Tara Spann is formerly of Eversource Energy where she led and managed diversity and inclusion for New England’s largest energy provider. Tara’s role and responsibilities included development of strategic planning and oversight of its execution.
Prior to joining Eversource, Tara served as director of global economic inclusion & supplier diversity for Merck, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Tara lead Merck’s success in supplier diversity to be the 1st pure pharma company to be inducted into the Billion Dollar Roundtable, an exclusive organization that recognizes and celebrates corporations that achieved spend of at least $1 billion with minority and women-owned suppliers. Preceding Merck, Tara developed the strategy and managed the execution for supplier diversity at Bristol-Myers Squibb internationally.
As the executive director of diversity initiatives for Staples, Inc., Tara created a competitive revenue generating center of excellence to support national and international sales through diverse strategic alliances. During her tenure at Staples, Inc. she increased top line sales thru alliances from $100K to $325M. Her responsibilities extended to workforce diversity & inclusion for the North America salesforce. Tara reported to the President of North American Delivery who reported to the CEO.
At Harvard University, Tara served as senior software licensing negotiator where she negotiated the terms and conditions of enterprise-wide software contracts. Tara also served as contract manager in Harvard University’s procurement management department.
Prior to joining Harvard University, Tara was an intellectual property legal & engineering consultant for two law firms in Silicon Valley and senior engineer for the U.S. Navy Department of Defense with top secret security clearance overseeing communications and weapons systems.
Tara is a graduate of Northeastern University in Electrical Engineering and Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts.
Panelists and Moderators
Professor Chiara M. F. Mingarelli is a gravitational-wave astrophysicist based at the Flatiron Institute's Center for Computational Astrophysics, where she is an Associate Research Scientist. Mingarelli also has a joint appointment with the University of Connecticut. Previously, Mingarelli was a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellow at the California Institute of Technology, and at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy.
Mingarelli received her Ph.D from the University of Birmingham (UK) in 2014, where she worked with Prof. Alberto Vecchio. Her core research is focused on using Pulsar Timing Arrays to detect low-frequency gravitational waves, with forays into electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational-wave events, such as fast radio bursts.
Mingarelli's honors and awards include APS "Woman Physicist of the Month" for November 2016, her thesis was published in the Springer Thesis Series (2015), and grants from the Royal Astronomical Society and the UK Institute of Physics for both research and outreach. She has written an invited guest article for Scientific American, and contributes to Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls.
Simil Raghavan directs the EngineerGirl program for the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). She has worked with the NAE since beginning as a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow in 2007. She received her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2008 and is a longtime member of the Society of Women Engineers. Through over ten years with the NAE Simil has dedicated her career to efforts to strengthen the nation’s engineering workforce. She spent ten years supporting the Online Ethics Center working to develop the nation’s go to online resource for ethics education in engineering and science. She has been engaged with the EngineerGirl program since 2007 growing it from a static website to an interactive platform that supports education and hands on engagement for girls and young women around the world. As part of this program she developed the Gallery of Women Engineers from a static collection of 20 engineering profiles to an engaging group of over 300 volunteer role models; and she launched the EngineerGirl Ambassadors program to train and support high school girls serving as mentors for younger girls in engineering. Simil is currently working on developing new NAE programs that will support diversity and inclusion in all areas of engineering as well as expanding the Ambassadors program to reach more young women around the country. She resides with her family in Cambridge, MA but travels as needed to her office in Washington, DC.
Dr. Amy S. Bower has been a Senior Scientist in the Department of Physical Oceanography at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution since 2005. She is currently serving a four-year term as the department’s first female chair. Amy grew up in coastal New England, where she developed a love for the outdoors, especially on the water. Supportive math and physics teachers in high school encouraged her to pursue physics as an undergraduate at Tufts University, where she earned a B.S. in 1981. While there, Amy enrolled in Sea Semester, and off-campus inter-disciplinary program covering all topics related to the ocean. This is where Amy discovered the field of physical oceanography and decided to pursue a graduate degree. She attended the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, earning a Ph.D. in 1988, then moved to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as a postdoctoral scholar. Amy specializes in the observation of deep ocean currents using freely drifting buoys tracked underwater with sound. While in graduate school, she was diagnosed with macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, which eventually led to legal blindness. She continued with research and teaching by taking advantage of assistive technologies for magnification and speech output from computers. Amy lives with her husband David, 18-year-old daughter Sara, two retired guide dogs and her current guide Intrepid. She was recently on a combined sighted-blind sailing team, Wind Whisperers, that twice won the World Blind Fleet Sailing Championship.
Amanda Hough graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology and Masters in Education K-12 Administration from American International College. She is currently a Teacher at Mashpee Middle High School in her fifteenth year. She teaches Technology, Engineering, Robotics, and Intro to Computer Science at the secondary level. Amanda has been recognized for her innovative efforts in STEM Education including in 2020 as a Teacher of Excellence for Technology and Engineering by ITEEA, in 2019 as the Massachusetts STEM Teacher of the Year, and the 2019 MassTEC Technology and Engineering Teacher of the Year. Her Technology and Engineering Program was recognized as a Program of Excellence Award Winner in 2019 by ITEEA. She is the VEX Robotics Competition Team Coach which is 20 strong and boasts a girl powered group. She is a board member of MassTEC and member of the following professional organizations ITEEA, NSTA, MassCUE, and ISTE. She has presented at the previous professional organization’s conferences on the
following topics EPortfolios for Authentic Assessment of Project Based Learning, SeaPerch ROVS for All 5th Graders, Cross Aged Student Teaching through Robotics, Computer Programming, and Electronics Maker Projects, Creating a Scalable Robotics Program, and Connecting Globally through Engineering Projects. Amanda truly believes in cross age student teaching and collaborates frequently with teachers within her school district to create authentic learning experiences for all students. Amanda makes her home on Cape Cod with her husband Patrick, and four children Ryan, Sean, Ashlynn, and Brendan.
Dorene Price, Chief IP Counsel, is a patent attorney and head of the Intellectual Property Legal Group at Brookhaven National Laboratory. She received both her BSc and MSc degrees from Binghamton University where she studied chemistry and industrial engineering. Ms. Price completed her MSc degree with thesis while working as staff scientist in an advanced technology and validation group focused on automation of quality control and other analytical test methods at a pharmaceutical company before leaving to switch gears and attend Albany Law School where she received her J.D. While in law school she worked at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, but has spent her more than 20 year legal career in patent law in private practice and as in-house counsel.
Sabine von Sengbusch is Vice President of Validation/Clinical Affairs in the Laboratory Diagnostics business of Siemens Healthineers. Her global team of 135 scientists and clinicians perform internal and external studies and trials to ensure lab diagnostic products meet design input requirements and user needs.
Prior to this role, she served as Vice President of the Program Management Office after joining the Diagnostics business from Siemens Corporate Audit in 2011. Before that, Ms. von Sengbusch held multiple customer-facing positions within Siemens, including in the functions of Marketing, Project Management, Business Development and Strategic Account Management. Ms. von Sengbusch first joined Siemens in 1991 as part of Corporate Communications at the global headquarters in Munich.
In addition to her current R&D responsibilities, she also serves as the Co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Council for Siemens Healthineers U.S., has served as the Executive Sponsor of the Pride Network, and been an active participant in Siemens’ Women’s Networking group. Ms. von Sengbusch actively mentors young professionals, both within and outside of Siemens Healthineers. Through her involvement in the Ron Brown Scholar program, she is also instrumental in providing internships to scholars annually.
Ms. von Sengbusch holds an MA in Social Sciences from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich (1991) and an MBA from University of Washington (2001).
Outside of Siemens Healthineers, she is passionate about sailing. Beside striving to become proficient in boating aspects from marine diesel mechanics to safety at sea, she is working towards her captain’s license. She also actively supports the STEM to Stern campaign at Hudson River Community Sailing.
Sandra Begay, the daughter of a Navajo tribal leader and a public health nurse, is a member of the Navajo Nation and she has been an engineer for 32 years.
Sandra earned an Associates of Science degree in Pre-Engineering, a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of New Mexico (UNM) and a Master of Science from Stanford University in Structural Engineering with an emphasis in Earthquake Engineering.
Sandra has worked at Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) for 27+ years, where she is a research and development engineer. In 2019, Sandra took a leave of absence and worked for Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller as the City’s Environmental Health Director. Before Sandia, Sandra worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
From 2002 through 2018, Sandra formally mentored American Indian interns through the Sandia/Department of Energy Indian Energy Program, which she created. She is proud to have mentored 42 technical American Indian and Alaska Native college students, which included 24 women interns (60% of the total were women). The interns have become highly regarded technical staff members and leaders within tribal organizations, industry, academia, and non-profit groups.
Sandra has enjoyed 16 years of unique work focused on providing technical assistance to U.S. tribes. Sandra is featured in the American Society of Civil Engineers book “Changing Our World: True Stories of Women Engineers." Included in the chapter "Women in Power," Sandra’s efforts were described as providing electricity through solar panels to hundreds of Navajo members.
Shawna Young is a passionate educator who joined Duke TIP in July 2016 after serving as the executive director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Office of Engineering Outreach Programs (OEOP) for eight years. As TIP’s executive director, she leads a team of 85+ full-time employees and 1,200+ seasonal staff members, who provide over 13,000 gifted students with online and face-to-face educational programming at 20+ top universities and institutions across the country, including Duke University. Shawna also leads the charge to identify and support over 450,000 students a year with resources through Duke TIP’s talent searches and research efforts.
In her prior position at MIT, Shawna oversaw the OEOP’s strategic planning process, operational budget, program evaluation, advisory boards, and the stewardship of current funders. Before joining the OEOP, she managed the Diversity Initiative at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, worked at the Educational Development Center in online curriculum development, and taught science for several years at public high schools in North Carolina.
She received a BS in chemistry from Howard University and an MAT in science education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also completed a certificate in nonprofit management and leadership from Boston University and holds an MBA from MIT Sloan.
In addition to her work at TIP, she serves on advisory boards for the William and Ida Friday Institute for Education Innovation and the National Girls Collaborative.
Bridgette Yang is a student at Colgate University in New York. At Colgate, she is studying Biology and double minoring in Education Studies and Chemistry. After graduating from Colgate, she intends to obtain a Master’s degree in Public Health (MPH), and in Business Administration (MBA), then attending medical school or veterinary school. In addition to her academic interests, she enjoys working with nonprofit organizations, such and Maui Humane Society, and Morrisville Friendship Inn. She is also committed to learning about political issues, and finding ways to build solidarity and understanding between different social groups. Being born and raised in Hawaii, Ms. Yang had the privilege of growing up surrounded by diverse, but unified, people. She looks forward to being part of—and building—a community that is inclusive to all people.
Gwyneth Packard is a Senior Engineer in the Oceanographic Systems Laboratory (OSL) at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) where she writes control code for the REMUS family of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). AUVs are untethered vehicles operating with little or no communication link back to an operator while underway. Gwyneth’s work is focused on improving vehicle decision making; increasing the vehicle’s self-perception, survivability, and the vehicle’s ability to adapt to its environment.
As a bi-racial woman in engineering, she has always worked to improve representation of women in traditionally male-dominated fields, and to increase representation of under-represented minorities throughout STEM fields. She connected with the cultural and diversity centers at every step in the path that led her through Physics, Physical Oceanography, and Computer Science. She has her B.S. in Physics from Pennsylvania State University, her Masters of Science in Physical Oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program, several years of industry work in Computer Science, and nearly eight years in her current lab.
She is currently serving as the Co-chair for the WHOI Committee On Diversity and Inclusion, serving asS liaison for WHOI’s membership in the Institute for Broadening Participation, and generally supporting these goals in her Department, Institution, and community.
Stella Kafka, PhD Astronomy, is the Executive Director (CEO) of the American Association of Variable Star Observers. Before her tenure at the AAVSO, she held positions at CTIO, Spitzer Science Center/Caltech, Carnegie Institution of Washington/DTM and AIP Publishing. She is passionate for community building through science. She aspires to create safe spaces for women and minorities, and break unconscious biases that generate barriers for women the workplace and in life. The sky is not the limit …
Linda Brunner is Vice President, Digital Engagement at Siemens Healthineers, with global responsibility to drive customer-centric interactions and transactions via the company’s digital presence and across all online touchpoints…serving employees, sales partners, customers as well as other external stakeholders. Linda is based in Tarrytown, NY. She leads a team of 50+ in 9 different locations and covering time zones from Shanghai to Los Angeles. Linda has held positions of increasing scope at Siemens for over 10 years. She was with Bayer Healthcare Diagnostics prior to the Siemens’ acquisition. Linda was formerly Director, Perkin Elmer Instruments, where she directed a staff of Marketing and Product Managers responsible for strategic direction, product development, marketing, and global commercialization of several product lines and platforms.
Linda started her career as a Research Scientist performing Pharmacokinetics and Drug Metabolism R&D at Pfizer, Ciba-Geigy and Novartis. Linda has authored more than 15 scientific publications, served on the editorial board of J Chrom/Biomed Appl; and, received a Pioneer in Laboratory Automation award. She was on the DXMA Board of Directors for 5 years, including Vice President, Interactive Initiatives. She is currently National Chair of the ANA B2B Committee. In addition, Linda is currently the Chair of Siemens Healthineers Diversity & Inclusion Council USA. Linda is married, the proud mom of 2 teenage boys, loves to ski, sail and play tennis, and lives with her family in Pleasantville, NY.