The LeadHERship ConferenceThe LeadHERship Conference strives to promote and amplify the voices of women and gender minorities in STEM. The conference brings together individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences for a day of motivation, networking, skill-building and professional development.
2021 LeadHERship Conference Information
The theme of this year's conference was "Learning From the Past, Facing the Future" and we are celebrating 50 years of women at Stevens. Conference programs and workshops aligned with one or more of the following thematic areas:
Trust the Science: research-based workshops on gender equity, inclusion or related topics
Foundational Leadership: skills-based workshops on leadership, inclusion and identity development
Lessons in Life and Work: highlighting voices of alumni and seasoned professionals
The New Normal: assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its future implications
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha in conversation with Dr. Kevin Ryan.
Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, FAAP, is founder and director of the Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, an innovative and model public health program in Flint, Michigan.
A pediatrician, scientist, activist and author, Dr. Hanna-Attisha has testified three times before the United States Congress and was awarded the Freedom of Expression Courage Award by PEN America. She was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World and recognized as one of USA Today’s Women of the Century for her role in uncovering the Flint water crisis and leading recovery efforts, and most recently, received the 2020 Fries Prize for Improving Health.
A frequent contributor to national media outlets, including the New York Times and Washington Post, Dr. Hanna-Attisha has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, BBC and countless other outlets championing the cause of children in Flint and beyond. She is the founding donor of the Flint Child Health and Development Fund (flintkids.org). A Covid-19 survivor, Dr. Hanna-Attisha has donated her convalescent plasma several times while continuing to advocate for health and racial equity.
With concentrations in environmental health and health policy, Dr. Hanna-Attisha received her bachelor’s degree and Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan. She completed her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and her residency at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, where she was chief resident. She is currently a Charles Stewart Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health and an associate professor of pediatrics and human development at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.
Dr. Hanna-Attisha is the author of the widely acclaimed and bestselling book What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City.
Aerospace engineer Aprille Joy Ericsson’s career is distinguished by “firsts,”, she considers her most prestigious honor of being the first person of color to receive The Washington Award from the Western Society of Engineers. She is the first African-American female to receive a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University (HU) and the first African-American female civil servant to earn an Engineering Ph.D. at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC. There she currently serves as New Business lead for the Instrument Systems and Technology Division (ISTD). During her 25+ year tenure with NASA, Dr. Ericsson has worked as Aerospace Engineer, Technologist, Project and Program Manager and Executive. She has taught at both Howard University, University of Maryland, and Bowie State University. Dr. Ericsson has been named one of the top 50 minority women working in science and engineering fields by the National Technical Association and she was ranked 8 of 20 on the 2016 list of the Most Powerful Women Engineers by Business Insider.
Ericsson was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. Raised in the projects of Bedford-Stuyvesant, she began her education being bussed to an elementary school in Brooklyn. “It didn’t take me long to realize I had an aptitude for mathematics and science,” she recalls. In her last year of junior high school, she won second place in the science fair and scored high on all her regent and citywide exams. She passed all entrance exams for New York’s technical high schools, but decided, at age 15, to move to Cambridge, Mass., where she lived with her grandparents and attended on scholarship the Cambridge School of Weston. There, she continued to excel academically and was accepted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Minority introduction To Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Science program. Ericsson coupled her early academics with extracurricular activities, including playing basketball and other sports. “I believe in living a well-rounded life,” she explains. Throughout her life she has competed in basketball, flag football and softball. She played on National ranked softball teams which have won two Coed Worlds, numerous State Championships, and a Women's military World tournaments. She has been voted women’s MVP for coed flag football. Dr. Ericsson’s dedication to youth has also continued as a basketball, softball, baseball and T-ball Coach. She also enjoys skiing, tennis and cycling for fun.
After graduating high school, she attended the MIT, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering. During her time there, she was involved in several Aerospace research projects and lead the research for Manned Mars Mission crew systems for interplanetary vehicles for her senior project. “These projects generated my strong desire to participate in manned space missions,” she explains. She applied to NASA’s astronaut program, but a history of asthma placed her on medical review.
She earned her masters and doctoral degree at Howard University (HU), Washington, D.C., where her research focused on developing practical design procedures for future orbiting space structures, like the Space Station. She received several prestigious internships, fellowships, and grants, including the NASA GSFC SIECA Summer Institute for Engineering and Computer Applications, the NASA/HU Center for Studies of Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Atmospheres, the Wright Patterson Air Force Laboratories, the NASA DC Space Grant Consortium, Dorothy Danford Compton and HU Terminal Dissertation Fellowships.
In addition to receiving funding from the NASA, while there she also held two internships and COOP positions while finishing her degree. During her first summer at GSFC she won the first student presentation competition, and as a result it is mandatory for all GSFC interns to take her seminar on “Giving Outstanding Technical Presentations”. Because of that experience, she was offered a full-time job there after she received her Ph.D. “That’s how you do it,” she says. “Once you get your foot in the door and meet people, you can show them you’re capable of doing the work.”.
As an attitude control systems specialist her satellite missions have included projects X-Ray Timing Explorer, Tropical Rain Forest Measurement Mission, and the Wilkerson Microwave Anisotropy Probe. For these projects, Ericsson developed and used programs for dynamic modeling simulation, which are invaluable in predetermining the dynamics and structural reactions of spacecraft. Following those assignments, Dr. Ericsson was detailed to NASA HQs as a Program Executive for Earth Science, and a Business Executive for Space Science. She returned to GSFC for a long tenure as an Instrument Project Manager, where she led spaceflight instrument teams and proposal developments for instruments ranging from $15M to $500M. More she served as the Capture Manager for a proposed $250M Astrophysics mid-sized Class Explorer, called STAR-X. Prior to that proposal development, Dr. Ericsson served as the GSFC Program Manager for Small Business and Innovative Research (SBIR) in the Innovative Technology Partnerships Office. Currently, she leads the Agency’s small business acquisition of “Sensors and Detectors” as the SBIR S1 Topic Manager. Formerly, she served as the Deputy to the Chief Technologist for the Engineering and Technology Directorate and Acting Associate Chief Technologist of ISTD.
Ericsson’s work as an aerospace engineer has presented many opportunities to fulfill her dream of advancing space flight. Additionally, she has traveled extensively throughout the world, presenting papers on her research in the US, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, England, South Africa and most recently Mexico. She has also been a Guest Researcher at Radcliffe Institute/Harvard University and she has acquired a Leadership & Management Certificate from John Hopkins University.
She speaks to young people across the country – especially minorities and women – to encourage them to follow in her footsteps. She mentors student every year and 20 years ago she created an email pipeline for groups underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. This pipeline distributes opportunities for employment, grants, internships, and fellowships. “I feel obligated to spur the interest of youth particularly minorities and females in STEM,” she says. “Without diversity in these fields, the United States will not remain technically competitive.” She currently serves as an Advisor to the DMV NSBE Jr. Chapter at Howard University. She is lead Coach for the chapters FIRST Lego League Robotics teams. Dr. Ericsson has served as former Board member, some worth noting are: HU Trustee; International Black Aerospace Council; the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine Board of Higher Education and Workforce; Blacks at MIT and, HU Middle School of Mathematics and Science Chair. Currently, she is a Board member of: MIT’s Industry Advisory Council for Minority Education; Advisory Council of Organization Black Aerospace Professionals; and Chair of the Advisory Council of HU Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Dr. Ericsson’s many honors and awards include: an Honorary Doctor of Science from Medgar Evers College; The Tau Beta Pi Alumni of Distinction; The Washington Award; The Women’s Network “Top 18 Women Who Will Change the World”; National Technical Association’s “Top 50 Minority Women in Science and Engineering”; the Women in Science and Engineering Award for Engineering Achievement; the Black Engineers Award Conference Special Recognition Award; and several NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Honor Awards which include an Excellence in Outreach and Technical awards for several Space mission projects.
Dr. Ericsson has always pursued are ambitious undertakings and has never shied away from aiming high. In fact, she lives by these words of Norman Vincent Peale: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
Deanne Bell is an engineer, television host, and entrepreneur. Her television hosting credits include PBS, ESPN, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, DIY Network, and most recently CNBC’s ‘Make Me a Millionaire Inventor'. Deanne is also the founder and CEO of Future Engineers, an education technology company that engages students in online contests and challenges. Future Engineers' inaugural competition, developed with the ASME Foundation and NASA, produced historic achievements including the first student-designed 3D print in space. Her company has since become a US Department of Education SBIR awardee, and was selected by NASA to host the Mars 2020 "Name the Rover” contest. Deanne lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and two young children. She earned her mechanical engineering degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and she is the 2019 Young Alumni Award recipient for its McKelvey School of Engineering.
Malena is a high-level executive in the cosmetic industry who consistently builds value for employers and clients. For over 25 years, Malena’s creativity and business savvy have brought success at companies like Revlon, Coty, Honeywell, and Ajinomoto, among others. Her client and partner list include L’Oréal, Estee’ Lauder, P&G, Elizabeth Arden, Unilever, and more. Today, Malena is Managing Partner at MAldecoa & Associates, LCC. A Hoboken High School graduate, Malena was among the first class of women admitted to Stevens when the university became coed in 1971. During her time at Stevens she served as the Secretary in the Latin American Association. Earning her BS in Chemical Engineering and MS in Management Science, Malena is now celebrated as the first Latin American woman to graduate from Stevens in 1975.
Carla Harris is vice chairman of wealth management and senior client advisor at Morgan Stanley. She was chair of the Morgan Stanley Foundation from 2005 to 2014, and sits on the boards of several community organizations. In August 2013, Ms. Harris was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the National Women’s Business Council. Ms. Harris joined Morgan Stanley in 1987 after earning an AB in economics from Harvard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Among her many accolades, Ms. Harris has been named to Fortune’s list of “The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America,” American Banker’s “Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance,” Black Enterprise’s “Top 75 Most Powerful Women in Business” and “Top 75 African Americans on Wall Street,” Essence’s list of “The 50 Women Who are Shaping the World," and Ebony’s “Power 100” and “15 Corporate Women at the Top.”
Ms. Harris is the author of several books including Authenticity: The Power Is You, The 90-Day Rule, Perception is the Co-Pilot to Reality, Leverage Your Voice, Expect to Win: Show Up With Your Best Self Every Day, and, most recently, Strategize to Win. Ms. Harris is also an accomplished gospel singer. While at Harvard, she sang with the world-renowned Radcliffe Chorale Society and in her own band Rhythm Company. She has performed four sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall and released several albums.
Jennifer Casson Tripucka is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the popular lifestyle site Hoboken Girl (HobokenGirl.com). She has also served as a digital editor at BRIDES Magazine (of Condé Nast). Before her digital and writing dreams came to fruition, Jennifer's career started with an interest in human behavior — she served as a school counselor in public education for over five years, after obtaining her undergraduate and Master's degrees in psychology from Lehigh University. She lives in Hoboken with her husband and French Bulldog, Pierre.
2021 LeadHERship Conference Workshops
It’s not exaggerating to say that Stevens Institute might not exist without the efforts of Martha Bayard Stevens. While the women of the Stevens family offer insightful examples of leadership, philanthropy, and community building, their stories are not as well-known as those of the male inventors in the family. Panelists will underscore the role of teaching, museum outreach, and archival preservation in disseminating these narratives, and will share ways that the audience can get involved.
Panelists: Leah Loscutoff, Ted Houghtaling, Eileen Lynch, and Dr. Lindsey Swindall
Moderator: Vivian Touch '23
The panel moderator, Vivian Touch ‘23, is a Business Management Major and chairperson of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Panelists are: Eileen Lynch, Director of Development and Programming Manager at the Hoboken Historical Museum, Leah Loscutoff, Head of the University Archives and Special Collections, Ted Houghtaling, Archivist and Digital Projects Librarian at the Samuel C. Williams Library, and Dr. Lindsey Swindall who teaches in the College of Arts and Letters.
As women who choose to pursue studies and careers in science and technology, we face unique challenges. Join Joelle Hinds, class of 1993, as she shares her experiences through the twists and turns of life – both professionally and personally. Gain insights into the varied paths our lives can take, find solace that your contributions are invaluable in many capacities, and uncover common bonds even through life’s different journeys.
Presenter: Joelle Hinds ‘93
Joelle earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Stevens, holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation, and is part of the Benchmark Income Group team (Dallas, TX). She is a member of the Stevens Board of Trustees (Alumni Trustee) and the Texas Bar Association Grievance Committee. Joelle has two missions: to walk alongside clients and provide financial guidance as they navigate through Life Events, and to assist Black families with building wealth legacies
Though the term was coined in 1970, Imposter Syndrome has been plaguing high achieving people for years, especially women. This workshop will teach you what imposter syndrome is, how prevalent it is as a woman in business and how to identify the signs that it is affecting you. . When building your professional brand, self-doubt can only hinder your potential. By attending this workshop, you will learn ways to transfer blame away from yourself and build habits that will eradicate self-doubt.
Presenter: Julianne Greco ‘20 MBA ‘21
Julianne Greco is an MBA student at Stevens and a Corporate Strategy Associate with SUEZ. She works directly with the Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Executive Officer to implement North America Strategy and track performance across the organization. She was selected to lead Sustainability Coordination and ESG initiatives for the North America Region and is a Board Member of the Leadership Development Business Resource Group, where she hosts leadership development workshops for her colleagues.
This presentation aims to explore various data and reports highlighting the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on women in the STEM field with a focus on black and Latino women. These two groups have experienced the worst of the CV-19 crisis and continue to face greater challenges than their male counterparts as the pandemic rages on.
Presenters: James Salvadon ‘02 and Berthilde Dufrene
James Salvadon is a professor of Mathematics at Rockland Community College with 28 years of teaching experience. As a software engineer and one of the original online instructors, he helped many colleges make the transition from distance learning to online learning in the mid 1990’s. He’s a strong believer in the power of innovative use of technology in the classroom and online learning. Berthilde Dufrene has held several positions in marketing and administrative support at International Business Machines, Inc (IBM) and is presently serving as the Chief Nursing Officer for the New York State Office of Mental Health Corrections Based Operations. Dr. Dufrene is the founder of the Haitian American Nurses Association and the Haitian Cultural Heritage Preservation, Inc. She is a published author, acclaimed leader and sought-after speaker on leadership, mental health and addiction.
“What's your dream job?” vs. “Do you dream of labor?” are two different questions. What does having a "dream job" mean? Do we dream of labor? Should we? Through historical contexts to modern ideologies, we will explore the concept of a dream job. We will revisit childhood dreams of becoming an astronaut or pop star, and how that morphed into dreaming of working at investment banks or small nonprofits. It is never too early or late to reconsider your dreams and how they align with earning a paycheck.
Presenter: Monica Anne Razak ‘19
Monica Anne Razak is a creative critical thinker, a passionate environmentalist, and a plant mom. Currently working as a full-time software engineer, part-time fashion designer, and part-part-time content creator, Monica always finds time to scour Tiktok for controversial career topics and form controversial opinions about them. Monica graduated from Stevens in 2019 with a Masters in Engineering Management and a Bachelors in Computer Science.
Join this moderated panel & audience discussion highlighting how women can develop their leadership style in male-dominated industries. With careers in engineering and general contracting in the building and construction industry, a diverse panel of 3 alumnae will share the growth that led to their career success. The panelists have 15+ years of experience developing their personal styles throughout different stages in their careers, leading them to leadership positions in their organizations.
Panelists: Brooke Dubinski (BE '05), Christina Martinez (BE '94/ME '96) and Lisa Peterson (BE '02).
Moderator: Dione Francis (BE '99/MS '05)
Dione Francis is the Operations Manager of the New Jersey Business Unit of Turner Construction. During her time on campus she played varsity soccer, helped start the women's lacrosse club, was involved with the Society of Women Engineers and was a member of the Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority. Lisa Peterson is an Associate Vice President and Business Unit Manager for the Mount Laurel Office of Dewberry. She was President of the student chapter of both the American Society of Civil Engineers and Chi Epsilon (Civil Engineering Honor Society) as well as serving as an RA and being a member of Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority. Brooke Dubinski is a Senior Estimator at Turner Construction. While at Stevens, she was an active member of Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority and a RA in The Lore-El Center, participating in various programs such as E.C.O.E.S. Cristina Martinez is a Business Development Director at Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers. She was involved with the Stevens Technical Enrichment Program and Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority while attending Stevens.
Business-level branding has been a key part of the economy since the Industrial Revolution. Today, children who are not yet old enough to read can recognize popular brands like McDonald’s and Nike. But, what about personal branding...those unique combinations of skills and experiences that make a person...that person? Together we will explore how to take methodologies typically allocated to organizations (business models, mission/vision statements, capability maps) and use them on your person to discover what makes you unique and come alive. The foundation is YOU. This workshop is designed for ANYONE who wants their wisdom and experience to be more discoverable, shareable, and memorable.
Presenter: Kathleen Walsh ‘11
Kathleen Walsh is currently the Chief of Staff for Network Integration at Verizon. She is known for her creativity and innovative projects - and before Verizon she was a senior innovation strategist with the Department of Defense, she developed the Army's first Business capability map. After receiving her Master's in Systems Engineering from Stevens, Kathleen became fascinated with applying architecture to all sorts of things - from war games to film-making to Virtual Reality to herself.
Mindfulness has been practiced for thousands of years. However, only in the past century have researchers taken clinical interest in comprehending its connection to mental and physical health. Studies indicate daily meditation and self-care increases productivity, memory retention, focus and stamina while decreasing cortisol. This workshop provides an introduction to the science behind mindfulness and attendees will develop actionable steps to become more productive, focused, and refreshed.
Presenter: Dr. Robyn Ashmen
Robyn Ashmen is an adjunct professor in the School of Business and Doctor of Health Science candidate at Drexel University. Ms. Ashmen developed leadership training courses for CentraState Hospital, the VNA and the American College of Healthcare Administrators. A recipient of the NAWC’s Management Innovation of the Year Award, Ms. Ashmen is a Girl Scout Leader, coach and former board member of Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, Rahway Arts Council and Hackensack Meridian NICU Advisory Board.
This workshop will focus on helping the participants develop a deeper understanding of what knowledge and skills are needed to practice inclusive behaviors in various contexts. Research-based evidence will be provided, and practical tools will be discussed and practiced during the workshop. There will also be an opportunity to develop action plans based on the discussions.
Presenter: Dr. Wei Zheng
Wei Zheng is an Associate Professor of Management and the Richard R. Roscitt Endowed Chair in Leadership. Her research, teaching, and practice lie at the intersection of leadership and diversity, answering questions such as what practices and mechanisms enhance diversity, how individuals grow into leaders, how leaders influence learning and innovation, and how women leaders navigate gendered organizations. She has studied leadership in corporate, entrepreneurial, and faith-based organizations.
Often we look to scientific evidence to substantiate sociocultural beliefs, for example, that humans exist in a sex binary, and that our biologies must reflect that binarism. Funding, theories, and research outcomes demonstrate this: geneticists relentless look for the "gay gene," testosterone is misappropriated as the "male hormone," brain science continually asks about the difference between "male" and "female" brains. But what does the science actually say?
Presenter: Dr. Amber Benezra
Dr. Amber Benezra is an Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies in CAL. She is a sociocultural anthropologist researching how studies of the human microbiome intersect with biomedical ethics, public health/technological infrastructures, and care. In partnership with human microbial ecologists, she is developing an "anthropology of microbes" to address global health problems across disciplines.
Sometimes the best path from point A to point B is not a straight line. Follow the twists and turns of one alumna's career through 8 very different industries and 7 unique functional roles into the position she feels she was always meant to play.
Presenter: Laura Paglione ‘90
Laura Paglione has over 25 years of experience in start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, including both commercial and nonprofit organizations. Her career has supported industries across technology commercialization, software development, global research infrastructure, not-for-profit management, broadcast, automotive, and others. She is a frequent domestic and international speaker and writer about these industries as well as open science, persistent identifiers, and innovation.