UA Women in Science Engineering Program Hosts Excellence Banquet, Featuring IBM Inventor and UA Alumnus

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UA Women in Science Engineering Program Hosts Excellence Banquet, Featuring IBM Inventor and UA Alumnus

UA Women in Science and Engineering
April 17, 2018

On April 25, 2018 at 6 p.m., the University of Arizona Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program is hosting its annual banquet.

WISE, which is part of the Southwest Institute for Research on Women housed in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, aims to increase interest and diversity in the fields of social and natural science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine by offering a variety of outreach programs and student engagement opportunities.

Through its Science and Engineering Excellence Awards, WISE recognizes and celebrates the important work being done to foster more inclusive and diverse science and engineering communities at the University of Arizona and in southern Arizona. The 2018 banquet will be held in the South Ballroom of the UA Student Union Memorial.

The banquet is designed for those who are involved in and supportive of diversity in STEM fields, including educators (K-12 and university), researchers and industry leaders. Sponsorships from UA and community partners have allowed the WISE Program to provide the event free of charge to attendees. You can reserve your seat here.

The award recipients are:

  • Assistant Professor Monica Ramirez-Andreotta, UA Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Sciences
  • Assistant Professor Gurtina Besla, UA Department of Astronomy
  • Sheila Marquez, Tucson Magnet High School
  • Jennifer Maxwell, Emily Gray Junior High 
  • Women in Engineering Programming Board, UA College of Engineering 

The keynote address will be given by Tara Astigarraga, Master Inventor at IBM and member of the Choctaw Nation. Astigarraga is also a UA alumnus, double majoring in communication and Spanish linguistics.

Astigarraga joined IBM Systems as an intern during her senior year at the UA and was hired full-time at IBM Tucson after graduation. Astigarraga went on to receive her master's degree in computer information systems from the University of Phoenix in 2005.

Astigarraga has been at IBM since 2001 and has spearheaded numerous design and technical innovations that have resulted in the filing of over 65 patents. 

"I would like to be remembered as someone who was able to bridge the worlds of business and technology and help to provide new and innovative solutions that transform and streamline the way we do business," Astigarraga said in an IBM article. "Innovation is the key."

Astigarraga was the 2016 recipient of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society's Technical Excellence Award. Blending her career and heritage, Astigarraga is a passionate champion for Native Americans and women pursuing STEM fields. Her goal is to provide other Native Americans and women with the same opportunities she has had and to prove that career and traditional values can co-exist.

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