Summit Speakers

Lucy Sanders

Lucy Sanders

CEO and Co-founder of NCWIT

Lucy Sanders is CEO and Co-founder of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and also serves as Executive-in-Residence for the ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU).

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Mayim Bialik, PhD

Actress and Activist

Mayim Hoya Bialik currently stars as Amy Farrah Fowler in the CBS hit comedy “The Big Bang Theory,” for which she received Emmy nominations in 2012 and 2013 in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Category. In 2014, she received her first SAG Award nomination, also for her role on the show, in the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series category.

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Renée Smith


A New York native, Renée Felice Smith moved across the country for her role on the CBS hit series, “NCIS: Los Angeles.” Smith was executive producer and star of BABY, a short film that premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in March 2015. She's the writer, producer and director of the award-winning short film YOUNG(ISH), starring Broadway veterans Alvin Epstein and Patricia Conoly. Additionally, Smith directed and co-wrote a PSA for the North Shore Animal League’s Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum, an educational program that teaches emotional and social skills through the use of shelter animals.

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Leslie Aaronson

Lead Teacher and Coordinator
Foshay Learning Center Technology Academy

Leslie became a teacher in 2003, when she left her job as Production Manager for Blue’s Clues International at Nickelodeon in New York to move to her hometown of Los Angeles. In 2012, she was awarded Teacher of the Year by the Los Angeles Unified School District for her work as the Lead Teacher and Coordinator of Foshay Learning Center’s Technology Academy. Leslie teaches a group of 150-180 students from 10th -12th grade that stay together for the entire three years.

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Amy P. Abernethy, MD PhD

Duke University School of Medicine
Professor of Medicine

Amy P. Abernethy, MD PhD, a hematologist/oncologist and palliative care physician, is Professor of Medicine in the Duke University School of Medicine, Director of the Duke Center for Learning Health Care (CLHC) in the Duke Clinical Research Institute, and Chief Medical Officer at Flatiron Health — a health technology company focused on organizing the world’s cancer data and making it useful for patients, clinicians, and researchers. She is an appointee to the U.S.

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Karen Ashcraft

Karen Ashcraft

Professor of Communication
University of Colorado Boulder

Karen Lee Ashcraft is a Professor of Communication at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research examines organizational and occupational formations — such as identity, culture, and mode of governance — and is guided by an interest in relations of power and difference, particularly gender, race, sexuality, and class. Her past research explored the texture and sustainability of alternative (e.g., non-hierarchical) models of organizing, and these projects resulted in several award-winning articles on the potential of hybrid organizations.

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Owen Astrachan

Professor, Practice of Computer Science
Duke University

Owen Astrachan is Professor of the Practice of Computer Science at Duke University, where he has taught across four decades and two millennia. His undergraduate degree in mathematics is from Dartmouth College, and he has an MAT and a PhD from Duke, which he earned after teaching high school for seven years. In addition to teaching computer science, he builds curricula and approaches to teaching intended for broad adoption and adaptation.

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Colin Bodell

Colin Bodell

Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
Time Inc.

Colin Bodell was named Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Time Inc. in January 2014. Previously, Bodell served as Vice President of Amazon’s Digital Store Platform, where he led the organization responsible for the Kindle book, periodical, and magazine store, as well as the technology that supports Amazon digital content across web, Kindle and third-party devices.

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Kimberly Bryant

Kimberly Bryant

Founder and Executive Director
Black Girls Code

Kimberly Bryant is the Founder and Executive Director of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization dedicated to introducing young girls of color to the field of technology and computer programming with a concentration on entrepreneurial concepts. Bryant has spent more than 20 years in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries as an Engineering Manager in a series of technical leadership roles for various Fortune 100 companies, such as Genentech, Merck, and Pfizer.

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Thandeka Chapman

Thandeka K. Chapman, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Education Studies
University of California, San Diego

Dr. Thandeka K. Chapman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Her research focuses on desegregation policy initiatives, urban school reforms, teaching and learning in racially diverse classrooms, and teaching writing in secondary classrooms. Using her findings, she assists districts, traditional schools, and charter schools in alleviating barriers to student learning and develops policies, teaching practices, and curricula that better serve the social and academic needs of all students.

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Christine Darden

Christine Mann Darden

2015 NCWIT Pioneer Award Winner

Christine Mann Darden is a native of Monroe, North Carolina. She has a BS in Mathematics from Hampton Institute (now University) in Hampton, Virginia, an MS in Applied Mathematics from Virginia State College (now University) in Petersburg, Virginia, and a DSc in Mechanical Engineering from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Darden also holds a Certificate of Advanced Study in Management from Simmons College Graduate School of Management in Boston.

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Dr. Jill Denner

Jill Denner, PhD

Senior Research Associate

Dr. Jill Denner is Senior Research Scientist at ETR (Education, Training, Research), a non-profit organization in California and Affiliated Faculty, Center for Games and Playable Media, at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She does applied research in K-12 settings, with a focus on increasing the number of women/girls and Latino/a students who pursue and persist in courses and careers in computer science and information technology.

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Jeff Forbes

Jeffrey Forbes

Associate Professor of the Practice of Computer Science and Associate Dean
Trinity College at Duke University

Jeff Forbes is an Associate Professor of the Practice of Computer Science and an Associate Dean of Trinity College at Duke University. He received his BS and PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively. From 2011-2014, he served as a Program Director for the Education & Workforce program in the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (NSF CISE), managing programs that address the critical and complex issues of education and broadening participation in computing.

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Catherine Good, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology
Baruch College of the City University of New York

Dr. Catherine Good is an associate professor of psychology at Baruch College of the City University of New York and a member of the graduate faculty at CUNY’s Graduate Center. She received a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Kansas in 1994 and an Ad Hoc Interdisciplinary PhD in mathematics education and social psychology from The University of Texas at Austin in 2001. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University from 2001-2005. Good’s research focuses on the social factors that impact students’ academic achievement, learning, motivation, and self image.

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Amy Gurley

Amy Gurley

Senior Vice President, Global Program Lead for Women in Technology & Operations
Bank of America

Amy Gurley is the global program lead for Bank of America’s Women in Technology and Operations (WIT&O) advocacy group. WIT&O is a community of 18 chapters with over 3400 members in the United States, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. The WIT&O mission is to attract, develop and retain female talent in technology and operations at Bank of America. Amy has spent her career working alongside technologists to lead and sustain people-related change. With a B.S. from Wofford College and a M.A.

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Cathy Hawley

Cathy Hawley

Sr. Director of People Development
Return Path, Inc.

Cathy Hawley is a Sr. Director of People Development at Return Path, Inc., and has 20 years of global human resources and coaching experience. Currently, Cathy is working on building effective teams across the organization and is responsible for management coaching and development, culture, employee coaching, and development. She also runs Return Path’s partnership with NCWIT. Cathy loves spending time with her kids, snowboarding, cycling, and traveling.

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Janet Hyde

Janet Hyde

Helen Thompson Woolley Professor of Psychology and Gender & Women’s Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Janet Hyde is the Helen Thompson Woolley Professor of Psychology and Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned her BA in Mathematics from Oberlin College and her PhD in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. Author of the textbook Half the Human Experience; The Psychology of Women, much of her research has focused on using the statistical technique of meta-analysis to synthesis the vast amounts of data on psychological gender differences. Other research has addressed women balancing work and family.

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Benjamin Todd Jealous

Benjamin Todd Jealous

Kapor Capital

Benjamin Todd Jealous is a Partner at Kapor Capital, where he invests in seed-stage startup companies that use technology to solve social problems such as making poverty less expensive, high quality education more accessible, and living wage jobs more prevalent. Between 2008 and 2013, Jealous served as the president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.

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Katherine Johnson

2015 NCWIT Pioneer Award Winner

As a NASA mathematician, Katherine Johnson’s calculations include the trajectory for the space flight of Alan Shepard, the first American in space; John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth; and Apollo 11, the first human mission to the moon. Born in 1918, Katherine displayed an early love for numbers: “They tell me I counted everything,” said Katherine. She began her studies at West Virginia State University at the age of 15, where distinguished Dr. William W.

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Maggie Johnson

Maggie Johnson

Director of Education and University Relations

Maggie Johnson is Director of Education and University Relations for Google. She manages technical training and leadership development programs for Google engineers and operations staff, the information management and technical writing teams, as well as Google's educational outreach efforts. She also manages the university relations area, building strategic partnerships with faculty and labs globally. Prior to Google, Maggie was a faculty member and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University.

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Peggy Johnson

Executive Vice President, Business Development

As executive vice president of business development at Microsoft, Peggy Johnson is responsible for driving strategic business deals and partnerships across various industries with key customers, strategic innovation partners, OEMs, key accounts, third-party publishers and industry influencers. Prior to this role, Johnson spent 24 years at Qualcomm where she held various leadership positions across engineering, sales, marketing and business development.

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Rane Johnson-Stempson

Microsoft Research

Rane Johnson-Stempson is a certified partnership broker and Principal Research Director at Microsoft Research. She engages with academics worldwide to identify high-impact areas for research investigations. She is working on projects that use technology to transform how we learn about history and how we eradicate human trafficking. Johnson also serves as Microsoft Research’s lead for growing, attracting, and retaining women in research, science, and engineering.

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Yasmin Kafai

Yasmin Kafai

University of Pennsylvania

Yasmin Kafai is Professor of Learning Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a researcher and co-developer of online tools and communities (,, and to promote computational participation, crafting, and creativity across K-16. Her recent books include Connected Code: Why Children Need to Learn Programming and Connected Play: Tweens in a Virtual World. She co-authored the 2010 National Educational Technology Plan for the U.S.

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Lucy Mendel

Engineering Manager

Lucy Mendel holds two Computer Science degrees from MIT and has worked as a software engineer and manager for the past 10 years. She has spoken at Velocity on applying service-oriented architecture to tech team interactions, and at the San Francisco Dev2Dev summit on turning imposters into belongers.

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Amanda Neuf

Director, Technology Development

Amanda Neuf is a Director within AT&T’s Technology Development organization. Her team focuses on evolving the capabilities of AT&T employees to align with the company’s culture shift to better support its fast-changing business and customers. Neuf previously led the Technology Development Program, AT&T’s college new hire and intern development program.

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Katie Orenstein

Founder and CEO
The OpEd Project

Katie Orenstein, Founder and CEO of The OpEd Project, writes and speaks frequently about the intersection of media and mythology — what we think is fact or fiction and how that shapes our ideas about politics, culture, and history. She is the author of "Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale." Orenstein has worked around the world and particularly in Haiti, where she reported, consulted with the United Nations, and worked with human rights lawyers to assist victims of military and paramilitary violence in seeking justice.

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Linda Ott, PhD

Professor, Computer Science, Associate Dean for Special Initiatives (College of Sciences and Arts)
Michigan Technological University

Dr. Linda M. Ott received her PhD in Computer Science from Purdue University in 1978. She joined Michigan Technological University’s faculty shortly thereafter and chaired the Department of Computer Science from 1996 to 2010. Her early research interests were in software engineering, including software processes, software measurement, and software engineering education. She has been a co-Principal Investigator on nearly $1.5 million in grants from industry and the National Science Foundation.

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Lourdes Ramírez

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Public & Indian Housing
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Lourdes M. Castro Ramírez serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, leading the Office of Public & Indian Housing at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In this capacity, she manages a budget of more than $26 billion and leads a team of 1,300 professional employees nationwide, who oversee and support 4,000 public housing authorities and 566 Native American communities, to provide safe and quality affordable housing and create opportunities for resident self-sufficiency and improved quality of life for 3.2 million households.

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Miranda Reeves

Director of Product Management
Return Path

Before becoming Director of Product Management at Return Path, Miranda Reeves had learned early on that she had a knack for, and deep interest in, math and technology. She always believed that she could do anything she set her mind to and didn't let anything hold her back. As a young single mom, she pursued a career in the tech world, juggling full-time work, a family, college, and then graduate school all along the way. She completed her BS in Math and Computer Science at the Colorado School of Mines, and she holds an MBA in Finance and Accounting from Regis University.

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Ileana M. Rivera

Sr. Director, IT
Cisco Systems

Ileana Rivera is the Senior Director of IT for Computing and Client Productivity Services for Cisco Systems. Rivera leads the teams responsible for computing, mobility hardware/software, mobility applications, eStore, email/messaging, and cloud productivity for Cisco’s global workforce. Prior roles at Cisco include serving as the IT Regional leader for Latin America and as the Director of IS for the Client Engagement Practice within the Technical Services IT group. Before joining Cisco, Rivera held positions as TAOS Consulting and Stryker Corporation.

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Alberto I. Roca, PhD


Dr. Alberto I. Roca is Founder and Executive Director of DiverseScholar, a non-profit that seeks to diversify the workforce in the STEM disciplines, the science communication profession, and the tech industry. Roca is a first-generation Peruvian-American from Houston, Texas, who received his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His training is in biochemistry, and his current research is in visual bioinformatics to analyze protein families.

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Bobby Schnabel

Bobby Schnabel

Dean, School of Informatics and Computing
Indiana University

Bobby Schnabel is Dean of the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University. In this position he leads a multi-campus school of approximately 150 faculty and 3,000 students at the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses, including undergraduate and graduate programs in computer science and informatics, and graduate programs in data science, information science and library science. From 2009-2010, he also served as interim IU vice president for research.

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Kimberly Scott

Kimberly A. Scott, Ed.D.

Associate Professor, Women and Gender Studies
Arizona State University

Dr. Kimberly A. Scott is an Associate Professor in the Women and Gender Studies Department at Arizona State University (ASU) and Founder/Executive Director of ASU’s National Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology, which focuses on exploring, identifying, and creating innovative scholarship about underrepresented girls in STEM. Scott has published nearly 50 journal articles and has been involved with several book projects including the forthcoming COMPUGIRLS: Becoming Ourselves in This Digital Age and Women Education Scholars and Their Children’s Schooling.

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Jeremy Sonnenburg

Managing Director
RBC Capital Markets

Jeremy L. Sonnenburg is a Managing Director in RBC’s Capital Markets Technology division. He is the U.S. Regional Head of Capital Markets Technology and has global responsibilities for equities, commodities, and futures/OTC clearing technology. Jeremy sits on RBC’s Capital Markets IT Operating Committee, Global Equities Operating Committee, Commodities and Futures Operating Committee, U.S. Policy and Governance Forum, U.S. New Business Committee and the U.S. Conflicts Committee.

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Randy Stoecker

Randy Stoecker

University of Wisconsin

Randy Stoecker is a Professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, with a joint appointment in the University of Wisconsin-Extension Center for Community and Economic Development. He has worked on information technology and inequality issues since the mid-1990s, including the CATNeT project in Toledo, Ohio, and the Techshop project in Madison, Wisconsin. He specializes in providing support to a wide variety of community organizations through the practice of participatory action research.

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Betty Taylor

Betty Jeanne Taylor, PhD

Assistant Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, Division of Diversity and Community Engagement
The University of Texas at Austin

Betty Jeanne Taylor is Assistant Vice President for Strategic Initiatives within the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) at the University of Texas at Austin. Her responsibilities include working with university and school leadership in designing professional development curriculum as well as implementing practices for inclusive environments. Her research and professional practice includes work with academic colleges and departments on diversity efforts including development of inclusive classrooms and faculty recruitment and retention initiatives.

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Linda Werner

Linda Werner, PhD

Adjunct Professor, Computer Science
University of California - Santa Cruz

Dr. Linda Werner is an Adjunct Professor in the Computer Science Department and a Lecturer in the Technology and Information Management Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She also has extensive experience teaching at the community college, high school, and junior high levels, and many years of experience in software engineering. She actively works to increase the numbers of female computer science students and has participated in several projects funded by the National Science Foundation.

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Joan C. Williams

Center for WorkLife Law
Distinguished Professor of Law, UC Hastings Foundation Chair and Director

Joan C. Williams Williams is Distinguished Professor of Law and Hastings Foundation Chair at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She has played a central role in reshaping the debates over women’s advancement for the past quarter-century.

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Janice Zdankus

Janice Zdankus

Vice President, Enterprise Group
Hewlett-Packard Company

Janice Zdankus is Vice President of Quality for Hewlett-Packard’s Enterprise Group. In this role, Zdankus and her team define, create, and share information experiences to ensure successful customer interactions with HP’s products and support. Zdankus was previously Vice President, Enterprise Solutions Enablement, where she and her team led the planning, design, integration, and release of HP Converged Infrastructure solutions focused on remote support.

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