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Join Iris Magazine in celebrating the accomplishments of women in STEM

The following has been re-printed from Iris Magazine with permission from the author.

Iris Magazine will host a “Celebration for Women in STEM,” co-sponsored by the U.Va. Parents Committee and the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center. The event will take place in the Commonwealth Room of Newcomb Hall on the Grounds of the University of Virginia from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1.

Last February, Iris held a similar event celebrating the achievements of women in the Darden i.Lab program, whose focus is to provide education and support for new entrepreneurs. The staff of Iris was so thrilled with the dialogue at this event that they decided to host another similar event in order to continue conversations about the rewards and challenges of working in a male-dominated field.

Amy LaViers, Kim Wilkens and Pam Norris, three women from the Charlottesville area, will be speaking about their experiences working in STEM.

You do not need to be a science or math major to enjoy this celebration!  The event is open to anyone with an interest in the STEM fields, so join us to learn more about the accomplishments of these women in our community.  Appetizers will also be served, so no one will leave hungry!

All guests should RSVP to Agnes Filipowski, Women's Center Communications Assistant / Iris Magazine Editor, at ASAP.

Introducing our guest speakers:

Amy LaViers Amy LaViers

Amy LaViers is an Assistant Professor in Systems and Information Engineering at the University of Virginia and director of the Robotics, Automation and Dance (RAD) Lab where she develops algorithms for automation inspired by movement and dance theory.

At U.Va., she is spearheading research in advanced manufacturing through an industry-university consortium, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), and forging interdisciplinary ties with the U.Va. Dance Program and the Laban/Bartenieff Institute for Movement Studies, where she is pursuing a Certification in Movement Analysis (CMA).

She completed her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech where she was the recipient of the ECE Graduate Teaching Excellence Award and a finalist for the CETL/BP Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award. Her dissertation included a live performance exploring the concepts of style she developed there. Her research began at Princeton University where she earned a certificate in Dance and a degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Her senior thesis, which compared two styles of dance, earned top honors in the MAE department, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Lewis Center for the Arts.

For more information on Amy, view her webpage.


Kim Wilkens Kim Wilkens

Kim Wilkens (M. Ed.) graduated with a degree in C.S. in 1987 and earned her master’s in 2014. She started her career at IBM in Austin and then became an independent tech consultant when she moved to Charlottesville in 1998. In 2001, she began teaching technology in K-8 schools. In 2012, she started Tech-Girls with a mission to empower girls to imagine and achieve their future dreams in our tech-savvy world. She is currently co-coordinator of the computer science initiative at St. Anne’s-Belfield School.

To learn more about Tech-Girls, click here.


Pam Norris Pam Norris

Having risen through the ranks at U.Va. to her current position as one of the few female scientists holding an endowed chair at U.Va., Pam Norris is a highly accomplished scientist and scholar with extensive experience as a veteran Principal Investigator (PI). She has led a number of complex programs from a variety of prominent agencies, including several grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF). She has long been a vocal and enthusiastic proponent for the advancement of women in STEM disciplines and a tireless mentor. Pam serves a dual role as both Program Director and Co-PI of U.Va. CHARGE.

Visit Pam’s website to learn more about her research.


Meet our moderator:

Lisa Messeri Lisa Messeri

Lisa Messeri is an anthropologist and historian of science and technology. Her research examines the role of place in scientific practice, focusing on how scientists and engineers create place through their daily practice. Her first book, entitled Placing Outer Space (forthcoming with Duke University Press), is an ethnography of contemporary planetary scientists and how they refashion distant, alien formations of gas and rock as intimate, familiar places; how planets become worlds. This work allows us to reflect on our own understandings of Earth as a planet, place and world. Messeri also writes about and is interested in how grand visions of future technologies shape current practices, what it means to live on Earth in the age of the “Anthropocene,” and public engagement in science through citizen science portals and Kickstarter-like platforms.

For more information on Lisa, visit her website.


Story by Alaina Segura

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