SWE’s own Director of Membership Initiatives – Jonna Gerken was awarded The Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award. According to ctsciencecenter.org: This award recognizes a Connecticut woman working in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) who is a leader in her field, and who makes a significant effort to support other women and encourage girls’ interests in STEM. The honoree is selected by the Connecticut Science Center’s Women in Science steering committee.
HQ caught up with Jonna shortly after she received the official announcement and we found out a fellow colleague nominated her for the award. What was the criteria? Three rather heavily loaded questions:
Question 1: Please describe the nominee’s achievements in her STEM field.
Jonna – working as an engineer in the aerospace in defense industry for 20 years was a leader of multidisciplinary teams on technology development programs. She lead as project manager for international manufacturing site startups. And was the recipient of 2011 Diversity and Inclusion Award from Pratt & Whitney and 2006 SWE DNE & 2014 STEP Awards.
Question 2: Please describe the nominee’s mentorship of girls and/or women in STEM.
Jonna has been a Society of Women Engineers – SWE Member for 20+ years and has served in multiple roles in SWE leadership, at the section, region, and Society levels. She has been an active participant in outreach activities for EWeek, CT Invention Convention. Jonna was a presenter at SWE’s Annual & Region Conferences on topics including Career Development and Flexible Work Arrangements
Question 3: Please describe the nominee’s commitment to her community and the breadth of the impact of her work. Jonna is a member of Sisterhood of Temple Sinai Board for 10+ years and volunteers at children’s school events.*
Jonna is currently Project Manager for the Operations Development organization at Pratt & Whitney. She coordinates the startup of new OEM facilities for production ramp-up of NGPF programs. Jonna has a BS in Industrial & Management Engineering and an MBA in Technology Development, both from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. And is a SWE Life Member.
*Please note: Since we didn’t have access to Jonna’s colleague who actually submitted her, these answers above are an overview of the ones taken into consideration.