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Society of Women Engineers

WE Local Pittsburgh Announces 2017 Keynote Speakers

Four keynote speakers help WE Local bring the excitement, energy, and learning environment of SWE’s annual conference to Pittsburgh.

Published On: November 2016

As we open registration for WE Local Pittsburgh, we want to say, “Thank You” to our members and community of Region G who contributed to the nominations of keynote speakers and plenary panelists, and the 79 presentation submissions for the two-day conference.

At this time, we are reviewing presentation submissions and contacting plenary nominees and nominators, but we like to share with you the exciting announcement of the 2017 WE Local Pittsburgh’s keynote speakers.

OPENING KEYNOTE: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17 at 8 A.M.
MARIA BEZAITIS
Principal Engineer at Intel

Maria Bezaitis is a Principal Engineer with Intel’s Communication & Devices Group where she leads the User Experience Pathfinding team. Her team is responsible for identifying the key shifts in the social and ecosystem landscapes that will provide fertile ground for 5G business models and technologies. Bezaitis’ own research has focused on the changing nature of the smart technology landscape and the rise of technologies that augment human skill. She finished her Ph.D. in french literature at Duke University. Bezaitis started her post-academic career at E-Lab, a firm that pioneered the use of ethnography and design planning for product development, where she became managing partner. Before coming to Intel, she was a vice president at Sapient and co-led its global experience research organization, the first of its kind in the technology industry. Bezaitis is a member the Advisory Board of TTI Vanguard, a global technology thought leadership organization and is the president of the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference.

WELCOME RECEPTION KEYNOTE: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17 at 7:00 P.M.
AUDREY RUSSO
CEO and President of Pittsburgh Technology Council

Since 2007, Audrey Russo has served the technology business sector for southwestern Pennsylvania as president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council, the oldest (1983) and largest technology trade association in North America. In this role, Russo facilitates strong interaction across all sectors of the regional economy, which she believes will only succeed and grow through technology innovation and commercialized disruptions across every platform and experience. With a background in information technology, operations and finance, Russo previously worked for large multi-national Fortune 500 companies (Alcoa, Reynolds Metals), as well as at MAYA Design, and in an adjunct faculty and project role at Virginia Commonwealth University.

LUNCH KEYNOTE: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18 at 11:45 A.M.
ELAYNE ARRINGTON, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of Pittsburgh

Prior to joining the University of Pittsburgh, Elayne Arrington served as an instructor at the University of Cincinnati and as an aerospace engineer with the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.  She has published several papers on finite solvable groups and is the recipient of multiple awards, including a Steel Valley Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizen Award in 2007 and the Central Region Dean of the Year presented by the Sunday School Publishing Board of the National Baptist Convention in 2006. She was profiled in Complexities: Women in Mathematics, published by Princeton University Press in 2005. Arrington was the first African American female and the third female to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh school of Engineering, and the 17th African American female in the United States to earn a doctorate in mathematics. She holds a doctorate of philosophy in mathematics from the University of Cincinnati, a master of science in mathematics from the University of Dayton and a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering, aeronautical option from the University of Pittsburgh.

CLOSING KEYNOTE: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18 at 7:00 P.M.
BABARA VANKIRK
President and Founder of IQ, Inc.

Barbara VanKirk is the president and founder of the woman-owned small business IQ Inc. which is located in Murrysville, PA. As a self-described math geek, VanKirk joined Westinghouse straight out of high school. She began IQ Inc. in 1988 and the company has grown from a home-based business to a firm of over 45 individuals. VanKirk’s work has been the recipient of several awards including Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business, Western Pennsylvania Woman-Owned Business of 2010, and Woman-Owned Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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