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Technology Association of Iowa Honors Women of Innovation
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
Technology Association of Iowa Honors Women of Innovation
The Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) yesterday honored leaders in technology, science, and engineering at its second annual Iowa Women of Innovation Awards presentation. Nine professionals, academicians, and students were awarded with “Women of Innovation” awards.
“These women are advancing technology in Iowa,” said TAI president Leann Jacobson. “Their work makes our state a better place to live – more economically vibrant, more environmentally sound and more of an incubator of idea generation and innovation. As role models their work will bring many more women into Iowa’s high-tech workforce.”
“Iowa’s economic vitality depends on both women and men who are well educated in technology. We will only increase the percentage of women in the high tech workforce by tapping into the talent pool of young women as we fill the pipeline of future workers,” Jacobson said. “We have work to do. In that pipeline today, women comprise fewer than 15 percent of all advanced placement computer science exam-takers, and in the last 20 years the share of computer science bachelor’s degrees awarded to women dropped from 36 to 21 percent.”
The Women of Innovation event was supported by Rockwell Collins, the Principal Financial Group, the Iowa Math and Science Education Partnership, and by the Iowa Department of Economic Development.
2009 Women of Innovation Award Winners
Academic Innovation and Leadership in Secondary Education: Julie Hill, Lisbon Community School District. Julie Hill was an elementary school teacher from 1989-2003 and has earned her Master’s Degree in Education Technology from the University of Northern Iowa. Ms. Hill was the first Iowan to join an internally recognized group called “Students Working toward the Advancement of Technology (SWAT).” She created a Tech Literacy program for middle school kids. The students became “first responders” for basic troubleshooting issues in classrooms, leading many students to find and pursue interests in technology. Ms. Hill was also instrumental in creating a recording studio in the Lisbon High School technology office. A fellow teacher used the studio to launch a Multimedia class through which students create weekly broadcasts shown throughout the school.
Academic Innovation and Leadership in Post-Secondary Education: Dr. Gail Bishop, Professor of Microbiology, University of Iowa. Dr. Gail Bishop is nationally recognized for her scientific contributions in B cell immunology. She has served as Director of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Immunology for the past 11 years. Dr. Bishop recently developed materials on T-B lymphocyte collaboration for the American Association of Immunologists Introduction Immunology course (attended by aspiring young immunologists from around the country). She is currently a member of the Governing Council of the American Association of Immunologists and serves as the NIAID Board of Scientific Counselors. Dr. Bishop has authored eight book chapters, 19 invited reviews, and 84 peer review research papers.
Non-Profit/Government Agency: Tracy Warner, Municipal Engineer, City of Ames. Tracy Warner heads the Engineering Division of the Public Works Department. She oversees engineering design, construction inspection, traffic (including airport), and the city-wide geographic information system. She’s responsible for a $10 million capital improvement construction and design budget and an annual operating budget of over $2.5 million. While working for the city, Ms. Warner has introduced many storm water initiatives – including renovating the City Hall parking lot to install a bio-retention area that captures storm runoff. She also works closely with Iowa State University to add a social component to what could be a typical stream stabilization project. Throughout the creek restoration project, neighborhood learning circles and surveys have been incorporated to further engage the residents who live within the watershed.
Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership: Christal Mickle, Vice President of Corporate Affairs and co-founder, KemPharm, Inc. Christal Mickle is the Vice President of Corporate Affairs and co-founder of KemPharm, Inc., an Iowa City-based pharmaceutical company. KemPharm, Inc. is focused on the development of newer and safer therapies for the treatment of ADHD, pain, and cardiovascular ailments through its patented pro-drug technology. Since its founding, KemPharm has developed lead candidates in pain, hypertension, and ADHD all of which address multi-billion dollar markets and offer clear benefits over existing therapies, particularly in terms of safety, reduction of side effects and potential for abuse. Ms. Mickle played an integral part in attracting and committing diverse sources of finance. KemPharm has successfully managed its expansion from the initial two founders to 11 employees - necessitating an expansion to the BioVentures facility at The University of Iowa’s Oakdale Research Park and the addition of a remote research site in Virginia.
Large Company Leadership: Louise Billmeyer, Chief Information Officer of the Health Division, Principal Financial Group. Louise Billmeyer is responsible for driving the foundational changes needed to position the Health Division’s IT strategy to align with rapidly changing business requirements. Significant examples of her leadership include: converting the division from a primarily proprietary software system environment to a vendored software system environment; transitioning the division from a mainframe-based to a web-based systems orientation; creating a rules orientation within technology solutions; driving a data strategy in support of effective information sharing and information-based decision-making; and leading the movement towards service orientation. Ms. Billmeyer also leads the Corporate IT Service Portfolio Group at Principal.
Collegian Innovation and Leadership: Alexandra Keenan, senior at the University of Iowa. Alexandra Keenan is a triple major in biochemistry, biomedical engineering, and international studies, with a Spanish minor at The University of Iowa. She is currently working on vaccine development to prevent the insidious parasitic infection visceral leishmaniasis, a disease with over 500,000 new cases annually. In 2008, she participated in a social entrepreneurship program in Madurai, India where she produced a model for a community-based cervical cancer screening program for low-income women. She returned last summer to advocate for the program and develop a database to aid in its development, which led to the creation of a hospital. Ms. Keenan was a key part of the award-winning Student Sustainable Design Competition team that focused on the delivery of safe drinking water to developing countries.
Youth Innovation and Leadership: Hillary Stintsman, senior at Chariton High School. Hillary Stintsman excels in Science classes, such as Chemistry I, Chemistry II and Forensics, and is also a member of the National Honor Society. Ms. Stintsman has set herself apart from her peers by actively participating in Forensics activities, by formulating strategies and testing conclusions. In addition to her academic involvement, she is a member of Student Council, Spanish Club, and serves as Vice President of the National Honor Society. Ms. Stintsman has excelled in science courses and general academics with a GPA of 4.089 (on a 4.00 scale).
To learn more about the award winners and finalists, log on to www.technologyiowa.org.
TAI is a member-based, not-for-profit organization accelerating the success of Iowa’s technology industry. TAI creates and sustains a positive environment for technology-based economic growth and job creation through innovation, advocacy, and leadership. TAI members include organizations of every size, involved in virtually every aspect of technology creation, production, application and education in Iowa.
Last updated ( Friday, 13 November 2009 )