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Women & Hi Tech – Women & Hi Tech Celebrates 20th Anniversary, Announces Recipients of Scholarships/Grants

The Women & Hi Tech 20th Anniversary Celebration was held on August 16, 2019 at The Willows on Westfield. The organization celebrated its 20th year of successfully effecting change to advance women in STEM in Indiana, with the theme of “Celebrating Our Past and Investing in Our Future.

Darlene Quashie Henry, Associate General Counsel and Head of Securities and Corporate Transactions, Legal at Elanco Animal Health opened the evening by welcoming all to celebrate the history and legacy of Women & Hi Tech.

Next, Angela B. Freeman, President of Women & Hi Tech, also welcomed the sold-out crowd to the celebration. “Tonight, is a very special evening where we are ‘Celebrating our Past and Investing in our Future‘,” stated Angela. “We will be recognizing our founders, charter members, and founding members who planted a seed in Indianapolis two decades ago to elevate women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM fields. That seed has continued to be cultivated by our Women & Hi Tech Boards of Directors, sponsors, and members over the past 20 years. This nurturing has ‘grown from STEM’ one of the most influential non-profit organizations in Indiana for uplifting and advancing professional women and encouraging young girls to pursue their passions and opportunities in STEM.”

The evening featured a video vignette showcasing the 20-year history of the organization, including a look at technology from 1999; Women & Hi Tech’s Spotlight awards, which has evolved into the highly prestigious Leading Light Awards; and the organizations extremely popular Passport to Hi-Tech and Ignite Your Superpower (IYS) STEM days.

Women & Hi Tech was presented with several honors during the celebration to commemorate it’s 20 years of helping women in Indiana claim their share of STEM opportunities.

To honor the past 20 years and the receipt of the amazing honors from our city, state, and federal government, Dr. Allison Barber, President and COO of the Indiana Fever, then led the crowd in a two-part champagne toast acknowledging standard gifts to celebrate a 20th Anniversary, such as platinum, representing strength and endurance, and emerald, representing vitality of spirit. “Cheers to Women & Hi Tech, an organization that is strong and enduring and has vitality of spirit,” exclaimed Dr. Barber.

In “Celebrating our Past,” Women & Hi Tech presented Founders awards to Georgia Miller and Joyce Gustafson for having the wherewithal to establish a network of like-minded and similarly positioned women. That network has ‘grown from STEM’ over the last 20 years to what Women & Hi Tech is today, an organization comprising of almost 2000 members, 50 sponsors, and multiple partners. Georgia was present to accept the award, while Women & Hi Tech President, Angela B. Freeman, accepted the award on Joyce Gustafson’s behalf. Jo Basey was also recognized as the organization’s first treasurer and most senior emeritus board member. Notably, Jo is the only founding member that has remained involved with the organization over its full 20 year history.

Investing in our Future” is a Women & Hi Tech tradition. The organization exceeded its goal of awarding $20,000 in scholarships and grants, and with the help of key partners (i.e., SIM Indy, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Pondurance, CDM Smith, and Startup Ladies), awarded over $30,000 to women and girls pursuing STEM fields in Indiana to 17 recipients as follows.

Women & Hi Tech Scholarship & Grant Recipients

(1) $2,000 Women & Hi Tech Undergraduate Scholarship

*Renee Forfa, Purdue University, Cybersecurity

(1) $2,000 Women & Hi Tech Graduate Scholarship

*Katherine Ramos, The University of Notre Dame, Mechanical Engineering

(1) $2,000 Women & Hi Tech Undergraduate Scholarship

*Tapiwa Mzumara, Ivy Tech Community College, Biology

(2) $2,000 Women & Hi Tech Professional Development Grants

*Poonam Gill, Nonprofit Executive Leadership

*Claudia Gibson, Certified Flight Instructor

(1) $2,500 Women & Hi Tech Graduate Scholarship

*Maribel Hernàndez, IUPUI, Addiction Neuroscience

(1) $2,500 Women & Hi Tech Undergraduate Scholarship

*Mckenna Hillsdon-Smith, Purdue University, Biomedical Engineering

(1) $5,000 Women & Hi Tech Graduate or Undergraduate Scholarship – Dual winners awarded $2,500 each

*Amanda Goodridge, Indiana University, Computer Science

*Daphne Fauber, Purdue University, Engineering Technology

Women & Hi Tech Partner Scholarship & Grant Recipients

(1) $2500 SIM Indy/Women & Hi Tech Undergraduate Scholarship

*Madelyn Sturgeon, University of Southern Indiana, Civil Engineering

(1) $2500 SIM Indy/Women & Hi Tech Graduate Scholarship

*Rrezarta Krasniqi, The University of Notre Dame, Software Engineering

(1) $2500 SIM Indy/Women & Hi Tech Undergraduate Scholarship

*Megan Singer, Purdue University, Electrical Engineering

(1) $2000 Barnes & Thornburg/Women & Hi Tech Patent or Corporate Law Scholarship

*Jennie Christensen, Notre Dame Law School, IP/Technology Law

(1) $1000 Pondurance/Women & Hi Tech Cybersecurity Scholarship

*Kelsey Billups, Purdue University, Cybersecurity

(1) $1000 CDM Smith/Women & Hi Tech Civil Engineering Scholarship

*Sidra St. Rain, Purdue University, Civil Engineering

(2) Startup Ladies Memberships for Entrepreneurship (valued at $600 each)

*Julia Miller, Purdue University, Mechanical Engineering/Entrepreneurship

*Thien Vo, Eli Lilly & Co, Medicine Development Analyst/Entrepreneurship

Event attendees also enjoyed custom 20th Anniversary and STEM icon cupcakes and live 20th Anniversary “Grown from STEM” plant party favors before, live band, Liquid Groove, kicked off the dancing and “Celebration” with the same titled song by Kool & The Gang, which set the tone to end the evening’s celebratory fun. It was truly a historic and celebratory occasion.

Photographs from the celebration are now online. Peruse over 400 professional photos that were taken by Faith Blackwell of Faith Blackwell Photography during this exciting and sold-out event.  It was truly one for the history books!

NOTE: Photos copyright owned by Faith Blackwell Photography. Please cite accordingly.

About Women & Hi Tech

Women & Hi Tech exists to change the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all. To achieve our goal, we work to advance, promote, support, recognize, and connect female STEM professionals in our community in Indiana. 


Women & Hi Tech

133 West Market Street, #220

Indianapolis, IN 46204-2801


Rizwan Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed
AuditStudent.com, founded by Rizwan Ahmed, is an educational platform dedicated to empowering students and professionals in the all fields of life. Discover comprehensive resources and expert guidance to excel in the dynamic education industry.


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