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2011 Catalyst Awards honors life science and technology leaders November 21, 2011

Posted by Connie Chow in Events, SCFG News.
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More than 150 guests joined our fourth annual Catalyst Awards Celebration and Benefit at the Broad Institute in Cambridge to honor Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and Mr. Douglas Banks, publisher of Mass High Tech. This included MA Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Gregory Bialecki; North Shore Technology Council Women’s Initiative chair Michelle Liu Baillie; the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge’s executive director Trish Fleming; and Margaret Chu Moyer, Executive Director at Amgen. (See additional photos here).

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, honorary and host committees, guests and Ambassadors, we raised over $50,000 to support our free programs for girls in K-12 grades in eastern Massachusetts and in Ghana. We are very fortunate to have so many allies and supporters from different walks of life, professions and genders who support our work and who are role models for our girls.

We are especially honored to recognize Douglas Banks and Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister for their commitment and efforts to bring equity to science and technology through successful policies, programs and the media.

Maya Hodgkin-Dottins, a junior in high school and a participant of the SCFG since she was in fifth grade, described the many doors the organization has opened for her both in her personal and academic life. These ranged from participating in an all-girls Rocket Team led by professionals in aeronautics, to contributing to research on a museum exhibit design experience to attending a conference with a couple hundred women who are mid-level executives and CEOs of science and technology companies.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Una Ryan, CEO and President of Diagnostics for All. In addition to sharing the need and potential of the company’s low-cost, paper-based technology to revolutionize healthcare in the developing world, she encouraged the girls in the SCFG program to “use your science well and wisely… and never, never, never give in”.

use your science well and wisely… and never, never, never give in

To give the guests a taste of the hands-on experience that participants typically get on a weekly basis, junior mentors Fawzia Nur, a 9th grader and Jacqueline Guevera, a 12th grader, both at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, distributed balloons and skewers to the guests and guided them through a science “interlude”. The challenge: to puncture the balloon without letting it burst. The exercise was a metaphor that science is about failing and trying again. It was certainly an equalizing experience.

Parent Josette Williams moved the audience to laughter and tears through her vivid and honest recounting of the effect Science Club for Girls has on her daughter and god-daughter’s vocabulary, sense of confidence, and future outlook.

Thanks to IBM, Vertex. Novartis, Amgen, Mintz Levin, Alexandria Real Estate Equities as well as Harvard, MIT, Simmons and Wellesley College for event sponsorship, our silent auction donors from Aquitaine to Craigie on Main to Sarah Cardozo Duncan. Special thanks to Sooz Media for photography and to the Broad Institute for hosting and videography. (Video highlights coming soon!)

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