Women’s Leadership Conference to Explore Future of Women in STEM
Women’s Leadership Conference to Explore Future of Women in STEM

by Karen Grava
Director of Media Relations


Dave Cranshaw
UNH Today Editor

Nicole Deck ’18 says she has loved science since she was a little kid.

“The Discovery Channel was my cartoons,” she said. “I just couldn’t get enough of watching the amazing adventures people went on and the extraordinary discoveries they were making.”

Deck went on to develop a passion for protecting the ocean and its inhabitants. “I knew if I were to make a difference, I would need a scientific background and a strong voice,” she said. “My parents and professors have pushed me to achieve my goals and strive for excellence.”

(L-R) Nora Poggi and Pooja Chandrashekar

Deck will look to learn more about what it will take to succeed in a career in her fields of marine biology and environmental science when she attends UNH’s Women’s in Leadership Conference, a daylong program on Friday, April 1, titled “Building Our Future with STEM.” 

UNH students can attend for the discounted price of $10. The cost for UNH faculty and staff is $40 and is $80 for general admission. Registration is encouraged by Tuesday, March 15.

While 7.6 million people in the United States work in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math, women hold only 24 percent of the jobs in those disciplines. Most of them also earn less than their male counterparts.

“So many women and girls who have great potential shy away from considering STEM careers,” said Lourdes Alvarez, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and chair of the conference. “There is so much we can teach each other and so much we can learn from the wonderful women we’ve invited to speak at this conference.”

The keynote speaker will be Jennifer Lawton, chief strategy officer at littleBits, which produces neon-hued components that snap together magnetically to form circuit boards to construct anything from a remote-control airplane to a talking robot.

Lawton is a serial entrepreneur who also served as interim CEO of MakerBot, a global leader in the 3D printing industry, where she was instrumental in driving the company's 600 percent growth in two years.  

Named to the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014, she also was the co-founder of Net Daemons Associates, an information technology consulting firm and the owner of the independent bookstores Just Books and Just Books, Too and the Arcadia Café in Old Greenwich, Conn.

The conference will also feature a panel on “Investing in Women” designed to align resources with inventors, visionaries and change agents. It will teach participants how investors are increasing their returns by focusing on companies with diversity at the leadership level and will provide them with strategies for getting funding for their own ideas.

The panel will include Paula Calabrese, who holds 10 patents and is founder and chief strategy officer for Accordant Energy, a fuel technology company that offers an innovative, renewable fuel; Emily Moore of GestVision, a Connecticut biotechnology startup that is commercializing a breakthrough diagnostic for preeclampsia; and Pauline Murphy of Connecticut Innovations.

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