The Innovate(her) program at the UT Dallas Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship was honored with the 2019 Tech Titan of the Future-University Level award at the annual Tech Titans awards gala on Aug. 23.
Tech Titans, the largest technology trade organization in Texas, recognized 14 outstanding technology companies, organizations and individuals in North Texas that have made significant contributions to their industries.
The Tech Titan of the Future-University Level award recognizes educational institutions that encourage and support students in choosing engineering and technology-related disciplines as a preferred path.
Innovate(her) participants engage with professional women mentors from the community through a series of activities designed to encourage innovative thinking. The students learn about technology, design thinking, financial management and brand development.
Denyse Carpio, assistant to the center director for the institute, credited the Tech Titans honor to strong corporate, alumni and mentor support for the program.
“Over the past few years, Innovate(her) has blossomed into a meaningful, topical program for middle-school girls from across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex,” Carpio said. “Our staff is passionate about empowering girls to innovate and create, and that means that technology must be at the forefront of our program. The Tech Titans award not only affirms the spirit of the program, it also provides the opportunity to expand our scope even further.”
More than 200 junior high girls from Dallas and Collin counties convened on the UT Dallas campus Feb. 22 for the second annual Innovate(her) program. Through its Future Edge initiative, the Dallas office of banking and finance company Capital One partnered with the institute to put on the daylong event.
The girls rotated through activities that explored mobile app development, personal financial budgeting, creating a personal brand and thinking creatively to reach a goal.
Innovate(her) offered “a great opportunity to invest in future leaders,” according to JSOM alumna Monica Shortino, MS’08, Capital One’s director of social innovation.
UTDesign EPICS was a finalist for the same award. Dr. Rym Zalila-Wenkstern, associate professor of computer science in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, was a finalist for the Technology Inventor Award.
The institute also recently announced that Paul Nichols is its new executive director. Steve Guengerich left the position at the end of August.
Nichols previously was director of academic programs and handled the course and curriculum side of the institute. A senior lecturer in organizations, strategy and international management in the Jindal School, Nichols also is director of the school’s MS in Innovation and Entrepreneurship program.
“North Texas is realizing day by day the importance of UT Dallas — its research, its economic impact and the corporate innovation and entrepreneurial training we offer our undergraduate and graduate students,” Nichols said. “The institute has been recognized nationally and locally for our unique events, courses and resources, and I look forward to working with more students and partnering with additional area companies.”
— Brittany Magelssen