Fairfield University School of Engineering professor and student are 'Women of Innovation' finalists

Fairfield University School of Engineering professor and student are 'Women of Innovation' finalists

Image: Women of Innovation A faculty member and student of Fairfield University's School of Engineering are finalists for 2014 Women of Innovation® awards, a unique program that honors Connecticut's outstanding women innovators, role models and leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Amalia Rusu, Ph.D., associate professor of software engineering from Monroe, Conn., received a nomination in the Academic Innovation and Leadership category. Katherine M. Pitz, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering from Lagrangeville, N.Y., was nominated for Collegian Innovation and Leadership.

The Women of Innovation® program is presented by The Connecticut Technology Council (CTC), which is celebrating 10 years of inspiring women and girls to pursue careers in STEM.  A winner in each of eight categories will be announced during an awards presentation on March 27 in Southington, Conn.

"These Connecticut women are extraordinary and outstanding contributors to their professions, to their employers, and in many cases to their communities," said Beth Alquist, planning committee chair for the Women of Innovation® Awards Program, in a CTC press release.

Bruce W. Berdanier, Ph.D., dean of Fairfield University's School of Engineering, said both Dr. Rusu and Katherine Pitz are dedicated to sharing word of the promise of engineering on campus and off. "One of their great qualities is that they continually inspire others, especially young people, to get excited about engineering and the endless possibilities of science, technology, engineering and math."

Pitz is studying the feeding habits of Amia fish and their intriguing circular shaped mouths under Assistant Professor Shanon M. Reckinger, Ph.D., Fairfield's Clare Boothe Luce Professor. The experience has fueled Pitz's ambition to seek a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and pursue a career in research. A math minor, Pitz has been a counselor at the University's BASE (Broadening Access to Science Education) Camp for teenaged girls, and assisted with an Engineers Without Borders water treatment project in Bolivia led by Dr. Berdanier. She also was a team member of Fairfield University's CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) endeavor. She serves campus leadership roles with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Society of Women Engineering, and the Women's Rowing team.

Dr. Rusu has been named 2008 Frontiers in Education New Faculty Fellow, awarded by the National Academy of Engineering Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education. Her outreach projects include initiation or participation in school's Saturday Computing Education Academy for high school students; the Google CS4HS workshops for Connecticut secondary STEM teachers; General Electric Connecticut High School Computer Science Contest; and the Fairfield REU program in Math and Computational Science. Dr. Rusu is also participating in the ASAP ADVANCE project for advancing careers of women in STEM at predominantly undergraduate institutions through professional networks. She is a member of IEEE and ACM and the Chair of the IEEE CT Computer Society/ Systems, Man & Cybernetics / Society on Social Implications of Technology.

For more information about the School of Engineering, visit http://www.fairfield.edu/academics/schoolscollegescenters/schoolofengineering/.

Image: (L-R) Katherine M. Pitz, Class of 2015, and Amalia Rusu, Ph.D., associate professor of software engineering, are finalists for 2014 Women of Innovation® awards.

Posted On: 03-13-2014 03:03 PM

Volume: 46 Number: 224