Connecticut Technology Council Announces the 2017 Women of Innovation® Finalists

Women innovators and leaders to be honored March 29

E. Hartford, Connecticut, UNITED STATES

HARTFORD, Conn., Feb. 27, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) is pleased to announce the 50 women who have been selected as Women of Innovation finalists for the 2017 Women of Innovation awards program. The Women of Innovation® program seeks to celebrate and create a growing network of women in the “trenches” of STEM. Finalists are the scientists, researchers, academics, manufacturers, student leaders, drafters, entrepreneurs, and technicians who create tomorrow’s advancements through their efforts in Connecticut today.

The 50 finalists will be recognized at the Women of Innovation® awards gala at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville on March 29 from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. A winner in each of the eight award categories will be announced live during the program. The keynote speaker at this year’s ceremony is Adda Birnir, Founder and CEO of Skillcrush, a woman-centric online learning community that helps advance digital skills and creativity, and has been featured on the BBC, Mashable, Fast Company, and Business Insider. Tickets, registration, and details are available online at the CTC website, The complete list of 2017 Women of Innovation® Finalists is posted below.

“For the last twelve years, the Women of Innovation awards ceremony has honored outstanding women who have made significant professional, academic, and community achievements,” said Bruce Carlson, President and CEO of the Connecticut Technology Council. “The 2017 Women of Innovation awards dinner will continue our tradition of celebrating these women and their accomplishments, and marks our expanding program offerings to include and professional growth opportunities to all involved with Women of Innovation, a move aligned with the Connecticut Technology Council’s new strategic initiatives. These initiatives work to fill clear needs in the tech ecosystem here in the state.”

The Women of Innovation® program is aligned with CTC’s Talent & Workforce strategic initiative, which is dedicated to bringing a robust tech talent pipeline to Connecticut. Diversity hiring is a significant facet of the Talent & Workforce initiative. Other initiatives include Growth & Innovation, dedicated to serving companies in the growth phase, and the IT & Infrastructure initiative, which focuses on supporting and advocating for the best in tech resources and infrastructure here in Connecticut.

Women of Innovation® finalists are nominated by their peers, coworkers, and mentors, and are selected based on their professional experience, history of innovation, ability to think creatively and solve problems, and demonstration of leadership. Students are judged on inventiveness, accomplishment in science and technology, independent research, and academic achievement. This year’s 50 finalists includes researchers, educators, engineers, managers, students and entrepreneurs who work or study biotech, pharmaceuticals, software, computer hardware, advanced materials, medical devices, IT, or associated fields.

High school, undergraduate and graduate students who have demonstrated extraordinary and unique achievements in their technology disciplines are also among the finalists. The winner in the Youth Innovation and Leadership category will receive a $4,000 scholarship from Medtronic, one of the program’s presenting sponsors.

Women of Innovation® is presented in conjunction with the following companies: Day Pitney LLP, Medtronic Inc, and United Technologies Corporation. The program is supported by Pfizer Inc. and Pitney Bowes Inc., with contributions from Premier Limousine and Marcum LLP.  

For questions regarding the program or awards dinner please contact Paige Rasid at 860.289.0878 x335.

Below is a list of the 2017 Women of Innovation® with their affiliated organizations and town of employment or hometown:

Academic Innovation and Leadership

Jennifer McFadden, Yale University, Madison
Summer McGee, University of New Haven, West Haven
Janice Naegele, Wesleyan University, Middletown
Michelle Bellinger, Academy of Aerospace & Engineering, West Hartford
Nivea Torres, Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS), Middletown

Collegian Innovation and Leadership

Jun Chen, University of Connecticut, School of Engineering, Storrs
Deborah Dorcemus, University of Connecticut, Danbury
Erin Duffy, Yale University, West Haven
Wafa Elmannai, University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport
Manisha Mishra, University of Connecticut, Storrs

Community Innovation and Leadership

Helen Charov, Connecticut Invention Convention, Moodus
Claudine Phaire, Sikorsky Aircraft, A Lockheed Martin Company, Stratford
Emily Swiatek, Pratt and Whitney, East Hartford

Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership

Jessica Angier, Hybrid Intelligence, Inc., Shelton                               
Jessica Bailey, Greenworks Lending, Darien
Wendy Davis, GestVision, Inc., Guilford
Marcia Fournier, Bioarray Genetics, Farmington
Ellen Matloff, My Gene Counsel, LLC, North Haven

Large Business Innovation and Leadership

Melissa Baran, Sikorsky Aircraft, A Lockheed Martin Company, Stratford
Vicki Conant, Sikorsky Aircraft, A Lockheed Martin Company, Stratford
Jennifer Graham, Sikorsky Aircraft, A Lockheed Martin Company, Stratford
Karen Iannella, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Ridgefield
Jacqueline Jones, PhD., Medtronic, Branford
Bhagyashree Khunte, Pfizer, Inc., Groton
Jeanne Larsen, UTC Aerospace Systems, Windsor Locks
Ping Liu, Sikorsky Aircraft, A Lockheed Martin Company, Stratford
Devu Manikantan Shila, Ph.D, United Technologies Research Center, East Hartford
Jennifer McLaurin, UTC Aerospace Systems, Windsor Locks
Lindsay O'Donnell, Sikorsky Aircraft, A Lockheed Martin Company, Naugatuck
Kremena Simitchieva, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Ridgefield

Research Innovation and Leadership

Susan Baserga, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven
Jinbo Bi, University of Connecticut, Storrs
Alison Gotkin, United Technologies Research Center, East Hartford
Nancy Petry, UConn Health, Farmington
Danyel Racenet, Medtronic, North Haven
Kelly Valentine, Medtronic, North Haven
Christine Wetzel, 3M, Meriden

Small Business Innovation and Leadership

Margaret Bailey, Sonalysts, Waterford
Jeanine Gouin, Milone & MacBroom, Inc., Cheshire
Chun Li, Diameter Health, Farmington
Mary Ellen Mateleska, Mystic Aquarium, a division of Sea Research Foundation, Mystic
Feliciatas Thurmayr, MD, PhD., Quality Health Ideas, Inc., Suffield
Meghan West, CNC Software Inc /Mastercam, Tolland

Youth Innovation and Leadership

Aakshi Agarwal, Hamden High School, Hamden
Margaret Cirino, Greenwich High School, Greenwich
Nickolina Doran, Greater Hartford Academy of Math & Science, Windsor
Madison D'Ostuni, Suffield High School, Suffield
Olivia Hallisey, Greenwich High School, Greenwich
Grace Anne Herrick, The Gunnery, Sandy Hook
Dana Joseph, Engineering & Science University Magnet School, West Haven

About The Connecticut Technology Council

The Connecticut Technology Council is a statewide association of technology oriented companies and institutions, providing leadership in areas of policy advocacy, community building and assistance for growing companies. Speaking for over 2,000 companies that employ some 200,000 residents, the Connecticut Technology Council seeks to provide a strong and urgent voice in support of the creation of a culture of innovation. This includes working to position Connecticut as a leader in idea creation, workforce preparation, entrepreneurial aptitude, early stage risk capital availability and providing on-going support and mentoring to high potential firms. For more information, visit


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