Women working in a lab at Virginia Tech

Feb. 26 from 6-8:30 p.m,
Science Museum of Virginia
2500 West Broad St., Richmond, VA 23220
Thalhimer Theater & Lobby (parking information)

Join us for a panel discussion "Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)." We'll hear from Virginia Tech alumnae who are navigating the challenges and excelling in these male dominated fields.

The discussion will be followed by a casual networking reception with fellow alumnae and university faculty. This is a chance for alumni to share experiences, build professional networks, and explore industry trends.

Join fellow alumni and friends at a networking event to include a panel discussion with fellow Hokie alumnae as they share their experiences. 

The program will begin at 6:45 p.m. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres, as well as beer, and wine will be available. 

Check back soon for a full list of panelists.


Susan Sumner

Susan Sumner serves as associate dean and director of academic programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech. Prior to accepting this position, she was department head of food science and technology at Virginia Tech. She joined Virginia Tech as an associate professor in 1996 and has been at Virginia Tech for 22 years. Her long-standing record of service to the university and the food science profession includes chairing university and college department-head groups as well as the Council of Food Science Administrators. Additionally, she has served on the National Academy of Science’s Food Forum and several of its food safety task-force groups. She has served as chair of the APLU Academic Programs Section.

Susan has received university and college awards for her teaching, research, and extension accomplishments and impacts. She was the recipient of the 2000 Virginia Tech Alumni Excellence in Extension Award and the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Outstanding Educator Award. She was selected as an IAFP Fellow and a Food Systems Leadership Institute Fellow. Sumner has developed an internationally recognized food safety program that integrates all the missions of a land-grant university. Her program has been supported by more than $3.9 million in competitive funds.

Susan earned her bachelor’s degree in food science from North Carolina State University and her master and doctoral degrees in food science/food safety from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She served as an assistant/associate professor at the University of Nebraska before being recruited by Virginia Tech.

Sally Morton

Morton is internationally recognized in the use of statistics and data science to help patients make better healthcare decisions. She has been involved in projects across a wide range of clinical and societal topics such as back pain, healthcare quality, homelessness, mental health, and substance abuse.

She has collaborated on numerous patient-centered comparative effectiveness research projects, including observational studies and pragmatic trials. Her methodological research focuses on evidence synthesis, particularly the aggregation of studies via meta-analysis.

Morton joined the College of Science at Virginia Tech as dean in 2016. Previously, she was chair of biostatistics at the University of Pittsburgh, vice president for statistics and epidemiology at RTI International, and head of the RAND Corporation Statistics Group.

Morton served as president of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and is a Fellow of the ASA and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She received the Janet L. Norwood Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in the Statistical Sciences in 2017.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematical sciences, a master’s degree in operations research, and a doctoral degree in statistics, all from Stanford University, as well as a master’s degree in statistics from the London School of Economics.

Morton holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematical sciences, a master’s degree in operations research, and a doctoral degree in statistics, all from Stanford University, as well as a master’s degree in statistics from the London School of Economics.


Elizabeth Copeland

Copeland is a senior manager in regulatory affairs for Altria Client Services Inc., a subsidiary of Altria Group, Inc., located in Richmond, Virginia. She provides regulatory product strategy services to Altria and its operating companies.

Bettina Ring

Jennings is the deputy secretary of natural resources for the Chesapeake Bay under Secretary of Natural Resources Matt Strickler in the office of Gov. Ralph Northam. Prior to her current position, she was the Virginia director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, a tri-state legislative commission created to advise the general assemblies of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia on matters of bay-wide concern.

Prior to the commission, Jennings served as the Virginia executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Her career also includes work as a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Originally from Virginia Beach, Jennings received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries sciences from Texas A&M University. She is a graduate of the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute and the Sorensen Institute’s Political Leaders Program.

Simone Acha

Simone provides IT consulting and advisory services to senior executives in the Federal Government and private industry. She currently provides leadership to several philanthropic boards. Among others, she is the Governance and Membership Chair for the Smithsonian Science Education Center Advisory Board providing Smithsonian-based science curricula for grades K-8.

Simone serves as a member of the WashingtonExec STEM Council and mentors high school girls seeking careers in the STEM fields through the Girls in Technology organization. She also serves as Membership Chair for the Virginia Tech National Capital Region’s President Leadership Council.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Katie Lafon at 540-231-8706 or klafon@vt.edu during regular business hours at least five business days prior to the event.


Register here.




For questions or more information, contact Katie Lafon at klafon@vt.edu.