Dear Members, Sponsors, Volunteers, Supporters, and Friends,
Women & Hi Tech announced earlier this month that our signature, biennial event, The Leading Lights Awards and Scholarship Gala (LLAs) on October 1, 2020, is going virtual. To say that we are excited is an understatement. Amid this unprecedented year, we are ecstatic to be pivoting to virtually celebrate Indiana women in STEM - women who are risk-takers, leaders, educators, mentors, and those who are changing our local STEM landscape. And new this year, the 2020 LLAs will focus on "Equity and Inclusion" in our Indiana STEM community. As such, Women & Hi Tech is thrilled to be introducing two new award categories celebrating diversity, equity, and inclusion champions and our male allies.
As excited as I am about the LLAs, I wrote this note on the 57th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech (click here to listen to the full speech, "I Have A Dream"). This past Friday, thousands participated in the 2020 March on Washington, while thousands more joined the 2020 Virtual March on Washington. These events remind us and call us all to action for continued progress toward true equity and inclusion in this country.
Like so many of us who have the privilege to work remotely, I took that time to listen to addresses from Reverend Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, and the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, and others. All of whom, passionately, powerfully and inspirationally called for justice for their loved ones and systematic and systemic reform for an equitable and inclusive America that includes fair treatment for African Americans and other diverse citizens - our American brothers and sisters. I also listened to Yolanda Renee King, 12- year old granddaughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., convey her conviction and passion as she proclaimed "… we will be the generation that moves from me to we" (click here to watch the full speech by Yolanda Renee King).
While there is clearly much work and reformation that must take place, I am reaffirmed that Women & Hi Tech was called last summer to select "Equity & Inclusion" for this year's LLAs focus. I am also proud that our organization committed years ago to take action to advance equity and inclusion for all in our Indiana STEM community and beyond. I ask us all to join Yolanda Renee King's pledge to keep fighting to "move from me to we" and to continue her grandfather's work towards "genuine equality" for all, alongside Women & Hi Tech.
In this 20th edition of "Grown from STEM," Women & Hi Tech would like to introduce you to two of our new Board Members, both incredibly accomplished STEM professionals in different industries leveraging their advanced math expertise. We invite you to get to know our K-12 Director, Crystal Morton, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Urban Teacher Education at IUPUI and Founder and Director of Girls STEM Institute. We also invite you to get to know our Treasurer, Ben Phillips, CPA, CISA, CITP, Director in the Audit and Assurance Services Group at Katz, Sapper & Miller (KSM). Please read more about Dr. Morton and Mr. Phillips and how their backgrounds, education, business acumen in math, and passion for equity and inclusion for girls and STEM professionals helps fuel their support and involvement in Women & Hi Tech.
President, Women & Hi Tech