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2020 Leading Light Awards, Scholarships, and Grant Recipients

Women & Hi Tech Announces
Recipients of Leading Light Awards, Scholarships and Grants

The first-ever Women & Hi Tech Virtual Leading Light Awards and Scholarship Gala (LLAs) was held on October 1, 2020. This signature, biennial event celebrated the achievements of Indiana women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and new this year, diversity, equity, and inclusion champions, as well as male allies. The event was emceed by Sara Jones of WTHR Channel 13News.

Women & Hi Tech President and Managing Director of Sales and Services for Bell Techlogix, Rebecca Bormann, welcomed attendees to the virtual gala hosted on the LoudSwarm event platform. Rebecca spoke of this year’s LLAs being the 20th Anniversary of the program, first held in 2000, and originally called the Spotlight Awards.  The five original Spotlight Award recipients, Laura Larimer, Dr. Catherine Olmer, Dr. Elcira Villarreal, Carol Curran, and Amy Conrad Warner, were recognized during this year’s event with an inaugural $5000 Women & Hi Tech Rare Nickel Scholarship named in their honor in order to continue their legacy of paving the way for future generations of female STEM leaders in Indiana. Women & Hi Tech also introduced the #INThisTogether Scholarship - the first-ever, fully member funded scholarship, which is currently awarding over $3,000 to LaJoi Robinson, MS Information and Communication Science, Ball State University.  Donations for the #INThisTogther Scholarship are being accepted until October 15, 2020.  To contribute, please visit: https://www.womenandhitech.org/General-Donation and select #INThisTogether for your donation.

As Women & Hi Tech has done in the past for new Leading Light Awards, honorary recipients were selected for the Women & Hi Tech Equity & Inclusion Champion and OperationALLTM Male Allies awards. Angela B. Freeman, M.S., J.D., Intellectual Property/Patent Attorney at Barnes & Thornburg LLP, was awarded the Honorary Equity and Inclusion Champion Leading Light Award for her many contributions to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion, including spearheading many of the major advancements for diverse women within Women & Hi Tech, as well as throughout her career and personal life.  Gerry Dick, Founder and CEO of Inside INdiana Business, was awarded the Honorary OperationALLTM Male Allies Leading Light Award for his lifelong commitment and allyship to Women & Hi Tech and promoting women and girls in STEM in Indiana. Additionally, Toni Hickey, J.D., Deputy General Counsel and Chief IP Counsel of Cummins, Inc., was awarded the final Barnes & Thornburg LLP Hi Tech Woman of the Year Leading Light Award for her exemplary leadership and her commitment to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion for all in the STEM and legal communities.  

Women and Hi Tech would like to express our gratitude to all of our annual sponsors as well as our Leading Light Awards, Scholarship and Grant Sponsors as well as our community partners for their continued support of Women & Hi Tech’s mission and making our gala possible. We’d especially like to thank, Fuel V+M and The Momentum GROUP, the marketing and videography firms, that helped create our first-ever virtual LLAs. 

Women & Hi Tech would like to once again recognize and celebrate the 160 Leading Light Awards, Scholarship, and Grant nominees and the 30 recipients. Congratulations! Thank you to all for your continued contributions to change the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all.

Leading Light Awards, Scholarship, and Grant recipients announced during the event include:

Honorary Equity and Inclusion Champion Award 

Angela B. Freeman, M.S., J.D., Senior Associate Intellectual Property (IP)/Patent Attorney, Barnes & Thornburg LLP


Inaugural Equity and Inclusion Champion Award

Erica Diebold, Senior Intellectual Property Manager | Diabetes Care Patents, Roche Diabetes Care, Inc.


Honorary OperationALL™ Male Allies Champion Award

Gerry Dick, Host and Creator of Inside INdiana Business


Inaugural OperationALL™ Male Allies Champion Award

Lamont Hatcher, Founder and CEO of AIS


Mentor Me! Award

Heather Jones, Group Leader - Fermentation Development and Media Preparation Labs, Corteva Agriscience


Leadership Award

Christine McDonnell, Co-Founder & CEO, Codelicious


Risk Taker Award

Teresa Plummer, Director, IT Governance and Delivery Services, Sallie Mae


Rising Star Award

Shilpi Bhargav, Global Head of Requirements Modeling Group, Roche Diabetes Care, Inc


You Inspire Us! Award

Rupal Thanawala, Tech Editor, Indianapolis Recorder


Outstanding Educator in STEM Award

Keeanna Warren, Principal, Purdue Polytechnic High School North


Outstanding Achievement in STEM Award

Mary Lee Gambone, Head of Materials Engineering, Rolls-Royce North America


Change the Landscape Award

Audrey Taylor, CEO, netlogx


Barnes & Thornburg Hi Tech Woman of the Year Award

Toni Hickey, J.D., Deputy General Counsel & Chief IP Counsel, Cummins, Inc.


$5,000 Rare Nickel Overall Top Undergraduate/Graduate Student Scholarship:

Marielle Berin, BS Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University


$5,000 Top Graduate Student Scholarship:

Taymee Brandon, PhD Environmental Engineering, Purdue University


$5,000 Top Undergraduate Student Scholarship:

My “Alice” Dang, BS Mechanical Engineering, Anderson University


$5,000 Top High School Senior Scholarship:

Doonyah Alucozai, BS Computer Information Technology, Purdue University


$5,000 Professional Development Grant:

Soma Mukhopadhyay, Biotechnology Quality & Regulatory Compliance Graduate Certificate, Purdue University


#INThisTogether Member-Funded Scholarship:

LaJoi Robinson, MS Information and Communication Science, Ball State University


$10,000 WGU Indiana Scholarship:

Tosin Ajayi, BS Cybersecurity and Information Assurance


$2,500 SIM Indy Technology Graduate Student Scholarship:

Jennifer Fleming, MS Informatics, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis


$2,500 SIM Indy Technology Undergraduate Student Scholarship:

Jordyn Blakey, BS Computer Science, DePauw University


$2,500 Ivy Tech Scholarship:

Fatimah Omotoso, AS Biology, Ivy Tech Indianapolis


$2,500 Ivy Tech Scholarship:

Eunice Macharia, AS Database Development and Administration, Ivy Tech Fort Wayne


$2,500 Bell Techlogix High School Senior Scholarship:

Yukthika Sajja, BS Cybersecurity, Purdue University


$2,500 Sallie Mae High School Senior Scholarship:

Kehinde “Bomi” Anifowose, BS Biology, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis


$2,000 Barnes & Thornburg LLP Patent/Corporate Law Scholarship:

Richa Patel, JD Patent Law, Indiana University Maurer School of Law


$2,000 Verizon Technology Scholarship:

Amanda Goodridge, MS Cybersecurity Risk Management, Indiana University Bloomington


Startup Ladies Membership Grant (valued at $600):

Andre'a Crowder


Startup Ladies Membership Grant (valued at $600):

Anelis Susana Chiluisa Calvache


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