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UConn Women Garner Women of Innovation Awards

The School of Engineering was well represented among the Connecticut Technology Council’s 2010 Women of Innovation finalists and award recipients. The women were feted during a January 20 networking and awards event at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.

The Women of Innovation program recognizes women — in the workforce and students — across Connecticut who are innovators, role models and leaders in their technology professions or fields of study. Women were nominated in eight categories of achievement honoring leadership and innovation in academia, industry and community.

Before an audience of over 600 influential leaders from industry, government and academia, Dr. Baikun Li, assistant professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE); Ms. Claire Weiss, a doctoral student in Materials Science & Engineering; Engineering Advisory Board member Heidi Douglas; and Dr. Marja Hurley, Associate Dean and Professor of Medicine at the UConn Health Center, were selected from among the 59 impressive finalists feted.

group photo

Among the finalists honored from UConn were Dr. Guiling Wang, associate professor of CEE and director of the Environmental Engineering program, Ms. Emily Tao, a UConn senior in Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering, Jamie Maciaszek, a doctoral student in Biomedical Engineering, and Dr. Linda Strausbaugh, a professor of Molecular & Cell Biology. Several UConn engineering alumni were also honored as finalists: Darlene Nebinger, principal product development engineer with Covidien Surgical Devices, and Deborah Orosz, manager of Engineering Effectiveness in the Aerospace Power Systems group of Hamilton Sundstrand.

Claire Weiss, who is conducting her doctoral research under the guidance of Dr. Pamir Alpay, an associate professor in the Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering department, received the Collegian Innovation and Leadership award.

Heidi Douglas (CLAS ’77), founder and managing partner of Nuventus LLC and a member of the School of Engineering’s Advisory Board, received the Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership award. Nuventus is a professional services firm focused on lead generation, sales and marketing of innovative, high tech and life sciences products. Earlier in her career, Ms. Douglas was co-founder — with her husband, UConn Engineering alumnus Joel Douglas — President and CEO of MysticMD Inc.

Dr. Baikun Li, an expert in environmental sensing who is collaborating with engineering consultants at Fuss & O’Neill to advance commercial-scale bacterial energy production at wastewater treatment plants, garnered the Research Innovation and Leadership award.

Dr. Marja Hurley, who captured the Academic Innovation and Leadership award, is recognized internationally for her contributions involving cellular and molecular biology of bone.

Finalists were nominated by their peers and selected based on their professional experience, history of innovation, ability to think creatively and solve problems and demonstration of leadership.

The Connecticut Technology Council is the state’s industry association for the technology sector.