POSITION: Senior Researcher, Design Lab | New York Hall of Science
Dorothy Bennett has over 25 years of experience researching and developing educational media, curricula and teacher enhancement programs that explore how design can serve as a powerful pathway into science and engineering for children. She has collaborated with a broad range of institutions to research and develop media rich, inclusive science and technology programs, including, the American Museum of Natural History, the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, IBM, CUNY Schools of Engineering, and K – 12 school districts across the country. As principal investigator on a body of NSF-funded work, she investigated the role that narrative context plays in opening up engineering and computer programming to diverse groups of children. She holds a master’s of science in education from Bank Street College of Education, with a focus on adolescent development.
POSITION: Chief Strategy & Growth Officer, National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)
Ruthe Farmer has focused her efforts on increasing girls’ participation in technology and engineering since 2001. She provides strategic planning and direction at NCWIT, fund development, and cultivation of new partnerships, and leads the NCWIT K-12 Alliance. Ruthe is the driving force behind the hugely successful Aspirations in Computing talent development initiative, served as the 2012 Chair of Computer Science Education Week, was named a Champion of Change for Technology Inclusion by the White House in July 2013, received the Ulla Popken Phenomenal Woman Award for her work to increase girls’ participation in technology and engineering and received the Anita Borg Institute Award for Social Impact.
Ruthe has a history of scaling up innovative STEM projects. She was responsible for establishing a national Lego Robotics program at Girl Scouts of the USA, scaling out the Intel Design & Discovery engineering program to 63 locations, and forming a national partnership between FIRST Robotics and Girl Scouts of the USA. She created GirlFEST, a one-day resource expo celebrating “everything cool about being a girl.” The inaugural event drew 10,000 girls; the event has been replicated in 15 Girl Scout councils and has been adopted as the girl engagement model at the Triennial Girl Scout convention. Ruthe developed “On the Road: the Savvy Girl’s Guide to Cars”, a comprehensive program on automotive careers, safety, and maintenance sponsored by Firestone and the US Department of Labor. She received the 2007 Education Publisher’s Award for the program guidebook. She also published the Guide to Promising Practices in Informal IT Education in partnership with Girl Scouts and NCWIT in 2007, and advised on the WGBH Design Squad and All Terrain Brain resources.
Ruthe frequently speaks and presents on the topic of girls and women in technology and has been an invited speaker at the White House, the United Nations International Telecommunications Union, the European Union Energy Committee, the WebSummit in Dublin, and many more. Ruthe served on the National Girls Collaborative Project Champions Board, the FIRST Robotics Girls FIRST Advisory Board, and was a founding board member of Springboard Innovation, a non-profit dedicated to incubating grass roots social entrepreneurs. From 2001-2005, she was on the founding committee of the Oregon Robotics and Tournament Outreach Program (ORTOP), one of the largest and most successful FIRST Lego League programs in the U.S. She sits on the Lewis & Clark College Board of Alumni and is an ambassador for the University of Oxford Said Business School. Ruthe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications & German from Lewis & Clark College and an MBA in Social Entrepreneurship from the University of Oxford’s Said Business School and is passionate about integrating innovative entrepreneurial strategies into her work.
POSITION: Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Richmond
Jacque Fetrow assumed the role of Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs on July 1, 2014. As Provost at the University of Richmond, Jacque serves as the University’s chief academic officer with responsibilities that include oversight of the University’s academic mission, tenure and promotion processes, and budget planning. She works closely with the academic deans of the five schools and serves as a member of the President’s Cabinet.
Jacque earned a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from Pennsylvania State University in 1986 and a B.S. in biochemistry from Albright College in 1982. Prior to her appointment at Richmond, she served as Dean of the College and Reynolds Professor of Computational Biophysics at Wake Forest University. At Wake Forest, she led the creation of the College’s strategic plan and the development of the College’s capital campaign. Notable accomplishments supporting excellence in undergraduate education included establishing the Office of Academic Advising to coordinate and enhance the faculty’s advising activities, overseeing the early development of the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URECA) Center to provide exceptional opportunities to undergraduate students, and fostering the development of specific programs focused on boosting the success of first-generation and at-risk students.
Before her time at Wake Forest, Jacque served as Chief Scientific Officer and Director (and co-founder) of GeneFormatics, Inc., a company which developed software and databases for the pharmaceutical industry. She co- invented GeneFormatics’ primary patented technologies and, as part of the executive management team, she played key roles in developing company strategy, raising over $50 million in three funding rounds, building to a 65- person organization, and merging the company with another biotechnology software company in 2003.
Jacque previously served on the Executive Council and currently serves as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Protein Society, an international professional organization. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of Albright College, on the Board of Directors of QuantumBio, Inc., an early stage biotechnology software company, and on the Editorial Boards of the professional journals PLoS Computational Biology and Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics. She has also served on the NSF BIO Directorate Advisory Council and on numerous NIH study sections, including charter memberships.
Jacque’s ongoing research program focuses on understanding the relationships between protein structure, function, and dynamics, with a long-range goal of understanding disease mechanisms and improving processes for structure-based drug discovery. She has published over 80 peer-reviewed or invited articles and is listed as an inventor on five US patents. She enjoys involving undergraduate students and research associates in her research projects and has won three awards for her excellence and innovation in teaching.
POSITION: Artist, Lecturer, and Professor Emeritus of Art (Northern Virginia Community College)
Rebecca Kamen’s work explores the nexus of art and science informed by wide-ranging research into cosmology, history, philosophy, and various scientific fields. She has investigated scientific rare books and manuscripts at the libraries of the American Philosophical Society, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and most recently the Cajal Institute in Madrid, utilizing these significant scientific collections as a catalyst in the creation of her work.
Ms. Kamen received an MA in art education from the University of Illinois, and an MFA in sculpture from Rhode Island School of Design. She has exhibited and lectured both nationally and internationally including China, Hong Kong, Chile, Korea, Egypt, and Spain. She has been the recipient of a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Fellowship, a Pollack Krasner Foundation Fellowship, two Strauss Fellowships, and a Travel Grant from the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Recently, as an artist in residence in the neuroscience program at National Institutes of Health, Kamen has interpreted and transformed neuroscience research into sculptural form. Her artwork is represented in many private and public collections including, National Institutes of Health, KPMG Peat Martwick Corporation, Gannett Corporation, IBM, Capital One and the Institute for Defense Analysis.
Currently as professor emeritus of art at Northern Virginia Community College, Ms. Kamen continues to investigate how the arts and creativity can be used to enhance our understanding of science. This project was initiated in 2011 when she was nominated as a Chancellor’s Commonwealth Professor. An outcome of Kamen’s research has included the development of an art component for George Mason University’s Aspiring Scientist Summer Internship Program (ASSIP), encouraging science interns to use the arts as an innovative way of interpreting their research.
Professor Kamen has been a Nifty Fifty Speaker for the USA Science and Engineering Festival, since 2013. The Nifty Fifty are over 200 of the most dynamic scientists and engineers in the United States. They are selected for their unique ability to inspire the next generation of students to pursue careers in STEM fields. Kamen is the first visual artist selected as a Nifty Fifty Speaker.
POSITION: President of Harvey Mudd College
Maria Klawe began her tenure as Harvey Mudd College’s fifth president in 2006. A renowned computer scientist and scholar, President Klawe is the first woman to lead the College since its founding in 1955. Prior to joining HMC, she served as dean of engineering and professor of computer science at Princeton University. Klawe joined Princeton from the University of British Columbia where she served as dean of science from 1998 to 2002, vice president of student and academic services from 1995 to 1998 and head of the Department of Computer Science from 1988 to 1995. Prior to UBC, Klawe spent eight years with IBM Research in California, and two years at the University of Toronto. She received her Ph.D. (1977) and B.Sc. (1973) in mathematics from the University of Alberta
Klawe has made significant research contributions in several areas of mathematics and computer science, including functional analysis, discrete mathematics, theoretical computer science, human-computer interaction, gender issues in information technology and interactive-multimedia for mathematics education. Her current research focuses on discrete mathematics.
Klawe is a renowned lecturer and has given talks at international conferences, national symposia, and colleges across the U.S. and Canada about diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines and industries, gender and gaming, and lessons from her own career in STEM industry and education. She has devoted particular attention in recent years to improving K-12 science and mathematics education.
Klawe is one of the ten members of the board of Microsoft Corporation, a board member of Broadcom Corporation and the nonprofit Math for America, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, a trustee for the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley and a member of the Stanford Engineering Advisory Council, the Advisory Council for the Computer Science Teachers Association, and the Canada Excellence Research Chairs Selection Board. She is co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Simons Institute at UC Berkeley. She is the recipient of the 2014 Women of Vision ABIE Award for Leadership and was ranked 17 on Fortune’s 2014 list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.
POSITION: Industrial Designer and Artist; Adjunct Professor of Industrial Design, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD); Design and Education Consultant, Leidtke Design
Amy Leidtke, MID, is an Industrial Designer, Education Consultant, RISD Faculty, and Master Teaching Artist, who works closely with businesses, non-profit organizations, school administrators, teachers, and students. Fostering a culture of creativity, collaboration, and design thinking is one way Leidtke inspires people to explore their capacity and potential to use multidisciplinary approaches to conduct research, brainstorm, build teams, and solve problems. Providing thought leadership in the realm of arts education is another way Leidtke advocates for innovative literacy; she believes all children should have equal access to high quality art and design education. Leidtke states, “Building strong visual literacy skills in future citizens will help create a capable country with confident innovators, fluent communicators, and empathetic business leaders.”
Leidtke is a proponent of STEAM education STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). As she notes, “STEAM is an exciting education initiative throughout the U.S. and acknowledges that the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) can benefit immensely by infusing the arts to increase student engagement, learning, and understanding. STEAM-based curriculum effectively connects children’s minds and hands, making learning immersive and fun.”
POSITION: Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code
Reshma Saujani is the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and prepare young women for jobs of the future.
In her groundbreaking new book, Women Who Don’t Wait in Line: Break the Mold, Lead the Way, Saujani advocates for a new model of female leadership focused on embracing risk and failure, promoting mentorship and sponsorship, and boldly charting your own course — personally and professionally.
After years of working as an attorney and supporting the Democratic party as an activist and fundraiser, Saujani left her private sector career behind and surged onto the political scene as the first Indian American woman in the country to run for U.S. Congress.
Following the highly publicized race, Saujani stayed true to her passion for public service, becoming Deputy Public Advocate of New York City and most recently running a spirited campaign for Public Advocate on a platform of creating educational and economic opportunities for women and girls, immigrants, and those who have been sidelined in the political process.
A true political entrepreneur, Saujani has been fearless in her efforts to disrupt both politics and technology to create positive change.
Saujani is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Yale Law School. She was recently named one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in New York by the New York Daily News, Forbes’ Most Powerful Women Changing the World, Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People, Ad Age’s Creativity 50, Business Insider’s 50 Women Who Are Changing the World, City & State’s Rising Stars, and an AOL/PBS Next MAKER.
POSITION: Chief Scientist, NASA
Dr. Ellen Stofan was appointed NASA chief scientist on August 25, 2013, serving as principal advisor to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the agency’s science programs and science-related strategic planning and investments.
Prior to her appointment, Stofan was vice president of Proxemy Research in Laytonsville, Md., and honorary professor in the department of Earth sciences at University College London in England. Her research has focused on the geology of Venus, Mars, Saturn’s moon Titan, and Earth. Stofan is an associate member of the Cassini Mission to Saturn Radar Team and a co-investigator on the Mars Express Mission’s MARSIS sounder. She also was principal investigator on the Titan Mare Explorer, a proposed mission to send a floating lander to a sea on Titan.
Her appointment as chief scientist marks a return to NASA for Dr. Stofan. From 1991 through 2000, she held a number of senior scientist positions at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., including chief scientist for NASA’s New Millennium Program, deputy project scientist for the Magellan Mission to Venus, and experiment scientist for SIR-C, an instrument that provided radar images of Earth on two shuttle flights in 1994.
Stofan holds master and doctorate degrees in geological sciences from Brown University in Providence, R.I., and a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. She has received many awards and honors, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Stofan has authored and published numerous professional papers, books and book chapters, and has chaired committees including the National Research Council Inner Planets Panel for the recent Planetary Science Decadal Survey and the Venus Exploration Analysis Group.