Women in Science

Featured Event

Saturday, May 21, 8AM–5PM

#DaVinciCoder Girls-only Hackathon

Learn more

Events & Programs

Past Events & Programs

More past events will be listed shortly.

Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award

Congratulations to Jonna Gerken, recipient of the 2016 Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award

This award recognizes a woman working in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) who is a leader in her field, and who makes a significant effort to support other women and encourage girls' interests in STEM. The honoree is selected by the Connecticut Science Center's Women in Science steering committee. See Jonna Gerken accept her award at our Annual STEM Awards Breakfast, presented by Stanley Black & Decker, on Tuesday, April 26.

About Ms. Gerken

Jonna Gerken is the 2016 Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award honoree. Gerken is the Project Manager for Operations Development at Pratt & Whitney, where she coordinates the startup of new international manufacturing facilities for the production ramp-up of PurePowerTM product families. An employee of Pratt & Whitney since 2000, Gerken has held numerous positions of increasing responsibility within both the operations and engineering divisions. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial & Management Engineering and a Master of Business Administration degree in Technology Development, both from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is a lifetime member of the Society of Women Engineers and currently serves as their Director of Membership Initiatives.

Past recipients:

  • 2015 – Dr. Linda Barry, M.D., FACS, Assistant Professor of Surgery, University of Connecticut Medical School
  • 2014 – Dr. Kristine Larsen, Professor of Astronomy, Central Connecticut State University
  • 2013 – Kimberly McLean, Principal Engineer, General Dynamics Electric Boat


Whether you're a woman or girl in the sciences, or are interested in helping more girls and women enter STEM fields, the links below will help you on your way.

  • Girls RISEnet: Girls RISEnet, a partnership between the Miami Science Museum, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, and SECME, Inc., is strengthening the professional capacity of informal science educators to engage and motivate minority girls in grades 6-12 to explore and pursue science and engineering careers.
  • Ebony Horsewomen: The mission of the Ebony Horsewomen is to empower youth toward successful lives through the use of horses. Our goal is to provide Comprehensive Equine Education with profound benefits of Equine and Animal Assisted Growth and Learning, Equine Assisted Therapy, Horsemanship Training, and academic programming to build leaders, deter destructive behavior, and increase academic achievement.
  • Girl Scouts of Connecticut: Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
  • ManyMentors: Through the power of peer mentoring, ManyMentors will inspire, encourage, and support underrepresented middle and high school students’ interest in, pursuit, and attainment of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees at universities across the country.
  • The National Girls Collaborative Project: The National Girls Collaborative Project™ (NGCP) brings together organizations throughout the United States that are committed to informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in STEM.
  • American Association of University Women (AAUW): The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. Since our founding in 1881, AAUW members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day—educational, social, economic, and political.
  • National Engineers Week Foundation: Engineers Week celebrates the positive contributions engineers make to society and is a catalyst for outreach across the country to kids and adults alike. Engineers Week is part of many corporate and government cultures and is celebrated on every U.S. engineering college campus.
  • SciGirls on PBS: SciGirls is a new show for kids ages 8–12 that showcases bright, curious, real tween girls who put science and engineering to work in their everyday lives. Each half-hour episode follows a different group of middle school girls, whose eagerness to find answers to their questions will inspire your children to explore the world around them and discover that science and technology are everywhere!
  • EngineerGirl: The EngineerGirl website is designed to bring national attention to the exciting opportunities that engineering represents for girls and women.
  • uheart.wordpress.com/: Updates on health-related research by Dr. Beth Taylor, Director for the Center for Health, Care and Well-Being at the University of Hartford and Director of Exercise Physiology Research at Hartford Hospital.
  • Generating Girls' Opportunities (G2O): G2O is an initiative of The Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) designed to engage girls, parents, and teachers in expanding girls' educational opportunities.


The Connecticut Science Center’s Women in Science initiative encourages girls and young women to pursue studies and career paths in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and celebrates the achievements of women in the sciences.

The initiative seeks to bridge the gender gap in STEM by developing original programming to engage girls in science and to build the community of women in the sciences.

Special Thanks to Supporters of Women in Science at the Connecticut Science Center
Founding sponsor:

Additional support from:

Price Chopper’s Golub Foundation

Steering Committee

Committee Chair

Marie O’Brien
Board Director, Bristol Hospital and Health Care Group

Committee Vice Chair

Dr. Sandra Inga
STEM Director, Hartford Public Schools
Denise Barats
Founder, A Teen Edge
Laura Dambier
Development Consultant, Avon
Dr. Marilyn Katz
Physician, Hartford
Danielle Metcalf
Site Operations Manager, TicketNetwork
Dr. William A. Petit, Jr.
President, Petit Family Foundation
Kay Rahardjo
Course Developer, Columbia University
Ellyn Savard
Program Initiatives Manager, Girl Scouts of Connecticut
Jessica Tatarczuk
Senior Engineer, Westinghouse Electric Company
Dr. Beth Taylor
Director of Exercise Physiology Research, Hartford Hospital

#DaVinciCoder Girls-only Hackathon

If Leonardo da Vinci were alive today, what kind of apps would he create? Why don’t YOU tell US! Girls in middle and high school are invited to invent new apps or games that speak to da Vinci’s work as a genius inventor and artist. Come ready to code and to collaborate with other coding superstars! No coding experience necessary.

Saturday, May 21
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Saturday Science: Give Me the Dirt!

Discover the secrets of soil! Mingle with creepy crawlies like worms and bugs that break down organic materials to make healthy soil. Find out how you can make stellar soil to grow beautiful plants!

Location: Rooftop Garden (weather permitting) or 5th Floor Bridge

Saturday, May 21
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Presented by:

Saturday Science: Indoor Sling Shot

Make your own sling shot using materials found in your home.

Location: 5th Floor Bridge

Saturday, June 25
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Presented by:

To See a World in a Grain of Sand

Join us for an evening reception and talk with Marjorie Senechal, Ph.D. Louise Wolff Kahn Professor Emerita in Mathematics and History of Science and Technology at Smith College

A century after William Blake wrote those words, scientists figured out how to view our world in a landscape of crystals, x-rays, and geometrical models. In this talk, we’ll explore the contentious issues and unsolved problems of this landscape.

Wednesday, November 16
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
In collaboration with:

Connecticut Girls Collaborative Project

Changing your Mind

Sarah A. Raskin, Ph.D. ABPP/ABCN, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Program Trinity College
Make brain caps and pipe cleaner neurons, and use prism goggles to see how brain plasticity works.

Saturday, March 26
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Can You Make a Medicine?

Kristin Wiglesworth, Principal Scientist at Pfizer
Picture yourself as a scientist. Design a molecule and learn the role of chemistry in making medicines.

Saturday, February 27
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Blazing Quasars and Blazing Trails: A Journey of Discovery

Join us for an evening reception and talk with Jedidah Isler, Ph.D., NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University.

Building upon her passions for both science and promoting the empowerment of underrepresented groups in STEM fields, Dr. Isler will share her stories and observations of what it means to see the world around us without limits.

Wednesday, February 24
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
With support from:

Saturday Science: Exploring ME-chanics

Exploring ME-chanics with Stephany Santos, biomedical engineering student at University of Connecticut. See and learn how the human body works through the eyes of biomedical engineer. Understand human motion, cartilage tissues and cells, and make your own model(s).

Location: Level 5 Bridge

Saturday, December 12
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Presented by:

Saturday Science: Microbes Matter

Microbes Matter with Dr. Ruth A. Gyure, Professor of Microbiology at Western Connecticut State University.
Use a voltmeter to measure the output of a microbial fuel cell.
Get answers to quiz questions by looking at microbes on a Petri plate and through a microscope.

Location: Level 5 Bridge

Saturday, November 14
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Presented by:

Saturday Science: Birds of Prey

Learn how to identify birds in flight with Allison Ray, Senior Environmental Monitoring Specialist at Burns & McDonnell.

Saturday, August 8
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Presented by:

Saturday Science: Candy Nuclear Reactors

Join Jessica Tatarczuk, Senior Engineer at Westinghouse Electric Company, to explore how power plants safely generate power by building your own candy reactor.

Location: Level 5 Bridge

Saturday, April 11
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Presented by: