Summit Speakers


Ruzena Bajcsy

NEC Chair and Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, College of Engineering
University of California, Berkeley

Ruzena Bajcsy was born in 1933 and grew up in Czechoslovakia. Because of the family's Jewish background, all of her adult relatives were killed by the Nazis in 1944. Declared to be war orphans by the Red Cross, she and her sister remained under the organization's care until the end of the war. Despite moving between orphanages and foster parents, Bajcsy had no trouble at school and was a good student. Determined to have a career in electrical engineering, she earned a MS degree and a PhD degree in the subject from Slovak Technical University.

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Ruha Benjamin

Professor, African American Studies
Princeton University

Ruha Benjamin is a Professor of African American studies at Princeton University and author of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier (Stanford University Press). She has studied the social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine for over fifteen years and speaks widely on issues of innovation, equity, health, and justice in the U.S. and globally.

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Temple Grandin

Philosophical Leader

Temple Grandin, PhD, is one of the most accomplished and well-known adults with autism in the world. Her life was brought to the screen with the HBO full-length film Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes. Dr. Grandin has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in September 2016 and featured on NPR, and she has a 2010 TED Lecture titled "The World Needs ALL Kinds of Minds." She has also been featured on the BBC special “The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow,” ABC's “Primetime Live,” “The Today Show,” and more. Dr.

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Tommy Orange


Tommy Orange is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel There There, a multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about a side of America few of us have ever seen: the lives of urban Native Americans. There There was one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year, and won the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and the Pen/Hemingway Award. There There was also longlisted for the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

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Brenda J. Allen

Professor Emerita
University of Colorado

Brenda J. Allen (PhD, Howard University) is a former Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion and Professor of Communication at the University of Colorado Denver and the Anschutz Medical Campus. During almost 30 years in the University of Colorado system, Professor Allen developed a track record for scholarship, teaching, service, mentorship, and training related to organizational communication, power dynamics, social identity, and leadership. She has worked tirelessly to promote more inclusive, humane, and equitable perspectives and practices, especially in higher education.

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Nancy M. Amato

Abel Bliss Professor and Department Head, Computer Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Nancy M. Amato is Abel Bliss Professor and Department Head of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Amato's research focuses on robotic motion planning, computational biology and geometry, and parallel computing, and she has been working to broaden participation in computing for more than two decades. She has graduated 23 PhD students, including 11 from underrepresented groups.

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Vanessa Dunn

Director of Analytics, Assessment and Accreditation, College of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Colorado Boulder

Vanessa Dunn is the Director of Analytics, Assessment, and Accreditation for the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU Boulder. She has over 13 years of experience working on student success and retention initiatives in higher education, with a focus on underrepresented students in STEM. Prior to that, she taught high school math in Colorado. She is a first-generation student and a graduate of the University of Colorado with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Applied Mathematics and a Master’s degree in Educational Foundations, Policy, and Practice.

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Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Senior Program Manager
National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE)

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, MS is the Senior Program Manager for the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE). In this role, Kathleen assists a national team of equity professionals that build educators’ capacity to implement effective solutions for increasing student access, educational equity, and workforce diversity. In addition to her role at NAPE, Kathleen leads the Southern Colorado Girls’ STEM Initiative (SCGSI), a regional organization that supports over 400 middle school girls in exploring careers in STEM.

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Jeff Forbes

Jeffrey Forbes

Program Director, Education and Workforce
National Science Foundation

Jeff Forbes is a Program Director for the Education and 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. Jeff is currently on leave from Duke University, where he is an Associate Professor of the Practice of Computer Science. He received his BS and PhD in computer science from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively.

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Ella Ingram

Associate Dean for Professional Development; Professor, Biology and Biomedical Engineering
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Ella Ingram joined Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology as a member of the Biology and Biomedical Engineering Department in 2004, then assumed duties in the Center for the Practice and Scholarship of Education in 2013. She was appointed to the Associate Dean position in 2017. Throughout her career at Rose-Hulman, she has blended her teaching with the scholarship of teaching and faculty development.

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Cynthia Lee

Lecturer, Computer Science Department
Stanford University

Cynthia Lee is a Lecturer in the Computer Science Department at Stanford. She founded to support educators in flipping their computer science classrooms using peer instruction. Her teaching awards include the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for exceptional contributions to undergraduate education at Stanford, for “commitment to inclusive education,” including teaching the course “Race & Gender in Silicon Valley.”

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Colleen Lewis

Colleen Lewis

McGregor-Girand Assistant Professor, Computer Science
Harvey Mudd College

Colleen Lewis is the McGregor-Girand Associate Professor of Computer Science (CS) at Harvey Mudd College, where, in addition to teaching CS, she teaches a class on Social Justice and Equity: STEM and Beyond. Her research seeks to identify effective teaching practices for creating equitable learning opportunities (for more resources, see

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Paul L. Marciano


Dr. Paul is the leading authority on employee engagement and respect in the workplace. He earned his doctorate in clinical psychology from Yale University and has worked in the field of human resources and organizational development for over 30 years. His best-selling McGraw-Hill business book, “Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work: Build a Culture of Employee Engagement with the Principles of RESPECT™,” has received critical acclaim around the world and has been translated into several languages.

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Sarah Miller

Associate Dean for Access, Inclusion, and Student Programs
University of Colorado Boulder

Sarah Miller serves as Associate Dean for Access, Inclusion, and Student Programs at CU Boulder Engineering. Since 2014, she has provided vision and leadership for the recruitment, retention, and success of outstanding and diverse students, faculty, and staff.

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Amanda Parker

Senior Director, Enrollment Management
University of Colorado Boulder

Amanda Parker serves as the Senior Director of Enrollment Management at CU Engineering. Amanda works to provide access, pathways, and support to prospective engineering students. Her focus is to increase the number of underrepresented minority, women, first-generation college-bound, low-income, and talented scholars pursuing engineering at the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Amanda has a BS in Chemical Engineering and a Masters in Engineering Management from the University of Colorado Boulder.

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Shawn Peterson

Youth Program Manager
Native Girls Code

Shawn is a member of Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations tribe of Canada. She is originally from Kirkland, Washington, and currently lives in Seattle with her two young boys. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Psychology with a minor in Human Rights from the University of Washington Bothell. Her work in the Native community started when she was an undergraduate. She volunteered her time on a campus initiative, Tribal Education Network or T-E-N, that aimed to bring higher education curriculum to Washington state reservations via a distant learning model.

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Daniella Scalice

Education and Communications Lead
NASA Astrobiology Program

Daniella Scalice is the Education and Communications Lead for the NASA Astrobiology Program. Ms. Scalice holds a Bachelor of Science in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology from UC Santa Cruz and worked in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School researching nervous system development. After pursuing an MFA in film production at Humboldt State University, in 2001 she joined the team at the NASA Astrobiology Program.

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Cheryl Swanier

Associate Professor, Computer Science
Claflin University

Dr. Cheryl A. Swanier is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Claflin University where she was named the Henry N. and Alice Carson Tisdale Endowed Professor and served as the former Department Chair of Mathematics and Computer Science. In her role as chair, she was successful in strategically obtaining the inaugural ABET accreditation for the Computer Science program at Claflin University and establishing the inaugural Computer Science Advisory Board.  

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Susan Thackeray

Assistant Professor, Technology Management
Utah Valley University

Susan L. Thackeray is an Assistant Professor of Technology Management in the College of Technology and Computing at Utah Valley University (UVU). She has more than 20 years of demonstrated administrative leadership in industry and education that includes international and domestic higher education instructional design, distance learning development, usability testing, workforce development, and team organization/training. Thackeray is noted nationally for the innovative UVU Business Engagement Strategy Career Pathways model to prepare and transition students efficiently into the workforce.

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Janine Vanderburg

Colorado Encore Network

Janine Vanderburg leads Changing the Narrative in Colorado, a campaign to change the way people think, talk, and act about aging and ageism. Committed to leveraging the talents of people of all ages to benefit community, she is a co-founder of the Colorado Encore Network and a member of the national Network Leadership Team, as well as CEO of Encore Roadmap, which provides inspiration and tools for capitalizing on the strengths of older adults.

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Jannie Fernandez

Jannie Fernandez

NCWIT Director K-12 Alliance and TECHNOLOchicas
University of Colorado Boulder

Originally from Barranquilla, Colombia, Jannie works at the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) as the Director for the K-12 Alliance and TECHNOLOchicas. She obtained her BS in special education with a focus on learning disabilities from Florida International University in Miami, Florida and is currently pursuing a MS in Organizational Leadership from the University of Colorado Boulder. Prior to her work at NCWIT, for over ten years, Jannie taught Biology and Physics, and served as Special Education Department Head for a public high school in Miami, Florida.

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Lucy Sanders

Lucy Sanders

NCWIT CEO and Co-founder
University of Colorado Boulder

Lucy Sanders is CEO and Co-founder of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).

Lucy has an extensive industry background, having worked in R&D and executive (VP) positions at AT&T Bell Labs, Lucent Bell Labs, and Avaya Labs for over 20 years, where she specialized in systems-level software and solutions (multimedia communication, and customer relationship management). Lucy was awarded the Bell Labs Fellow Award, the highest technical accomplishment bestowed at the company, and she has six patents in the communications technology area.

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JeffriAnne Wilder, Ph.D.

Research Scientist
University of Colorado Boulder

Dr. JeffriAnne Wilder is a sociologist and leading scholar specializing in diversity, race relations and women’s empowerment. JeffriAnne works as research faculty at the University of Colorado Boulder working on the Social Science research team at NCWIT. JeffriAnne works directly with the K-12 Alliance to create research-driven resources that will equip and empower its members with tools to increase women and girls’ participation in computing and technology.

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