LAKELAND, Fla. – The Florida Polytechnic University Foundation held its second annual Women in STEM Summit on Tuesday, March 14, at the university’s Innovation, Science and Technology Building, celebrating women who are making their mark in STEM industries and paving the way for others.
With more than 300 guests in attendance, the event featured keynote and TEDx speaker, Karen Catlin, former Vice President at Adobe Systems, who now advocates for women in technology. Catlin was joined by a panel of STEM experts and inspirational speakers who provided insight into their own professional journeys and how they overcame barriers in their fields.
“We are on a mission to help women who are in STEM professions or have an interest in STEM build solid networks and pursue competitive opportunities in the fastest growing fields,” said Catlin. “Florida Poly is certainly on the right track with their commitment to the Women in STEM Leadership program and Summit. I am blown away by the high-caliber students and faculty members at this institution, and I look forward to seeing what more they will achieve.”
Experts panelists included: Elizabeth Kerns, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Lakeland Regional Health; Rebecca J. Smith, President and CEO of The A.D. Morgan Corporation and President and CEO of WoofGang Solutions, LLC; and Major General Michael D. Jones, U.S. Army (Ret.), Independent Management Consultant and Member of The SPECTRUM Group in Alexandria, Virginia.
“Technology and engineering are challenging and competitive fields,” said Florida Poly President Dr. Randy K. Avent. “It’s important for all students to hear first-hand how professionals have overcome obstacles to achieve career success. This year’s Women in STEM Summit offered students, faculty and industry leaders a great opportunity to network, engage and discuss real-world issues.”
The event started with a welcome address followed by a breakout session, panel discussion and the keynote address. In addition, students had the opportunity to showcase projects and network with industry leaders.
All proceeds from the Women in STEM Summit will support scholarships and Florida Poly’s mission to prepare students in advanced STEM fields to become innovative problem-solvers and high-tech professionals.
“We are thrilled that so many brilliant minds came together for such an important cause,” said Foundation Board Chair Loretta Sanders. “In addition to supporting scholarships, this Summit provided tremendous learning and mentorship opportunities for our students, which will certainly help them as they pursue their ambitions in these competitive career fields.”
Sponsors of the second annual Women in STEM Summit include: Florida Hospital, Mosaic, The Beck Group, FCC, Environmental Services, Fletcher & Fischer, P.L., Dr. & Mrs. James and Loretta Sanders Jr., Advance Disposal Services, Inc., APG Engineering, Heacock Insurance, In Loving Memory of Jeffrey L. Wood, PIMCO, Saddle Creek Logistics Services, Terracon Consultants, Inc., Walter P. Moore and Associates, Inc.
To learn more about Florida Poly’s Women in STEM Summit and past speakers, please visit foundation.floridapoly.edu/events/women-in-stem.
Assistant Director of Communications