crops including Brassicas, common bean, wheat, switchgrass, and salt marshgrass.  Dr. Kalavacharla’s teaching interests include plant genetics and breeding, and molecular genetics and genomics. He also advises and mentors undergraduate and graduate students from DSU and the University of Delaware.
Dr. Kalavacharla obtained a B.S. in Agricultural Sciences from Dr. Punjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (Agricultural University), India, an M.S. in Plant Science (research in Brassica Genetics, plant pathology) from the University of Manitoba, and a PhD in Plant Science from North Dakota State University (research in dry bean molecular genetics, plant pathology). He then worked as a postdoctoral research associate in the multi-institution collaborative U.S. Wheat EST Genomics Project (research on wheat expressed sequence tag mapping, wheat scab, and developmental biology). Dr. Kalavacharla then worked in industry in plant genomics, and taught majors and non-majors at Drexel University.  He is passionate about experiential learning and developed a layered mentoring program for students and staff while in Delaware.
Through NSF and NIFA funding, he has strived to bring together cohorts of students from diverse student populations and backgrounds so that they can thrive in an environment that supports and encourages them. Recently, Dr. Kalavacharla and colleagues developed a PhD program in Integrative Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences at Delaware State University to encourage inter- and multi-disciplinary research, training, and education aimed at developing today’s scientists who can work in academia, industry, or government.

Event schedule, all times listed are Eastern

11:00 am Registration opens

11:30 am - 12:30 pm Registration / Networking Lunch

Lunch will be available beginning at 11:30 am.
Participants will also have the opportunity to interact and view a demo on AtlasJobs - a new way to discover, connect with, and hire STEM talent. 

12:30 pm - Welcome Remarks

  • Dr. Jo Webber, FRSC, CChem, CEO, STEMconnector & Million Women Mentors
  • Heather Sherman, Director, STEMx
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12:45 pm - Fireside Chat with the Deputy Secretary of Education

  • Cindy Marten, Deputy Secretary of Education
  • Dr. Jo Webber, FRSC, CChem, CEO, STEMconnector & Million Women Mentors

1:10 pm -  Presentation

  • Dr. Justin Sanchez, Technical Fellow, Battelle Memorial Institute
1:35 pm - Coffee/Networking Break
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1:50 pm - Semiconductor Environmental Scan Findings

  • Dr. Cindy Ziker, Head of Research, STEMconnector

1:55 pm - Panel: Advancing Understanding of the Semiconductor Industry and Broader Implications of CHIPS Act for STEM Education and Workforce Development

  • Bo Machayo, Director of Federal Government and Public Affairs, Micron Technology
  • Jon Cardinal, Director of Economic Development, United States Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer
  • Stewart Barber, Director of Government Affairs, Semiconductor Industry Association
  • Dr. Shawna Hudson, External Affairs and Social Equity Program Manager, Intel
  • Thomas Phillips, Sr. Congressional Affairs Specialist, Government Relations, Battelle Memorial Institute (moderator)

2:50 pm - Innovation Showcase

Day 1 innovation sessions screen shot

3:35 pm -  Panel: The Changing Role of Higher Education in the STEM Workforce

  • Martha Fernandez, Senior Director, Employee Resource Center, Dallas College 
  • Dr. Olga Bolden-Tiller, Tuskegee University, College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences
  • Dr. Michael Heithaus, Dean, Florida International University
  • Ted Wells, Vice President, External Engagement, STEMconnector (moderator)
4:25 pm - Day 1 Summary + Preview of Day 2

5:30 pm - Networking Reception, Sponsored by Florida International University, in D.C.

  • 601 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

8:00 am - 9:00 am - Open Breakfast & Affinity Group Breakfasts

  • MWM Women in Insurance
  • MWM State Leaders
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8:45 am - Presentation: Grants & Proposals Opportunities Through STEMconnector

  • Janine Koeneke, Business Development/Grants & Proposals, STEMconnector

9:00 am - Welcome and Summit Day 1 Recap

  • Janine Koeneke, Business Development/Grants & Proposals, STEMconnector
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9:05 am - Presentation

  • Dr. James Moore, Assistant Director, National Science Foundation

9:35 am - Panel: Employee Engagement as a Meaningful Strategy for Building & Supporting the STEM Workforce

  • Dr. Ronda Hamm, Global Academic Relations Leader, Corteva Agriscience
  • Stacy Zaja, Lead Program Manager, Technology Community Outreach, Northwestern Mutual
  • Keisha Chandler, Director, Partner Success, ASCD
  • Catherine Lamson, SVP, CAO, MEMIC
  • Dr. Leroy D. Nunery II, President, Evolution Advisors LLC (moderator)

10:30 am - Networking/ Coffee Break

11:15 am - Panel: The Role of Women in STEM in the Sectors of Government and how it Impacts Policy, Industry and Focus on Insurance, and the Global Perspective

  • Margaret Resce Milkint, Global Insurance Practice Leader, Diversified Search Group
  • Umran Beba, Co-Founder, Beba Foundation
  • Carolyn Alessi, Regional Director, Community Health and Well Being, Trinity Health Of New England, MWM-CT State Leader
  • Sheila Boyington, National Chair, Million Women Mentors, CEO, Learning Blade (moderator)


12:05 PM -  Networking Lunch

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12:55 pm - Presentation

  • Dr. Merary Simeon, Vice President Human Resources – Global Center of Excellence, PepsiCo

1:15 pm - Innovation Showcase

Day 2 innovation sessions screen shot

2:00 pm -  Panel: Federal Agency Support for STEM Education and Workforce

  • Kris Brown, Deputy Associate Admin for STEM, NASA
  • Dr. Venu (Kal) Kalavacharla, Deputy Director for Institute of Youth, Family and Communities, USDA-NIFA
  • Dr. Ping Ge, Director, Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS), Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Lucy Moore, Special Policy Advisor, NTIA 
  • Melissa Moritz, Director of Policy, STEM Next Opportunity Fund (moderator)

3:00 pm - Summit Closing


Event Resources 

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