W.Va. Women in Tech Conference Features First Female Space Walker

Oct 19, 2014

"What an amazing woman in STEM, #KathrynDSullovan @ #WVWomenTech"
Credit tweeted Kristen Perko

The first woman to walk in space was the keynote speaker at the Women in Tech Conference. Dr. Kathryn Sullivan and several other speakers met at Oglebay Park in Ohio County to talk about empowerment and technology.

About 100 women from higher education institutions, the private sector, and some college students listened to speakers with a wide variety of professional backgrounds who either use technology effectively or work in technological fields.

West Virginia University’s Provost Joyce McConnell, for example, offered thoughts about how to find and hold onto empowerment. And she stressed the point that there are plenty of women who are already mastering and/or contributing to technological fields.

After receiving an award from the Small Business Administration, CEO of New South Media Nikki Bowman spoke about the obstacles she overcame to develop several West Virginia-centered magazines. She warned against apathy, challenged her audience to consider how their choices will impact their community, and exuded pride in her West Virginia heritage to great applause.

The conference’s keynote address was delivered by Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Under-Secretary of Department of Commerce and Administrator with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Sullivan’s expertise spans the frontiers of the sea to the frontiers of space. She’s an oceanographer and an astronaut.

This was the second Women in Tech conference organized by TechConnectWV. The organization’s Executive Director Ann Barth says the object is to give women in the state an opportunity to learn, be inspired, and network.

The conference was sponsored by the WV Department of Education and the Arts, Marshall University, West Virginia University, the WV Higher Education Policy Commission Division of Science & Research, the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, BrickStreet Insurance, WesBanco, and American Electric Power.