Celebrating Women of Color in STEM Fields

By Jane Houseal | Photography by Marla Bergh

We wrote about Winnie Karanja in our May/June 2022 issue, and how she’s on a mission to broaden racial and gender equity in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. In fact, her new company, Represented Collective, is based entirely around creating thoughtfully-made campaigns and educational products on inclusivity topics. (Read our profile on her here).

Now she’s bringing her company’s mission to an event at the Goodman Center on July 11. “Legendary: An Evening of Celebration” will be a night of cocktails, conversation, and celebration.

The event will feature a panel of distinguished Madison-area women that work in STEM fields. Karanja, who is the founder/CEO of Represented Collective, explains that the panel will foster critical conversations and also impart tangible steps for attendees to tackle difficult issues related to the intersection of education, STEM and equity.

“The whole goal of the conversation is taking united steps towards creating community-informed, inclusive, sustainable solutions for gender and racial equity in the STEM fields,” Karanja says.

She’s also tying the discussion back to one of Represented Collective’s educational tools, the Legendary card set. The 56-card set showcases primarily notable Black, Indigenous women of color in the STEM fields. The card set covers topics such as representation, identity and racial and gender biases.

The panel is composed of industry professionals and distinguished educators in various STEM disciplines:

  • Ana Hooker, MBA, senior vice president and chief laboratory officer at Exact Sciences
  • Angela Jenkins, CDP, CDE, technology project manager at American Family Insurance
  • Ponmozhi Manickavalli Sathappan, IT manager at CUNA Mutual Group
  • Jasmine Zapata, MD, MPH, chief medical officer for Community Health at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Division of Public Health, and physician and assistant professor at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

The night is also centered around a celebration of women of color and their accomplishments. Specifically, the event is honoring two local women making an impact: Erika Bollock, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education, and Maxine McKinney de Royston, who is also an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education. Both women will receive awards presented by Represented Collective.

Karanja says that “Legendary: An Evening of Celebration” is an event for everybody.

“If you are driven for solutions, if you’re driven and committed to women of color, then this is the space that you need to be to hear their voice,” she says.

Legendary: An Evening of Celebration

July 11, 5:15-7:30 p.m.
Goodman Community Center, 214 Waubesa St.
Tickets: General Admission, $25; college students, $10; high school students, free.

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