Iowa Women of Innovation awards recap
The Women of Innovation awards recognize the achievement of female Iowans in one of several categories ranging from leadership in large companies to education in the University setting to the works of the next generation of leaders in the high school ranks.
The accomplishments of the professional women were certainly impressive but it was the collegian and youth finalists who created the most buzz in the room, such as one University of Iowa woman who, in addition to triple majoring as an undergraduate, has put the wheels in motion for the creation of a hospital in India as well as participated on the team that designed a low cost appliance for sanitizing drinking water in developing countries that has been named by Discover Magazine as one of the "10 Everyday Technologies That Can Change the World."
In the Youth category, several high school-aged women were recognized for their tremendous strides in science, technology and mathematics, and a few have already produced scientific research with tangible results that is already being put into use. In the words of closing speaker Gary Scholten, EVP and CIO of The Principal Financial Group, many of those in the audience felt "inadequate" in comparison.
The event featured a keynote discussion by Dr. Lilia Abron, a University of Iowa graduate who is a pioneer in the field of Chemical Engineering and the Founder and CEO of Washington, DC-based environmental consulting firm PEER Consultants, P.C.
The emcee for the evening was enjoyable and accomplished Des Moines IP attorney and Iowa Army National Guard Brigadier General Janet E. Phipps Burkhead.
Congratulations to each of the winners:
- Research Innovation and Leadership: Dr. Tong "Toni" Wang - Iowa State University
- Academic Innovation and Leadership (Secondary): Julie Hill - Lisbon High School
- Academic Innovation and Leadership (Post Secondary): Dr. Gail Bishop - University of Iowa
- Government/Non-Profit Innovation and Leadership: Tracy Warner - City of Ames
- Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership: Christal Mickle - KemPharm, Inc.
- Large Company Leadership: Louise Billmeyer - Principal Financial Group
- Large Company Innovation: Dr. Zoraida DeFreitas - Kemin Health
- Collegian Innovation and Leadership: Alexandra Keenan - University of Iowa
- Youth Innovation and Leadership: Hillary Stintsman - Chariton High School
To paraphrase Gary Scholten, events such as the Women of Innovation Awards are important because they allow us to showcase the level of talent and "tell the tale" of how we are innovating in Iowa. I agree wholeheartedly and the finalists involved in Tuesday's event are just a few of the examples of the innovation happening across the creative class on the Silicon Prairie.