top of page


How WNY Women and Minorities Move STEM Innovation

Thursday, March 28, 2019

9:00 am – 11:00 am

The Buffalo History Museum, 1 Museum Court, Buffalo, NY 14216

See the Infographic on STEM Diversity in the WNY Workforce (Erie County) HERE

See Program PowerPoint Presentation HERE

Printed Program HERE

A conversation about WNY STEM innovation and the people who fuel it.

  • Keynote Speaker: Ms. Cindy Simpson, Chief Business Development Officer, Association for Women in Science (AWIS)

  • WNY STEM Hub Inclusion Council – “Findings on Women and Minorities in Local STEM Jobs” by Jenny Mogavero, President, Prospect Hill Consulting LLC

Panel Moderator: Karen King, Commission of Public Advocacy for Erie County and Executive Director, Erie County Commission on the Status of Women.

Panelists include:

  • Erika Abbondanziera (Watts Architecture & Engineering)

  • Myriah Jaworski (Beckage Law Firm)

  • Venus Quates-Majors (launchTECH)

  • Carley Hill & Sarah Weider (CaHill Resources)

  • Annual STEM Advocate Award: Amber Mooney, Manager of Government Affairs, NYS Business Council

  • STEM Founder’s Award: presented to Dr. Michelle Kavanaugh, WNY STEM Hub

A short Annual Meeting of WNY STEM Hub will precede the program.

Refreshments and networking will follow.

Thanks to our partners:  Erie County Commission on the Status of Women and Association for Women in Science.


Campus Construction Management, Watts Architecture & Engineering, & WNY Invention Convention


























Cindy Simpson, Chief Business Development Office, AWIS


Ms. Simpson is responsible for developing and overseeing all business development aspects with emphasis on institution partnerships, as well as development and implementation of all talent and leadership programs. She has given close to 200 talks on topics of importance to women in STEM at universities, corporations, and professional societies. Ms. Simpson has co-authored various publications including “Mentoring Postdoc Women from an Institutional Perspective” in From Ph.D. to Professoriate book and “Work-Life and Childcare Resources for Postdoc Women” in Advancing Postdoc Women Guidebook. Growing up in Seneca Falls, NY (the birthplace of women’s rights), she is a graduate of Syracuse University with a B.S. in Business Management and George Mason University with a M.Ed. in Curriculum Instruction and Design. In 2010, she earned her certified association executive credential from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), with less than 5 percent of all association professionals having achieved this mark of excellence. She was named to the National Girls Collaborative Project’s Champions Board and is a Co-PI on the AWIS STEM to Market Program, a two-part program that stimulates inclusive and productive STEM entrepreneurship ecosystems. Ms. Simpson currently serves on the National Postdoctoral Association’s Advisory Council, Phi Kappa Phi’s Bylaws Committee, ASAE’s Professional Development Section Council, and is a member of the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives (CESSE) and the Virtual Association Network.

The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) is a global network that inspires bold leadership, research, and solutions that advance women in STEM, spark innovation, promote organizational success and drive systemic change.

Jenny Mogavero, Co-Founder of Prospect Hill Consulting, WNY STEM Hub’s STEM Inclusion Council Representative


Jenny believes that society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and nonprofits alone. She wants to harness the power of her businesses and use profits and growth as a means to a greater end – to increase the number of women and minorities in STEM. As an environmental scientist with 19-years of experience in the Arch./Eng. and geospatial industries she is a co-founder of two “data-first” start-ups that intersect planning and technology to provide purpose-driven solutions. Jenny, along with her team of planners, engineers and data specialists, are determined to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Prospect Hill is an environmental consulting firm that provides custom data management and planning services.


Karen King, Commissioner of Public Advocacy for Erie County and the Executive Director of the Erie County Commission the Status of Women


Dr. King has served as an adjunct graduate faculty member in the Higher Education Student Affairs Administration Program at Buffalo State College and in the Graduate School of Education at the University at Buffalo.  Additionally, she has developed and taught courses and conducted numerous workshops on popular media culture, social justice advocacy, multicultural competency, privilege, gender, race and class.  Dr. King’s research interests include examining the role gender, race, class, and popular culture play in informing women’s and girl’s identity development and access to opportunity.

The Commission works to provide resources to the women and girls of Erie County, to ensure that they participate fully in matters that have an impact on their lives and toward the elimination of all gender based discrimination and the promotion of women’s economic, societal and political empowerment.




Erika R. Abbondanzieri, AIA, LEED® AP, Associate | Architect, Watts Architecture & Engineering


Having grown up in a family of educators, Erika understands and values education, weaving it into her practice.  Erika has taught at the university level and served on the Architecture + Education committee.  With an emphasis on how children and adults experience and interact with the built environment, her designs seek to playfully engage users. She is also a founding board member of Assembly House 150.

Watts Architecture & Engineering is a minority owned firm providing full-service architecture, engineering and environmental consulting.

Carley Hill, Owner, CaHill Resources, WBE WOSB


Ms. Hill owns CaHill Resources and is the CEO and majority owner of CAHill Tech, Inc. With over a decade of industry experience, Carley is dedicated to rebranding the skilled trades as an inclusive and prestigious career option.

Sarah Weigel, Business Development Director


Ms. Weigel is the Business Development Director at CaHill Resources.  Her BA in English and Law graduate work has provided a fresh perspective to the industry.

CaHill Resources, a certified woman owned small business, delivers on market trends toward equipment rental for municipal and government agencies as well as private industry leaders. CAHill Tech, Inc. is a technology based workforce development company dedicated to delivering industry based knowledge.



Myriah Jaworski, Esq., Certified Information Privacy Professional, United States (CIPP/US)

Myriah is a member at Beckage PLLC, where she represents clients on data breaches, cybersecurity and privacy laws.   Certified as an Information Privacy Professional/US by the International Association of Privacy Professionals, Ms. Jaworski counsels clients in manufacturing, health care, financial and technology sectors, on compliance with cybersecurity and data privacy laws.  Prior to joining Beckage she was a Trial Attorney with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and launched successful small businesses.  Ms. Jaworski obtained her joint Masters of Sciences/Juris Doctor degree from Syracuse University, and her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in International Environmental Resources from The George Washington University.

Beckage Law Firm provides counsel on data protection and information security practices.



Venus Quates-Majors, President & CEO at launchTECH


Venus Quates-Majors is a US Air Force Veteran, proud Nerd, and the President and CEO of LAUNCHTech, whose mission is to Solve the Present and Grow the Future of the tech industry. As an accomplished professional with over 20 years of domestic and international experience, she has acquired a wealth of technical and business development knowledge across a wide range of demanding roles and sectors. Venus has led several engineering and technology initiatives with major Fortune 100 and 500 companies, global banking giants, and leaders in the Intelligence and Defense industries.



LAUNCHTECH is a service-disabled veteran, minority, and woman owned technology firm that provides technology, business, and workforce solutions to government and commercial customers.

bottom of page