Girls Tech Career Day Presenters 2016

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Many thanks to the wonderful local women and men who will be sharing their path to careers in technology with the girls on Girls Tech Career Day November 16, 2016. Fun to see both some familiar faces from previous and a few new ones!

Abigail Arens

Abigail Arens is a junior at Iowa City West High School. For the past three years she has been taking Project Lead The Way (PLTW) courses at school such as Introduction to Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering. In her free time she enjoys taking part in school clubs including Theatre West, the Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS) and 1440. During the summer Abigail spends her time playing on the West High softball team.

Kristine Arens

Kristine Arens is currently the Business Director for the Business Analytics Academy at the University of Iowa Full-time MBA program. She has a computer science degree from UW-Platteville and spent 20 years in the IT world as a software developer, system administrator and as a technical project manager prior to working at UI. Kristine grew up in central Wisconsin, but has called Iowa home for more than 20 years. She is a member of Iowa Tech Chicks, a former LEGO League Coach and enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 children.

Tricia Ball

Tricia Ball originally started with a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Iowa, but then returned to receive her B.S. in Computer Science. She has now been working in technology for over 13 years. She is currently a developer for TED Conferences, and is proud to be apart of an organization that is as excited about sharing ideas and information as she is. Trish has done most of her development work in Ruby on Rails, but has also dabbled in Java and PHP. She has two children ages 7 and 10, whom she hopes inspire with her technological work.


Leah Becker

Leah is an Interaction Designer at ConnectFive. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a BA in Art Studio – emphasis in Graphic Design and minors in Art History and Marketing. Leah is experienced in print design and helping to create websites, mobile apps and software on touch screen devices. She has a passion for good design and creating meaningful experiences.



mindiMindi Dixson

Mindi is a Project Manager at ConnectFive. She graduated from Mount Mercy University with a BA in Communications, and as worked in the software industry, the print industry and the media industry. Mindi is passionate about building strong teams and goal oriented strategy. She enjoys running, giving back to the community and spending time with her family.



Dawn Ealy

Dawn is a Program Manager and member of the leadership team at ConnectFive. She graduated from Central College with a BA in Computer Science and a minor in Business Management. Prior to joining ConnectFive, Dawn worked in systems analysis, project management and technical writing roles for companies in the pharmaceutical and educational assessment industries. In addition to her technical side, Dawn has also managed hospital volunteers, sold real estate and volunteered for many school, church and sports activities within the community.

lizLiz Harvey

Liz Harvey is a UX Designer and Developer at ConnectFive. She helps brainstorm and design user interfaces that are easy to use and programs the user facing side of applications. She started in interactive media in 2000 and has been growing with the technology ever since. She has worked on several corporate websites, games and applications over the past 16 years and loves that she never stops learning new things. Liz obtained her degree from the University of Northern Iowa in Marketing and Communications with a minor in Art/Graphic Design.

Michelle Knedler

Michelle is the software development scoring manager at Pearson. She began her career at Pearson in 1997 as a developer after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa with a BA in Computer Information Systems. Michelle is a Girl Scout leader and has a passion for getting girls and women interested in technology fields.



Mike Kubas

Mike Kubas is the Instructor of the Advanced Manufacturing Academy at Kirkwood’s Johnson County Regional Center at the U of I. He attended Hawkeye Community College where he earned AAS degrees as a CNC Technician and Tool and Die Maker.



Kim Lennox

Kim Lennox

Kim Lennox studied genetics and biomolecular archaeology (ancient DNA) before joining the molecular genetics group at IDT in 2002. She has spent the last 13 years optimizing way to reduce gene levels in cells using IDT’s synthetic DNA or RNA. Reducing gene levels can help scientists figure out what a gene does, or can be used therapeutically to help fight diseases (such as cancer) or viral infections (such as Ebola, HIV and Hepatitis C) that are difficult to treat.


Dawn Marshall

Dawn Marshall is a research manager at the National Advanced Driving Simulator and directs the SAFER-SIM University Transportation Center. She has been involved in driving research since 1997 when she joined the Iowa Driving Simulator. She also worked at the Cognitive Systems Lab at the University of Iowa as an undergraduate and graduate research assistant. She received her master’s degree and joined the NADS team in 2004. Her research experience includes novice and older drivers, in-vehicle safety systems, distraction, task evaluation.

Dawn was born in Arkansas, but has lost her accent after living in four other US states and has called Iowa home for 30 years. She enjoys camping and crafts of all kinds.


Sarah Mascher Wallace

Sarah is an Application Developer for ITS at the University of Iowa. She enjoys helping her customers and spends her days designing administrative interfaces, custom integrations, and reporting solutions. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a BS in Mathematics and minors in Ancient Civilization and Informatics, with a focus on Human-Computer Interaction. Sarah is a co-leader of a Women in Technology group at the University and in her free time, works with the IC Bruisers, a free, local junior roller derby league.

mercedesMercedes Masias

Mercedes is an Interaction Designer at ConnectFive. She specializes in digital design but also has a knack for print as well. Mercedes graduated from the University of Iowa with a BFA in Graphic Design. Outside of work Mercedes enjoys continuing to work on her design skills and relaxing with family.


aimeeAimee Meardon-Orris

Aimee joined ConnectFive in 2014 as an Operations Director.  She works on the financial, legal, human resources, administrative and strategic planning aspects of the business.  She graduated from Iowa State University with a BA in Political Science.  Aimee is passionate about helping the underserved and was previously involved with the Community Health Free Clinic and Foster Care Review Board. She is the proud mother of two boys.


Medical Student Ambassadors (MSAP)

The medical student ambassadors provide educational programs for kids of all ages in surrounding schools. They work with kids from 1st grade to high school age and have programs related to the GI system, cardiovascular system, musculoskeletal system and the senses. Most of the material is hands on; they use models, pathology specimens, x-rays, and other visual aids to make each program exciting.


Elisabeth Wagner

Elisabeth Wagner joined IDT as a scientific applications specialist, and is currently manager of their scientific applications group. Elisabeth is involved with custom assay design, troubleshooting customer experiments, and providing customer support in experimental design and analysis for a wide variety of applications which involve the use of IDT’s DNA products.



euiEui Yang

Eui is a UX analyst/researcher at ConnectFive. She works on usability research and loves to see how people interact with products and systems. Prior to joining ConnectFive, Eui graduated from Iowa State University with a PhD in Industrial Engineering and worked as a research assistant at Adaptive Cognitive Systems Laboratory. Her focus areas included human factors and ergonomics, and her dissertation received the 2016 Research Excellence Award. Eui has always been in love with STEM fields and is enthusiastic to share her experiences.


More speaker bios coming soon for: Jill Colbert and Emily Strattan


In addition to the presenters, the day would not be possible without our organizers Laura Christenson and Deb Walton and our many volunteers. Many thanks to Jen Graham her photography skills.