Women of Color STEM DTX Conference Announces 2023 List of Award Recipients

The annual conference, now in its 28th year, gathers leaders, innovators, and disruptors in STEM industries and education for a three-day event of keynotes, panels, awards, and activities.

28th WOC STEM Conference, October 12-14, 2023

28th WOC STEM Conference, October 12-14, 2023

DETROITJune 22, 2023PRLog — For 28 years, the Women of Color (WOC) STEM Digital Twin Experience (DTX) Conference has been a beacon of recognition for outstanding achievements in STEM, shedding light on the glaring lack of women’s representation in these fields and their under-representation at senior levels across all disciplines.

The annual three-day event, hosted in Detroit, Michigan, October 12-14, 2023, honors the impactful achievements of diverse leaders in STEM. This year’s theme is “Waves of Change, Oceans of Opportunity.”

Employers dedicated to fostering inclusivity have consistently turned to the Women of Color STEM DTX Conference as a vital platform for sharing best practices and implementing strategies to attract and retain more women in scientific and technical careers.

Alongside a diverse range of events designed to foster collaboration, education, and personal development, the conference organizes a prestigious awards ceremony to recognize extraordinary women from diverse backgrounds.

Each year, a panel of esteemed WOC judges evaluates a dynamic pool of candidates, including outstanding college students, emerging talents, accomplished mid-career professionals and managers, influential C-suite executives, innovators, visionary inventors, and impactful change agents.

Here is the list of the 2023 Women of Color STEM Award recipients:

Technologist of the Year
Mary Hor-Lao
Director, Software Engineering Abbott Neuromodulation

Career Achievement in Government
Patricia Sullivan
Deputy Director
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center

Career Achievement in Industry
Kathleen Jolivette
Vice President Vertical Lift
The Boeing Company

Melissa Welch, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Health Catalyst

Community Service
Shaneka Lawson, Ph.D.
Research Plant Physiologist
USDA Forest Service

Maria Thorpe
Human Systems Engineering Department Director
Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Systems Acquisition Group, Human Systems Engineering Department

Corporate Responsibility
Teresa Blanco
Vice President –Supply Chain Readiness
The Boeing Company

Toyin Ogunfolaju
Director, Social Value & Equity Americas

Diversity Leadership in Government
Karen Hudson
Chief, Avionics Engineering Division
Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Engineering Directorate

Lyndsey McMillon-Brown, Ph.D.
Research Electrical Engineer
NASA Glenn Research Center

Diversity Leadership in Industry
LaDavia Drane
GlobalHead of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity
Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Deepa Shankar
Director, Partnerships
UL Research Institutes

Educational Leadership –College-Level Promotion of Education
Whitney Gaskins, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean
University of Cincinnati

Anne-Marie Kosi-Koupe, PhD
Lecturer 1
University of Detroit Mercy

Educational Leadership –Corporate Promotion of Education
Kelly Keena, Ph.D.
Senior Director
UL Research Institutes

Kadidia Thiero
SOARS® Principal Investigator/Program Lead
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

FinTech Leadership
Madhura Damle
Business Intelligence Specialist
Lordstown Motors Corporation

Managerial Leadership
Manasi Reardon, Ph.D.
Director, R&D

Christina Upah
Vice President Attack Helicopter Programs & Mesa Senior Site Executive
The Boeing Company

Dakeesha Wright
Operations & Site Leader
Raytheon Technologies, Collins Aerospace

New Media/IT Leadership
Amanda Hundt
VP of Corporate Communications
Health Catalyst

Outstanding Technical Contribution
Michelle Chen
Software Systems Engineer
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Yagna Pathak, Ph.D.
Manager Medical Affairs

Ning Yu, Ph.D.
Chief Research Scientist

Pioneer Award
Jessica Jones, Ph.D.
Staff Aeroelastician
Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing Company

Professional Achievement in Government
Ariel Ash-Shakoor, Ph.D.
Biomedical Engineer/Acting Team Lead
United States Food and Drug Administration

Natasha White, Ph.D.
Program Manager
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Professional Achievement in Industry
Ashley Johnson-Long, Ph.D.
Plant Engineering Manager, IDM
Corning Incorporated

Laura Luengo
Vehicle Integration -Voice of the Customer Supervisor
Lordstown Motors Corporation

Student Leadership –Graduate Level
Tracy Edwards
Graduate Research Assistant, Isotope Harvesting Group
Michigan State University, Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB)

Technical Innovation in Government
Chenelle Covin
Technical Writer-Editor
Department of Defense

Patricia McDaniel, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist for Chemistry
U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center

Technical Innovation in Industry
Clara Rivero-Baleine, Ph.D.
Lockheed Martin Fellow
Lockheed Martin

Rashmi Prasad, Ph.D.
Staff Researcher
General Motors LLC

Visionary Award
Anike Sakariyawo
Founder and Executive Director
S.E.E.K. Foundation, Inc.

Special Recognition
Sabrina Bailey
Vice President of Operations –Integrated Product Support

Diedra Hollins
Deputy Chief Information Officer
Idaho National Laboratory

Qiana Jackson
Engineering Program Manager 3
Penn State Applied Research Lab

Judith Jeevarajan
VP & Executive Director
UL Research Institutes

Yoko Kawai Parker
Scientist, Systems Engineering
L3Harris Technologies

Autumn Leake
Chief Engineer
Naval Air Systems Command –NAWCWD

Melody Martinez
Chief, Prototypes and Flight Experiments Branch, Section B
Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV)

Gitanjli McRoy
Chief Engineer, Electric Vehicle Energy Management Systems
Ford Motor Company

Ana Lucia Ochoa-Lorenzini
Director Supply Chain Management

For more information on WOC STEM Award Winners visit https://intouch.ccgmag.com/mpage/woc-stem-conference-awardees

About the Women of Color STEM DTX Conference
The Women of Color STEM DTX Conference is an annual event that celebrates outstanding achievements in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). With a rich history spanning nearly three decades, the conference provides a platform for individuals and organizations to recognize excellence, foster career development, and facilitate networking opportunities.

Media Contact
Jessica Rafaeil

Women of Color STEM Conference Announces 2022 List of Award Recipients

The annual conference, now in its 27th year, gathers leaders, innovators, and disruptors in STEM industries and education for a three-day event of keynotes, panels, awards, and activities.

BALTIMOREAug. 1, 2022PRLog — The 2022 Women of Color (WOC) STEM Digital Twin Experience (DTX) will be held October 6-8, 2022. Over the three-day event, the Conference will provide forums on retaining women and girls in STEM, continuous improvement, and networking. This year’s theme is “The Struggle, the Progress, and the Future.”

Since 1995, awards presented at the Women of Color STEM Conference have honored excellence in STEM and underscored the severe under-representation of women in STEM and at senior levels in all disciplines. For nearly three decades, employers committed to inclusion have chosen the Women of Color STEM Conference to exchange best practices and strategies to attract and keep girls and women in scientific and technical fields. This year’s co-sponsor is Raytheon Technologies, with additional sponsorship from Jacobs Engineering.

The event has highlighted the continuing challenges that bias, discrimination, and harassment pose to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. That’s why the 2022 conference theme is a call to action while reflecting the development and progress to achieve universal workplace gender equality.

In addition to a series of events for attendees to gather, learn, and grow together, the conference hosts an awards ceremony to honor women from a myriad of backgrounds who have overcome obstacles, paved new ways towards success, and have spent time mentoring and nurturing the next generation of STEM leaders. Awards presented at WOC honor excellence and underscore the under-representation of women in all STEM disciplines. Here are the awardees for this year’s Women of Color STEM DTX Conference.

The 2022 Women of Color STEM Award Recipients

Technologist of the Year

Valerie Sheares Ashby, Ph.D.


University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Career Achievement – Government

Andra Homer

Chief, Resource Management

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District

Phi-Anh “Ann” Lutz

Systems Security Engineer

U.S. Air Force

Donna Merriman

Deputy Commander

Defense Contract Management Agency

Career Achievement – Industry

Sharon Jean-Baptiste

Vice President, Midwest Operations


Sadiqa Mahmood

Senior Vice President and General Manager, Life Sciences Business

Health Catalyst

D Sangeeta

CEO and Founder


Community Service

Karriema Calhoun

Manager, Indirect Supply Chain

The Boeing Company

Cesanee Johnson

Program Manager and Business Operations Lead

Raytheon Technologies

Adrienne M. Somerville


Talent & Technical Solutions Corporation

Corporate Responsibility

Bernice Billups

Director, Boeing Global Engagement

The Boeing Company

Judy Johnson

Vice President


Diversity Leadership

Ruthie Barnes

Branch Chief/Program Manager

United States Air Force Materiel Command, BOMC Development Support Branch

Denise LaMaison-Bell

Senior Program Coordinator


Educational Leadership – Corporate Promotion of Education

Molly Mo

Global Engineering Learning & Development Manager

Ford Motor Company

Briana Pompilus

Executive Advisor, Project Manager of Operations for Global Digital Center of Excellence


FinTech Leadership

Josnelly Aponte


Consumers Energy

JeanMarie LeiAnuenue Priola

Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Modernization, Automation and Development (IMAD) Portfolio Manager


U.S. Air Force

GEM Student Leadership

Samantha Mendez

Research Assistant (PhD Student)

The Ohio State University

Lifetime Achievement Award

Amanda Goodson, Ph.D.

Senior Director

Engineering and Mission Assurance, Raytheon Intelligence & Space

Managerial Leadership – Government

Jennifer Mills, Ph.D.

Supervisory Computer Engineer

(CECOM) – U.S. Army Information Systems Engineering Command

Managerial Leadership – Industry

Jilma Jimenez

Vice President


Hue Robinson

Microchip Implementation Program Manager

Ford Motor Company

Chrissy Thom

Senior Vice President, Global Growth, Strategy & Solutions


New Media/IT Leadership

Petronella Chola Sims

Vice President, Enterprise Technology


Ebony Rose Smith

Cybersecurity Technical Program Manager

Walmart Inc.

Outstanding Technical Contribution

Tamara Goyea, Ph.D.

Section Supervisor

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Ruchi Mahindru

Senior Technical Staff Member

IBM Research

President’s Award

LaTara Harris

Director External Affairs


Professional Achievement – Government

Vanessa Espinoza

Deputy Fire Chief, Hill AFB, UT

United States Air Force Materiel Command, 775th Civil Engineering Squadron/Fire Department

Shawanta Leary

Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of Group Plans

90th Security Forces Group

United States Air Force

Seana McNeal

Senior General Engineer, Aerospace Systems Directorate

United States Air Force Materiel Command

Professional Achievement – Industry

Joy Johnson

Senior Financial Control Analyst

The Boeing Company

Da’Shaun Joseph

Portfolio Manager/Program Manager

Student Leadership – Undergraduate Level

Cierra Williams

Target Digital Network Analyst

National Security Agency Georgia

Technical Innovation

Carissa Pajel

MP&P Engineer (Chemical Technology)

The Boeing Company

Hui-ping Wang, Ph.D.

Technical Fellow

General Motors LLC

Special Recognition

Angela Butler

Capture Director


Aida Gonzalez-Lopez

Director, International Programs Products Division

Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division

Candace Kenner

Manager, Talent Acquisition

Huntington Ingalls Industries

Ashley McQueen

Business Manager for the NASA SBIR/STTR Program Management Office

NASA Ames Research Center

Mai-Chi Nguyen

Engineering Specialist


Vernessa Noye

Computer Scientist

U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center

Agnes Ortega

DVP Global Compliance and Quality Operations


Tuyet-Hanh Schnell

Lead Member Engineering Staff

Lockheed Martin

Antoinette Ward

Networking Performance & Reliability Engineer


Whitni Wilson Wertz

Associate Director, High Rise Group, High Rise Contract Logistics Center (HRCLC)

Otis Elevator

About The Women of Color STEM Conference

The Women of Color STEM Conference is produced by Career Communications Group, Inc. (CCG), the leader in workforce diversity, working with all types of companies to help support them in promoting multiculturalism and gender equity in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). For 27 years, the Women of Color STEM Conference has been a leading event for professional development, networking, and providing a resource for women to feel empowered. For more information about the 2022 Women of Color STEM DTX Conference, visit www.womenofcolor.net. Registration is now open

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