2020 Women in STEM (Postponed)


With many of our partner companies issuing new policies around forgoing events, we have made the difficult decision to POSTPONE the Women in STEM event, originally scheduled for March 10th, 2020.

We do intend to host this event in the future, likely in Fall 2020. We invite you to join us then! We will be sure to let each of you know all details for the rescheduled event as soon as we have them.

There are many STEM Week events that will still be happening this week! Be sure to check them out by clicking on our “STEM Week” link in the banner above!

Thank you for your understanding and flexibility. We look forward to connecting with you all in the future to celebrate Women in STEM!

Women in STEM provides space for young women to celebrate and exhibit their own achievements and learnings in STEM and be inspired by a host of women who have moved the needle in STEM.

The  program kicks off with an interactive exhibition hour where companies and STEM organizations can showcase their work in STEM alongside high school, middle school, and college-aged students. The highlight of the event is a panel of women leaders in STEM, from CEOs of biotechnology companies, to award-winning engineers, and beyond. The program sends an inclusive message about what makes a successful STEM professional, as well as helps the young women in attendance recognize career-relevant STEM skills.

This year, Women in STEM will be hosted twice during STEM Week:

March 8, 2020 | San Diego Art Institute | 1439 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 | 1 PM – 4 PM
The San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering is excited to partner with the San Diego Art Institute (SDAI) and its latest exhibit, Illumination: 21st Century Interactions With Art + Science + Technology and its corresponding week-long program, “Shattered Ceilings: Women and Girls in STEM.”
This exhibit reveals the possibilities that open when challenges such as climate change, global health, and sustainability are viewed through the intersection of art, science, and technology; and how these fields are an integral part of our world and open doors to future generations of all economic and cultural backgrounds to imagine themselves in STEAM fields as solution makers. STEM will undoubtedly be one of the major forces that addresses these issues head on with the solutions that the 21st century demands. Women and girls must be part of the conversation and their leadership in STEM must be an essential facet of the solution making process.

Register March 8

 Postponed March 10, 2020 | Takeda | 9625 Towne Centre Dr, San Diego, CA 92121 | 5 PM – 8 PM
The second Women in STEM program of 2020 STEM Week will have a more targeted focus on high school and college-aged women. The exhibition hour will occur both before and after the “STEM Sessions” and will serve as a space to foster connections between students aspiring to become STEM professionals, and the companies that may one day hire them.

Register March 10

2020 Speakers


Dawn BarryDawn Barry

Co-Founder & President | LunaPBC

Dawn Barry is President and Co-founder of Public Benefit Corporation, LunaPBC. LunaPBC launched LunaDNA, the first people-powered health data sharing platform owned by its community of members (SEC-qualified platform). Luna enables personal data sharing for accelerating medical discoveries with privacy, control, transparency, and reciprocity built in.
Dawn is a veteran of the genomics industry. Prior to Luna, Dawn served as the vice president of Applied Genomics at Illumina, Inc. Dawn joined Illumina in 2005 as their first market development specialist and held leadership roles in business units, sales, and marketing for the company. 

Prior to Illumina, Dawn spent seven years at Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, one of the first genomics startups focused on individualized medicine and DNA-based diagnostic testing, with the primary responsibility of promoting clinical genetics testing services for pharmaceutical clinical trials.

World Economic Forum named LunaPBC a 2019 Technology Pioneer. Dawn was named San Diego Business Journal’s 2017 Business Woman of the Year, was a speaker at TEDxSanDiego 2016, and is a Board Chair of the Alzheimer’s Association San Diego/Imperial Chapter.
Dawn holds a BS in biology from the University of Vermont, where she played division one softball, and an MBA from the University of Connecticut School of Business. She is a Girl Scoot Troop treasurer and lives in Solana Beach with her husband their two daughters.

Paulette DonnellonPaulette Donnellon

President, San Diego County Board of Education | LEGO Education

In June of 2016, Paulette Donnellon was elected to the San Diego County Board of Education representing District 4, which includes a large portion of the county stretching from Vista to the eastern county line and from Lakeside to the northern boundary.

Donnellon has more than 20 years of experience working with technology in education. She served on the Escondido Union School District Board of Education from 2012-2016.  Currently, she is living the dream working for LEGO® Education, which offers playful learning experiences and teaching solutions based on the LEGO® system of bricks. In addition to her technology and volunteer background, Donnellon has served nine years in the U.S. Army and was deployed during Desert Storm.

She is an active community member and enjoys spending time with her family and friends in the desert.

Since 1976, Donnellon has resided in Escondido. She is married to John, a retired Escondido police officer, and small business owner. Together they have two adult sons.


Mariana GadaletaMariana Gadaleta

Scientist I, Molecular Diagnostics | Hologic

Born in Argentina, Mariana Gadaleta got her degree in molecular biology and biotechnology from the University of Buenos Aires. She then moved to the US and obtained a PhD in Molecular, Cellular Biology and Genetics from Drexel University College of Medicine. Her doctoral thesis unveiled a novel mechanism that prevent genomic instability in a yeast model system. As a post doc at the Scripps research institute in San Diego, she worked on understanding DNA repair mechanisms in fission yeast. Motivated to have a more direct impact on patient lives, she recently joined HOLOGIC where she focuses on developing molecular diagnostic tools for viral diseases. 


Jillian JarrettJillian Jarrett

Senior Data Scientist | Booz Allen Hamilton

Jillian Jarrett is a Senior Data Scientist at Booz Allen Hamilton. She works within the Strategic Innovations Group to provide machine learning and artificial intelligence solutions to both commercial and government clients. In addition to serving clients, she strives to foster a culture of inclusion within her company. She founded Booz Allen’s San Diego chapter of Women in Data Science (WiDS): an organization dedicated to empowering women and achieving gender parity at all levels. She holds a Bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley in Molecular and Cellular Biology, and a Master's degree in Data Science and Engineering from UC San Diego. 

Lauren LekLauren Lek, Ed.D.

Head of School | Our Lady of Peace

Lauren Lek serves as Head of School for the Academy of Our Lady of Peace in San Diego, California (OLP). Lauren previously served as the Principal of Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward, California. She graduated from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Literature, St. Mary’s College with an M.A. in Educational Leadership and has completed her Doctorate in educational Technology Leadership from Pepperdine University. She has won many local awards in her short time in San Diego, including the Athena Pinnacle Educator of the Year award for 2016. Athena is an organization that promotes women in STEM fields. 

In her time as principal at her previous school, she created one of the first coordinated STEM programs in Northern California, launching four different Engineering courses: Engineering Design, Green Engineering, Robotics Engineering, Gaming Design and Analysis STEAM. Here, at this school, she has enhanced the STEAM programs (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) with the launch of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Program, Biotechnology, Engineering Design, Architecture, AP Computer Science and Orchestra. She spearheaded the integration of Virtual Reality learning software such as zSpace into a cross-curricular platform, pioneering this level of technological integrated learning at the high school level. 

Lauren is a member of Rotary 33 and serves on the STEM Committee with several Rotarians to bring opportunities in learning to the lower-socioeconomic schools. Dr. Lek is a venerable partner in creating a work force educated in diversity and inclusive knowledge and practices. Understanding that “equal is not always equitable,” Lek launched the Sisters and Scholars program bridging together pedagogy and the needs associated with student learning differences. 

Now in its 5th year and hosted in Women’s History Month, The OLP Women’s Symposium, is the direct result of the visionary leadership of Dr. Lek. The event welcomes female leaders from across California and the nation to share their achievements and career pathways with the next generation of women leaders. Dr. Lauren Lek has successfully moved OLP from being the “best kept secret in San Diego” to being a nationally recognized, innovative educational institution. 

Lauren married her college sweetheart and they have three beautiful young children.

Monique RodriguezMonique Rodriguez

Senior Director, Government Affairs | Qualcomm

Monique Rodriguez is Senior Director of Government Affairs for QUALCOMM Incorporated.  In this capacity she manages part of QUALCOMM's international public policy agenda on a range issues, including international trade, technology policy, competition and innovation, and intellectual property. In addition to maintaining and strengthening QUALCOMM's relationships with branches of the United States and foreign governments, she often represents the company before industry associations and multilateral institutions, such as the United Nations and World Trade Organization (WTO). 

Ms. Rodriguez also manages all legislative matters at the local and state level, including political fundraising and acting as the QUALCOMM liaison to local and state government in all 50 states. In this capacity Ms. Rodriguez is responsible for creating and executing corporate strategy in areas ranging from quality of life, technology neutrality, environmental stewardship and taxation.

Ms. Rodriguez serves as a member of the San Diego & Imperial District Export Council.  She also serves on the boards of the National Center for APEC, National Foreign Trade Council and the New Children’s Museum.

Ms. Rodriguez graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics.  She also received a Masters in Business Administration from the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego in 2008.

QUALCOMM Incorporated (www.qualcomm.com) is a leader in developing and delivering innovative digital wireless communications products and services based on the Company’s CDMA digital technology.  Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., QUALCOMM is included in the S&P 500 Index and is a 2015 FORTUNE 500® company traded on The Nasdaq Stock Market® under the ticker symbol QCOM.

Sandra SettiSandra Setti

Compliance Specialist | SOLV, Inc. A Swinerton Company

Sandra Setti is the CIP Compliance Manager at SOLV, a renewable energy company that provides operations and maintenance services for solar and wind projects across the country. As CIP Compliance Manager, Sandra’s primary responsibility is to ensure SOLV’s compliance with federal cyber security regulations addressing grid security, known as NERC CIP standards. Before her promotion, Sandra was SOLV’s Compliance Specialist, working on procedures and trainings to support operational and environmental compliance. 

After finishing her degree at UCLA, Sandra worked as a Clinical Research Assistant with the Endocrinology department at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, then took time off to travel.  After moving to San Diego, she was offered a position as a Geographic Information Systems Intern at Energie de France Renewable Energy (EDF), a French renewable energy company that develops and operates renewable energy sites around the world. Seeing an opportunity for growth in the rapid expansion of renewable energy and the increasing scope of NERC regulations, Sandra changed her focus to compliance and started a full-time position as EDF’s Compliance Coordinator. Since then, she has enjoyed the melding of law, business, and technology that allows her to work with a variety of departments making her job dynamic and unpredictable.

Sandra holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Relations and Spanish from UC Davis, as well as a Master of Arts degree in Urban Planning from UCLA.

Hilda MwangiHilda Mwangi

Senior Manager for Site Engagement and External Relations | Takeda California (TCAL)

Ms. Hilda Mwangi is the Senior Manager for Site Engagement and External Relations at Takeda California (TCAL). Prior to joining TCAL, Ms. Mwangi served as the Director of World Trade Center San Diego (WTC) and as Vice-Consul for the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT), where she assisted sciences companies with their UK-focused international expansion strategy and conversely, UK companies looking to set up in the United States, with a focus on San Diego and Arizona. In addition to her public-sector experience, she also has extensive business experience working at SMEs in the private sector. A licensed attorney, Hilda also has a rich background in legislation and policy, having served as the Legislative Aide for Maryland Senator, Norman R. Stone Jr. for seven years. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Towson University (Towson, MD) and her Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration from American University (Washington, DC). In 2018, she was appointed to the San Diego International Affairs Board and was named a finalist in San Diego’s NEXT Top 40 under 40 of Business Leaders by the San Diego Business Journal.

Erin EnglishErin English

Executive Director of Innovation | San Diego County Office of Education

Erin English, Ed.D is currently the Executive Director of Innovation for the San Diego County Office of Education. She has served 28 years in public education and earned her doctorate in organizational leadership through the University of La Verne. She has worked with Digital Promise as an administrative coach bringing digital options to district and site leaders across the nation. Erin also teaches online master’s level courses for aspiring administrators for Concordia University and is a facilitator for the National Institute of School Leadership. 

Erin’s background includes being a classroom teacher, site administrator, district administrator, and now county administrator. She was also a school board member. Her areas of focus have been on OER, PBL, competency-based learning, curriculum, maker-spaces, professional learning, and innovative classroom pedagogy. 


Saura NaderiSaura Naderi

UC San Diego

Saura Naderi ‘07 earned her engineering degree from UC San Diego Jacobs School just as the recession hit. Not satisfied with the opportunities available to her, she created her own. She volunteered, later becoming an employee, to create a program at UC San Diego where undergraduates and K-12 students could play and explore science and technology with art-themed engineering-based projects. After receiving the exemplary employee award at UC San Diego and the Athena Pinnacle Award and invited to do a TEDx talk, she was recruited by Qualcomm to create a similar program named - Thinkabit Lab. Thinkabit Lab engaged 14,000+ middle school students and has been replicated in many different environments from libraries and schools to universities and companies. While at Qualcomm, she also designed the Robot Dress that went viral on multiple platforms. Saura left Qualcomm to start her own company, ViaSaura, to help organizations build their STEM programs and provide workshops to students.  Along her career journey, she was also a contestant on SyFy's Robot Combat League in 2013 and the color commentator on the world's first giant robot fight USA vs Japan in 2017.     

Dr. Kimberly ByerslundDr. Kimberly Byerslund

Physician | U.S. Army

Dr. Kimberly Byers-Lund is a board-certified family physician in practice since 1996. She is affiliated with Sharp Community Medical and serves as a physician in the US Army Reserve. She attended the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific and completed her residency at Sharp Family Medical Center.

Exhibiting Groups

Association for Women in Science (AWIS)
Booz Allen Hamilton
Elementary Institute of Science
San Diego Gas & Electric
Swinerton Renewable Energy
U.S. Army

Special Thanks to our Sponsors:

Lead Sponsor

  • Swinerton Builders

Supporting Sponsors

  • Swinerton Renewable Energy
  • SDG&E
  • Hologic
  • U.S. Army
  • Brother’s Catering
  • San Diego Art Institute
  • Takeda
  • Boozallen

2020 Platinum Sponsors

2020 Gold Sponsors

Join us - EXPO Day at Petco Park

March 7, 2020 - 10a-5p

Over 125 hands-on exhibits, live performances, free and open to the public -- join in the fun the exciting venue of PETCO Park in Downtown San Diego!

We Love Our Sponsors!

It takes true community spirit and engagement to build a successful Festival Week that not only provides meaningful experiences, but sets a path for the future of San Diego.

2020 Sponsors  2020 Sponsor Application

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