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Women in STEM D.C.

Alumnae pose for a photo at a Virginia Tech Alumni Association event

Wednesday, Feb. 19 from 5:30-8 p.m.
AT&T Forum, 601 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

Join fellow alumni and friends for a panel discussion with women leaders who will share stories of success as top scientists and executives advancing industry and training future leaders. 

Panelists will share their personal pathways and experiences in male dominated industries, talk about the importance of female networks, and share how they are paving the way for other women in STEM. 

Brandy Salmon, Virginia Tech associate vice president for innovation and partnerships, will open the program with a university update. Alumna Jennifer Van Buskirk, who is senior vice president of wireless marketing at AT&T, will be the panel's keynote speaker. Other panelists are:

  • Lorraine Feury, lead data scientist at Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Patty Mims, director of global national government at Esri
  • Melanie Pearson Hurley, project manager at the U.S. Department of Energy

The panel will be moderated by Laura Freeman, director and research associate professor at the Hume Center Intelligent Systems Lab and assistant dean for research in the D.C. metro area for the College of Science.

Following the panel there will be a casual networking reception with fellow alumnae and university faculty. This is a chance for alumni to share experiences, build networks, and explore industry trends. Enjoy complimentary hors d'oeuvres, beer, and wine.

About the speakers

Jennifer Van Buskirk

Van Buskirk is senior vice president of wireless marketing at AT&T. She earned an industrial and systems engineering degree in 1995. Her tenure at AT&T spans more than 18 years, including executive roles in multiple divisions.

Van Buskirk's leadership in the industry includes advocacy for STEM education and numerous awards, such as being named to the National Diversity Council’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology and the Diversity MBA's Top 100 Under 50, as well as earning a Female Executive of the Year Bronze Stevie Award for Women in Business.

Salmon is Virginia Tech's associate vice president for innovation and partnerships and serves as as managing director of Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus. She has more than 20 years of experience at the intersection of research and business.

Salmon came to Virginia Tech to oversee a discovery-to-market approach to strengthen industry partnerships and innovation: LINK, the Center for Advancing Industry Partnerships, LICENSE, the Center for Technology Commercialization, and LAUNCH, the Center for New Ventures.

Prior to Virginia Tech, she served as director for RTI’s Innovation Advisors, where she led consulting engagements for federal, corporate, and foundation clients to implement best practices in innovation, identify and evaluate new technologies and products, and develop commercialization strategies and partnerships.

Brandy has bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia, a Ph.D. from Cornell University, and an M.B.A. from Duke University.

Lorraine Feury earned two bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and sociology from Virginia Tech in 2014, and went on to earn a master’s degree in analytics – data science from Georgetown University in 2017.  For the past five years, she has been a data analytics professional for several government agencies in the Washington, D.C. area.  As a lead data scientist, she is responsible for developing data strategy, process improvement for Booz Allen Hamilton.

During her career, Feury became a certified Six Sigma Green Belt, and she is honored to have been the first black master’s graduate from the first cohort of Georgetown University’s analytics – data science program. She is focused on facilitating and fostering ergonomic processes that provide innovative data science approaches and solutions.

 Mims is currently the director of global national government at Esri. In this role she oversees all Esri’s work across the U.S. federal government, including intelligence, defense, public safety, and civilian; non-profit programs globally; as well as International support to national government organizations around the world. Mims also currently serves on the Board of Directors for U.S. Geospatial-Intelligence Foundation. She has been with Esri since 2002.

Mims graduated with a bachelor’s science degree in geography and certification in secondary education from Mary Washington University, and master’s science degree in geography/GIS from Virginia Tech.

Hurley earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Virginia Tech in 1981, and then went on to earn a master’s degree in administration from Central Michigan University in 1984. For the past 28 years, she has been an environmental professional at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. She is currently a project manager responsible for environmental remediation and waste management policy and programs at multiple sites across the Department of Engergy complex.

During her career, she has received awards and recognition by the National Association of Counties, the Assistant Secretary of Energy for Environment, Safety and Health, and the Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management for her innovation and expertise in environmental programs. She has been an advocate for STEM education and has been a featured speaker at multiple community and educational events.

Recently promoted to director of the Intelligent Systems Lab for the Virginia Tech Hume Center for National Security and Technology, Freeman’s research leverages experimental methods that bring together cyber-physical systems, data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to address critical challenges in national security.

She also serves as the assistant dean for research in the Washington, D.C. metro area. In that capacity she works to shape research directions and collaborations across the College of Science in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

Previously, Freeman was the assistant director of the Operational Evaluation Division at the Institute for Defense Analyses.

Laura has a bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering, an a masters degree in statistics, and a Ph.D. in statistics, all from Virginia Tech. Her doctoral research was on design and analysis of experiments for reliability data.