Women In Science

Welcome to Women in Science programs at the Connecticut Science Center.

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.

Events & Programs


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.


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, MD, 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

2016 #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.



First Place

Talking To DaVinci
This app will help children and adults learn more about Leonardo da Vinci by letting people of all ages ask da Vinci questions and receive his answers! You can ask questions about him and his life by “texting with” him, and you can also involve your friends by texting AS him. Ask your friends to send the keyword “da Vinci” to your number while you have the app open (case sensitive). The app will answer your friends with a quote from Leonardo.


Runner-up

DaVinci Play
This app allows players to use da Vinci’s machines and designs in trials. It gives people the opportunity to try out da Vinci’s experiments in a variety of mini-games!




Special thanks to Presenting Sponsor First Niagara Foundation, Supporting Sponsor TicketNetwork, and Media Sponsor Teentivity. Additional support provided by the Jackson-Batchelder Family Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the S.A. Johnson Family Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. Special thanks to Program Partner Connecticut Computer Science Teachers Association.

Resources


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. The 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 of and attainment of 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 is the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. Since its 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.
Special Thanks to Supporters of Women in Science at the Connecticut Science Center
Founding sponsor:
Additional support from:

Price Chopper’s Golub Foundation

Event Photos

Steering Committee

Committee Chair

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

Committee Vice Chair

  • Sandra Inga, Ph.D
    STEM Director, Hartford Public Schools

Committee Members

  • Denise Barats
    Founder, A Teen Edge
  • Elizabeth W. Brady, MD, FACS
    Breast Surgery, Hartford HealthCare Medical Group
  • Katherine Coughlin
    Project Leader, GE Energy Management
  • Laura Dambier
    Development Consultant, Avon
  • Marilyn Katz, MD
    Physician, Hartford
  • Meryl Mallery
    Vice President of Engineering, Ensign-Bickford Aerospace and Defense
  • Danielle Metcalf
    Site Operations Manager, TicketNetwork
  • William A. Petit, Jr., MD
    President, Petit Family Foundation
  • Kay Rahardjo
    Course Developer, Columbia University
  • Ellyn Savard
    Program Initiatives Manager, Girl Scouts of Connecticut
  • Beth Taylor, Ph.D
    Director of Exercise Physiology Research, Hartford Hospital
  • Chinma Uche, Ph.D
    President, Connecticut Computer Science Teachers Association

Conscious Artificial Intelligence?

If and when you encounter an AI, it is best to look beyond superficialities, like a humanlike appearance. Perhaps only biological beings can have experience, or perhaps super-intelligent AI doesn’t need to be conscious. Susan Schneider proposes a test for determining whether AI can be conscious. Her work wrestles with vexed issues such as the nature of the mind, whether AI can be conscious, preparing for artificial general intelligence (AGI), super-intelligent AI, and futuristic brain enhancements, such as brain chips and uploading.

Susan Schneider is an associate professor of philosophy and cognitive science at the University of Connecticut and a member of the Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics at Yale University. Dr. Schneider writes about matters involving the nature of the self, which she examines from the vantage point of issues in philosophy of mind and cognitive science.

$10 Adults, $5 Members, Corporate Members, Seniors, Students
Includes admission to Alien Worlds and Androids, and 1 drink ticket

For more information and to register, contact Amy Sailor at asailor@ctsciencecenter.org or (860) 520-2163.

Thursday, October 26
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Presented by:

Dr. Susan Schneider, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy and Cognitive Science Program, The University of ConnecticutInterdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, Yale University

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