UConn researchers took home top prizes in three categories at The Connecticut Technology Council’s 15th annual Women of Innovation awards gala. Of the 51 finalists honored at this year’s gala, ten were from UConn or UConn Health.
The event recognizes women leaders within Connecticut’s technology community whose work paves the way for future breakthroughs. Honorees range from researchers, academics, and educators to student leaders, entrepreneurs, and technicians.
“We are thrilled that the Connecticut Technology Council has recognized so many of UConn’s most innovative researchers for their contributions to their respective fields,” says Radenka Maric, vice president for research at UConn and UConn Health. “Thanks to the work of these preeminent scientists, UConn research is not only leading to important breakthroughs today, it is laying the groundwork for a better tomorrow.”
Women of Innovation finalists are nominated by their peers, coworkers, and mentors, and are selected based on their professional experience, demonstration of leadership, history of innovation, and ability to think creatively and solve problems.
First Lady of Connecticut, Annie Lamont, provided the keynote discussion, in which she spoke about her experiences as a woman in the venture capital industry. She offered attendees some words of advice as they forge ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship:
“Women have to visualize themselves as leaders, as CEOs. When you believe in yourself, other people will believe in you too.”
UConn Category Winners:
Jinbo Bi, Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Research Innovation & Leadership Category
Bi is a world leader in leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) to diagnose disease, treat complex disorders, and understand the biological basis of pathologies. She has 11 awarded and nine pending U.S. patents for the use of AI tools and methods for biological applications.
Yan Li, Graduate Student, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Collegian Innovation & Leadership Category
Li has made meaningful contributions to Connecticut’s energy landscape. She serves as a mentor for both undergraduate and graduate engineering students. She has authored over 35 papers, has contributed to two books, and holds four patents for microgrid stability technology.
Stephany Santos, Graduate Student, Department of Biomedical Engineering, STEM Equitability (Individual) Category
In her work to create a legacy of inclusion at UConn and beyond, Santos co-founded Engineering Ambassadors. The program aims to inspire K-12 students to enter STEM fields, has over 100 members, and has reached over 40,000 students to date. She also develops courses teaching communication and engineering empathy, with a focus on underrepresented communities.
Sarita Arteaga, Associate Dean, School of Dental Medicine
Maria Chrysochoou, Department Head & Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Katherine Coyner, Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine
Lakshmi Nair, Associate Professor of Orthopaedics, School of Medicine
Bing Yan, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Valentine Baena, Graduate Student, School of Medicine
Maryam Pardakhti, Graduate Student, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering