Women of Innovation: Awards banquet celebrates women in STEM

Winners of the Iowa Women of Innovation Awards were announced Monday night during the tenth annual event at Prairie Meadows.

The event was hosted by the Technology Association of Iowa. The winners of the 2017 Women of Innovation Awards were:

  • Research Innovation and Leadership: Dr. Alicia Carriquiry, Iowa State University
  • Academic Innovation and Leadership: Deborah Kent, Drake University
  • Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership: Amy Lank, American Power Systems, Inc.
  • Leadership Innovation: Michelle Bates, BluPrairie
  • Company Innovation and Growth: Kum & Go
  • Rising Star: Bailey Anderson, Principal Financial Group
  • Diversity Champion: Amanda Pietsch, John Deere
  • STEM Champion: Chris Cournoyer, Quad City Engineering and Science Council
  • Legislative Advocacy Leader: Debi Durham, Director, Iowa Economic Development Authority

A high school and college student each were recipients of $2,500 scholarships:

  • Collegian Innovation and Leadership: Patricia Izbucki, Iowa State University
  • Youth Innovation and Leadership: Danielle Panning, Valley Lutheran High School

    Women of Innovation
    Brian Waller, President of the Technology Association of Iowa, speaks during the Women of Innovation Awards banquet Monday night at Prairie Meadows.

Brian Waller—President of the Technology Association of Iowa—told Clay & Milk before the event that sometimes Iowans do themselves a disservice about the lack of diversity in the tech community rather than focus on the richness of Iowa’s tech community.

“Sometimes I think we need to rest on the fact that we need to profile and highlight women who are doing great stuff, rather than talk about the lack of them,” Waller said. “And tonight is really a great personification of that.”

Waller said in 2018 the Technology Association of Iowa is going to focus on the women in the tech community, rather than talking about the lack of perceived women in the industry.

“Not only are women doing technology and STEM-related stuff here in Iowa, they are changing the world through technology and that’s the story we want to get out more,” Waller says. “So if you’re a young girl and you want to change the world, you can do that with technology and science-based industries.”