SheTech 2021 was a success! Students attended from over 30 schools and 18 districts across the state. Due to the nature of 2021, SheTech was virtual.  Girls got to meet and speak with a variety of women with different careers in STEM, speak to college representatives, girls in college, and the Idaho Community Fund for how to thrive in – and how to fund – education past high school.  The girls also put on their STEM innovators’ hats and competed to build the best prototype for a solution to solve hunger during the pandemic!

 All students received a $500 scholarship to the College of Idaho, and contest winners also received cash awards and up to $500 in scholarships from the University of Idaho!

Student Feedback

Career Speakers

The career speakers were grouped into different career “themes” and the girls got to speak with two groups each

Career Themes 

Mechanical & Electrical Engineering
Human Biology
Software & Computing
Product Research & Design
Math Careers
Teaching STEM
Environment & Ecology
Data & Analytics

Mechanical & Electrical Engineering

Rosie Avila-Hernandez, Micron

Rosie Avila-Hernandez leads engineering teams that ramp memory solutions into mass production. She has over 15 years of experience in the semiconductor industry, and currently works at Micron Technology as a Senior Manager in the DRAM engineering group. Rosie graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, and is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Engineering Management. Outside of work, she enjoys outdoor activities and raising her very active 5-year old son.

Tiffany Greyson, Bastian Labs

Tiffany Greyson designs robots that push the boundaries of technology and impact the future of mankind. Tiffany is the Principal R&D Engineer at Bastian Laboratories, a Toyota Company. She has designed autonomous warehouse robots, self-driving forktrucks and robotic arms that can find and pick grocery items for customers. In her spare time, Tiffany and her husband Adam are raising three little nerdlings.

Human Biology

Dr. Erin Mannen, BSU Baby Biomechanics Research

Dr. Erin Mannen is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering Department at Boise State University. She leads the Boise Applied Biomechanics of Infants (BABI) Laboratory, and studies babies! Her research seeks to understand how babies move and use their muscles, and what that means for their safety and development.

Dr. Sarah Gerrish

Sarah Gerrish is a Family Physician from Idaho with a background in art and international health who works in Kuna, Idaho as a medical director of a small clinic. She mentors and teaches Family Medicine students and residents and emphasizes that health equity can only be achieved by addressing racial bias, poverty, and environmental inequalities. Living and traveling abroad has given Dr. Gerrish a special interest in refugee care, child and maternal health, including obstetrics, and social and global health advocacy.

Software & Computing

Elya Christman, Intuit

Elya is a Software Engineer at Intuit where she works with diverse teams to design and build products that improve the efficiency of small businesses by saving them 6% on average on payroll costs. She utilizes design thinking to create innovative experiments and solutions to surprise and delight all types of customers from bakeries to plumbers. Proir to Intuit, Elya worked in cyber security where she worked across the company to build solutions to detect and prevent malware attacks.

Cathie Olschanowsky, BSU

Cathie Olschanowsky studied computer science at the University of California, San Diego. She enjoys programming and especially likes to write software to solve scientific problems. Cathie is now an assistant professor at Boise State University. This position provides access to domain scientists. Collaborative projects are the core of Cathie’s research.

Jen Benz, Intuit

Jen Benz has worked in Product Management for 10 years, and is currently a Senior Product Manager at Intuit. Prior to her life as a PM, she was an attorney. Prior to that, she was an entrepreneur. Prior to that, she dreamed of being in Cirque du Soleil. Everyone has their own path in life!

Product Research & Design

Poliana Pereira, Motorola

Working since 2006 with Industrial Design consultancies specialized in leading the creative process from concepts to manufacturing. Today supports Latin America region and leads innovation and design for accessories and licensed products in Motorola. Working with design gives me the chance to understand people from all around the world, lifestyle, desires and behaviors. At the same time enable me to create something unique and relevant to society.

Erin Hurley, Intuit

I’m a Sr. Product Designer at Intuit with 12+ years of experience in UX and Information Architecture. Being in the tech industry was not in the plan! I care about hearing and telling stories and solving complex user problems. I’ve always wanted to do work that was fun and challenging with people who are cool and smart. My path of world travel and meeting lots of interesting people lead me to a career I didn’t plan for but fits my skill set perfectly. I love making products that work for a wide variety of people because they’re made by a wide variety of people.

Vidhika Bansal, Intuit

Vidhika is a user experience researcher and behavioral designer — which means she helps investigate and anticipate people’s needs and wants, and uses that information to design solutions that change people’s behavior.

She currently leads a team of UX researchers at Intuit to help build better products for small business owners and employees. She didn’t always know she wanted to do that though. Her career aspirations have evolved considerably over time, but her love for psychology, the scientific method, and helping people has remained constant throughout.

 

Math Careers

Clare Highland, Intuit

Hello SheTech! My name is Clare and I am a data engineer at Intuit. I went to the University of St. Thomas where I studied Business. This has opened a few doors for me professionally as I have been able to move to Minneapolis, New York City, and now Boise. I am a believer that you don’t have to have your career figured out at a young age and hope you can see that in practice as I share my career path with you.

Iris Anderson, INL – Chief Financial Officer

Iris Anderson is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Director of Business Management at Idaho National Laboratory (INL). The CFO organization is responsible for the financial health of a $1.5B organization. The CFO is also responsible for all procurement activities, contracts established to accomplish research work and providing project management services to the Lab. If you like solving problems, coming up with innovative solutions, using information to make smart decisions and working with diverse teams you should become a CFO!

Elizabeth Worsham, INL – Statistician

Elizabeth has a PhD in mechanical engineering and works at INL in the Integrated Energy Systems and Market Analysis group. Her work focuses on designing electricity generating systems that incorporate nuclear power plants, fossil fuels, and renewable energy sources. The design process happens by building mathematical models of energy systems which can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet, and as complicated as using special software to consider the physics of electricity, heat, and fluids in the system. Statistical methods are used to change different variables, optimize the design, and predict system outcomes and costs before anything is built in real life!

Teaching STEM

Jan Smith, BSU I Do Teach

Who is responsible for inspiring and motivating tomorrow’s scientists, doctors, physicists, mathematicians and computer geniuses? Teachers are! Currently I teach future teachers of STEM at Boise State University. I have a Doctorate in STEM Education and occasionally do research on best practices for education. I also create and design digital teacher resources for science and math education that are used by thousands of teachers worldwide.

Dr. Leslie Atkins Elliot, BSU Physics Professor

Leslie Atkins Elliott has a Ph.D. in physics, with her initial work in condensed matter at Argonne National Lab as part of her PhD program. During her graduate studies, she was surprised by the gap between classroom science and science research, and has been working on narrowing that gap ever since. She has experience in a range of educational settings and research labs, and is passionate about teaching science. She is a professor at Boise State University.

Danya Kruger, CWI

Danya has a deep appreciation for the complexity of the human psyche, an affinity for helping people, and a great love for pursuing knowledge. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and is currently teaching social science courses at College of Western Idaho and writing academic research related to college students’ wellness, secondary trauma in the workplace, and child welfare needs. Danya also holds a Master of Business Administration and has worked as a marketer in the private and public sectors.

Environment & Ecology

Katie McConnell, PhD Candidate at Yale School of the Environment

Katie was born and raised in Boise, and is now pursuing a PhD in environmental sociology from Yale School of the Environment. She researches how climate change affects human communities, with a special focus on wildfires. To do this work, Katie uses coding, data analysis, and map-making skills, many of which she developed as a recent graduate intern with NASA’s Climate Change Research Initiative.

Taylor Ganz, PhD Candidate at University of Washington

Taylor Ganz is a wildlife ecologist and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington, where she studies how deer and elk respond to predators such as wolves, cougars, bears, bobcats, and coyotes, and how those interactions are influenced by wildfire and timber harvest. To conduct her research, Taylor captures wild animals and fits them with GPS collars to collect data on their movement and survival, which she then pairs with satellite-collected imagery and analyzes in various coding platforms. Taylor has also worked as a rock climbing guide, horse-packing guide, wilderness ranger, expedition leader, and teacher, and she studied physics and mechanical engineering in college.

Sarah Funk, Idaho Power

Sarah Funk has worked as a Vegetation Ecologist at Idaho Power Company in Boise, Idaho, since 2007. Her professional focus includes wildlife habitat protection and enhancement, revegetation and restoration, weed control, and rare plant protection. She holds a Master of Science degree in Rangeland Ecology and Watershed Management from the University of Wyoming and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Boise State University.

Jessi Rouda, Idaho Power

Hi I’m Jessi. I’m from Columbus, Ohio and now live in Boise, Idaho working as a White Sturgeon Biologist for Idaho Power 😎 I’ve moved around quite a bit in my 20s finding my way through career opportunities. I am really just beginning my career and still have so much to learn! Look forward to speaking with you all.

Data & Analytics

Janine Davis, Intuit 

Hi my name is Janine Davis (she/her), I’m originally from Southern California where I went to UCSD and received my BA in Political Science. After college, I worked on a few political campaigns and at a large nonprofit health organization before eventually realizing I wanted to gain more hard skills and work in the tech field. I was hired on as a Customer Support rep at a start-up in Boise where I talked directly to small business owners, just like my dad, learned a ton and eventually was mentored by some amazing data folks.  About 2 years ago I was hired on as a Business Data Analyst which means I get to help teams make data driven decisions that impact thousands of business owners and their employees.

Diedra Hollins, INL – Deputy Chief Info Officer

Mrs. Hollins has over 20 years’ experience in technical servant leadership in the Information Technology industry. As the Deputy Chief Information Officer for INL, she is known for  evolving IT environments to meet and exceed Industry Best Practices, organizational goals, and provide superior service.

College Panel

Here is a sample of the types of questions girls asked the college representatives during the college panel.  To see more Q&A and Idaho Community Fund’s Tips & Tricks presentation see https://women-innovators.org/college-resources/

What is your scholarship program like?

College of Idaho: Average institutional scholarship awards are $21,218 per student, per year. Students are automatically considered for academic merit scholarships ranging from $10,000-$20,000 per year based on their GPA. We also offer diversity scholarships, talent scholarships, additional need-based aid, and more. To learn about specific scholarships, check out our scholarship website or email me directly! 

College of Western Idaho: We have a single application for students to submit which can be found here: https://cwi.edu/current-students/grants-scholarships This application matches students to the scholarships they qualify for based on their major, gpa, grade level, or other criteria for specific scholarships. 

Boise State University: We offer a variety of scholarships. Students will be considered for automatic scholarships as long as they have their application and materials in by the scholarship deadline. Additional scholarship opportunities may be available through a separate application process. Scholarship criteria and deadlines can be seen here: https://www.boisestate.edu/scholarships/ (Automatic scholarship, can be seen in step 2. Additional funding opportunities can be seen in steps 3-5)

Idaho State University: ISU awards automatic tuition scholarships based on cumulative, unweighted HS GPA to students who apply by our priority deadline (May 1 for Fall start). We also have the Bengal Online Scholarship System (BOSS) where students can search and apply for recommended scholarships opportunities that match their qualifications. You must be admitted to ISU in order to access BOSS.

University of Idaho: Our main scholarship program is our Go Idaho! Program, which is based on a high school student’s unweighted cumulative high school GPA. Students who have at least a 3.0 are awarded $1,000 up to $4,000 per year for four years. We also offer scholarships through our Honors program, various departments, and we offer a full-ride to National Merit Finalists. You can find more information here: https://www.uidaho.edu/financial-aid/scholarships/undergraduate/hs-resident

Do you recommend dorming or getting an apartment?

College of Idaho: The College of Idaho has a three-year on-campus living requirement. Freshmen can choose from many different themed communities, including a STEAM floor, a Healthy Living floor, an Outdoor floor, and more! After the first year, we also have many different residence options, including on-campus apartments and houses. We believe that no matter what college you choose, one of the best ways to ensure your success your first year is to live on campus! The College of Idaho is a very tight-knit community and there is always something going on — when you are on campus, all these opportunities are right in your back yard! 

College of Western Idaho: We don’t offer housing on campus therefore most students opt for an apartment or living with a family member.

Boise State University:  Living on campus gives you the full Boise State experience, and helps you get connected with students, faculty and staff. You’re in the heart of campus life, close to classes, food, the library and the recreation center. You are steps away from a host of resources to help you succeed. We highly recommend looking into on campus housing options as a freshmen.

Idaho State University: Living on campus is not required at ISU, but it is highly recommended. On average, we have found that our students who live on-campus have higher GPAs, likely due to close access to student services like our Student Success Center, library, your classes/professors, etc. You’re also more likely to meet people, get involved, and have fun!

University of Idaho: I always recommend that students live on campus! We require that all first-year students live on campus (residence halls or fraternities/sororities), but students can petition to live off-campus their first year if they so choose. Studies show that students who live on campus do better academically and socially. Plus, living on campus where all the fun is! I lived on campus all four years and I absolutely loved it and recommend it whole-heartedly.

Tech Challenge

Our virtual tech challenge this year is addressing food scarcity during Covid-19. The girls will use design thinking methods to come up with solutions to address food scarcity due to a lack of school lunches.

Thank you to all our volunteers and sponsors that made SheTech 2021 a success!