9 Honored At Women Of Innovation Awards Dinner

by Categorized: Connecticut Date:

By MARA LEE maralee@courant.com

The Connecticut Technology Council honored nine women for their leadership in science, technology and engineering at the its annual Women of Innovation awards dinner Tuesday.

Yvonne Will, an associate research fellow at Pfizer, won in the research category. She pioneered tests to measure chemicals’ toxicity at the mitochondrial level. She joined Pfizer 10 years ago.

Kate Donahue, president of Hampford Research, won in the small business innovation and leadership category. She leads a specialty chemical manufacturer, and according to the technology council, turned the company around.

Maria Keilich, a manager at United Technologies Aerospace Systems, won in the large business innovation and leadership category. She is a systems engineer and leads a team of engineers developing software specifications and systems analyses for environmental control and life support systems designed for use in space.

Meghan Brunaugh, co-founder of Combat2Career, won in the entrepreneurial innovation and leadership category. Combat2Career is a technology startup that helps veterans choose a college and complete their applications. The company continues to provide services to its users throughout college and during their job hunt after graduating.

Two women were honored in the academic innovation and leadership category: Lili Aramli, a biology teacher at the Academy of Aerospace & Engineering/Greater Hartford Academy of Mathematics and Science; and Carolyn Slayman, a deputy dean at the Yale School of Medicine. Aramli developed a research program at the high school where she teaches; Slayman directed research resources to genomics proteomics and metabolomics.

There is also a collegian innovation and leadership category, where one student and one staff member were honored. Zhaohui Wang, a Ph.D candidate in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Connecticut, was a winner. She researches underwater acoustic communications and networking. Cynthia Barnett, founder of a nonprofit that runs Amazing Girls Science, is a former assistant principal in Norwalk schools who decided to begin a nonprofit to inspire girls to study science, technology engineering and math.

Shiyu Zhuang won in the youth innovation and leadership category. A student at Amity Regional High School, she won second place at the Connecticut Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, interns at the Malone Engineering Center at Yale, and plans to study biomedical engineering in college.

More than 500 guests attended the banquet, sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim USA Corp., medical device manufacturer Covidien, the law firm of Day Pitney LLP, and United Technologies Corp.

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