Women in Making Forum

Women in Making 2021 Global Making
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UConn’s Women in Making Forum seeks to highlight how women find success within the maker movement. We will identify barriers to entry and discuss best practices to navigate these obstacles through interactive discussion. There will be speakers on inclusivity, gender bias, and the history of women in making. Additionally, we will host skill-building workshops which celebrate crafting, mending, and repurposing as universal, feminist, self-reliant practices.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Women in Making Forum!

Watch the Recording of the Global Making Panel


Giveaways • Skillshare Takeaways • Free Food • Skill-Building

Women in Making Forum Program

In-Person Program

We will observe all health and safety guidelines. Masks are required to be worn at all times, as well as any other personal protective equipment required for your skillshares, if needed.

9:00am Check In Begins Check in and get settled in your first skillshare location.
9:30am Skillshare Session #1 There will be 3 different skillshares to choose from. You will choose one when you register.
10:30am Break Take a little stretch and get to your second skillshare location.
10:45am Skillshare Session #2 There will be 3 different skillshares to choose from. You will choose one when you register.
11:45am Lunch We will provide lunch safely for those attending in-person.


Our In-Person Skillshares: Session #1 Options

Latin Dancing with UConn B.A.I.L.E.

Faciltators: Liliana Lorenzo & Liz Itzler

Learn the history and cultural perspectives of our facilitators, and the basics of the Bachata (dance of Dominican Republic origin) and Cumbia (dance of Colombian origin).

Liliana Lorenzo

About Liliana: I am a Sociology major, and I am from Norwich, Connecticut. I am the Event Coordinator for Bringing Awareness Into Latino Ethnicities. I am also involved in Student Empowerment in Sociology, a Student Peer Advisor for SSS and Jumpstart. Both of my parents are Dominican, but I was born in Puerto Rico and moved to CT when I was 11; then lived here ever since. Through my family, I have kept a strong connection to my culture and I am excited to share my Dominican heritage at the event.

Liz Itzler

About Liz: I am Liz Itzler, a Pre-Pharmacy sophomore at UConn Storrs. I am proud to be a Colombian woman because my culture gives color to my life. I have danced since I was five years old, from taking Cumbia classes in Colombia to learning Jazz and Lyrical dance in the United States.

Vesak Lantern-Making with PhD Candidate Anushka Silva

Faciltator: Anushka Silva

Illuminate the night by creating a Vesak Lantern with Anushka Silva, and even wire up a light for it!

Vesak is a cultural and religious festival in Sri Lanka, to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha. Colourful lanterns, pandols and lights are used to pay homage to Buddha. Among these decors, Vesak lanterns are the most commonly built decor during Vesak which light up the whole home.

Anushka Silva

About Anushka: I am from Sri Lanka. Currently a first year pHD student at the Department of Chemistry and working as a Graduate Assistant.

Skincare and Crafts with Boston College Student Judy Yim

Facilitator: Judy Yim

Create your own serums for rejuvenating skin and get your fold on with origami.

Judy Yim

About Judy: I am a Junior studying Operations Management and Business Analytics at Boston College. I'm from Middletown, New York, but I spent the first few years of my life growing up in New York City. I am a BC F1RST Ambassador and an E-Board member of the Boston College Symphony Orchestra. I am also a part of several culture clubs like the Southeast Asian Students Association (SEASA) and Japan Club at Boston College (JCBC). Being a part of culture clubs lets me learn about other cultures while also learning more about what my Chinese identity means to me, so I am excited to experienc e this with you all.

Our In-Person Skillshares: Session #2 Options

Arabic Poetry with Pharmacy Student Nawal Elmahy

Faciltator: Nawal Elmahy

Learn about the history and art of this important form of making while also practicing calligraphy-drawing, creating your own poems to reflect your values, as Arabs have done.

Nawal Elmahy

About Nawal: I am a junior in my first year of Pharmacy School. I’m was born in Egypt, but live in New Milford, CT. I have two younger brothers. I have a pet chicken named Shawarma, she is very cute.

Robotics with LCIZ Maker Specialist Luna Fukami

Faciltator: Luna Fukami

Learn the technological evolution of robots in Japan, and make your own robot! You will also learn more about women-led and founded companies in the robotics industry.

Luna Fukami

About Luna: I am a junior in mechanical engineering at UConn. I was born in Japan but came to the US when I was just turning 6 years old. I am raised in a multi-racial family, where my mom is African-American and Native-American, while my dad is Japanese. I work at the LCIZ as a Maker Specialist.

Fan of Fans with LC Council Innovation Committee Member Sofia Saul

Faciltator: Sofia Saul

Decorate a paper fan in the Spanish tradition and learn about the different ways fans are valued and utilized in various cultures.

Sofia Saul

About Sofia: I am a Junior Political Science Major and HDFS Minor with an Early Childhood Specialization. Originally, I am from Goshen, New York, but I have loved getting to know Connecticut these past couple of years. I am the NAISA social media chair, Reach Bar's social media coordinator, and a member of the Innovation Learning Community Council. I am also involved in a myriad of mentoring programs on campus. I am half Puerto Rican and half Spanish. I have always been incredibly connected to my culture, and I am so excited for this opportunity to share aspects of my culture. 

Virtual Program

Make sure you have a Zoom account all set so you can be part of the virtual activities! We strongly recommend downloading the Zoom Client to a computer or tablet to fully engage at this event.

1:00pm Women in Making: Global Making Panel We will engage in a thought-provoking dialogue about women in making from a global, multicultural, interdisciplinary perspective. Our panelists will discuss their own maker stories and journeys, with opportunities for questions from the audience.
2:15pm Virtual Skillshare Session There will be 2 different skillshares to choose from. You will choose one when you register.


Meet Our Panelists

Moderator: Carly Wanner-Hyde ’20


Design Technologist, UConn Greenhouse Studios


Carly Wanner-Hyde is a UConn and LCIZ alumni who graduated in December 2020 with a BFA in Digital Media and Design and helped start the first Women in Making Day in 2019. She is currently working as a Design Technologist at Greenhouse Studios at UConn. Carly loves to find new ways to connect different ideas and perspectives through conversation, art, and other forms of making. She is a firm believer that everyone, in some way, is a maker, whether that be through art, sculpture, sewing, mathematics, engineering, or storytelling, just to name a few mediums. Her passions lie in using her talents and abilities to help amplify the voices of others and work on projects with a greater social impact to raise awareness and help educate others. She hopes to help connect people to what they love and inspire them to continue learning and pushing themselves to be the greatest, most authentic version of who they can become.
In her free time, Carly enjoys woodworking, rock climbing, longboarding, drawing, learning French, and playing outside with her puppy, Momo.

Check out Carly's Portfolio

Raina Jain ’24

Raina Jain

Inventor, HiveGuard
Founder, QueenBee


My passion for science, entrepreneurship, and long-distance running have all taught me a fundamental lesson; have big goals and even bigger dreams, but remember to take one step at a time. My company HiveGuard is a device that eliminates varroa mite infestations from honeybee hives. Along with working on HiveGuard full time, I recently launched a venture called The QueenBee with the same mission of helping the honeybees - an immune support shot infused with honeybee byproducts, where a pollinator tree is planted for every bottle sold. I believe entrepreneurship and science is a powerful way to make an impact. Starting from picking up a plastic straw on a beach to attending climate change protests, anyone can make a difference.

Dr. Liisa Kuhn

Kuhn headshot 2020A

Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering, UConn School of Dental Medicine


3D printing for women’s health

Dr. Liisa Kuhn is Associate Professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department, School of Dental Medicine, University of Connecticut. She received her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at Duke University and worked at General Dynamics in San Diego, CA before completing her MS and PhD in Materials Engineering at the University of California Santa Barbara. Dr. Kuhn held postdoctoral positions at Case Western University and Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital, conducting biomineralization studies and learning how to conduct orthopedic research. She joined the faculty at UConn Health after co-founding and selling a start-up company in Boston, MA focused on commercializing natural crystals from bone. In 2018 she was inducted as a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers (AIMBE) and in 2020 as a Fellow of the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering (IUSBSE) for her distinguished accomplishments and leadership in biomaterials research. During a visiting professorship in 2017 to the University of Bordeaux, France she was trained in 3D bioprinting and is now actively involved in writing 3D bioprinting standards for the American Society of Testing and Materials. Most recently she was granted an award from the CT Breast Health Initiative to print breast prostheses for women that underwent mastectomy. This project, called the Biosymmetrix project, aims to create soft tissue mimics to restore symmetry and self-confidence in patients that have disfiguring cancer resections or injuries.

Dr. Rita Orji

Rita Orji

Research Chair, Persuasive Technology & Professor, Computer Science, Dalhousie University, Canada


Prof. Rita Orji is a Canada Research Chair in Persuasive Technology, and a Computer Science Professor at Dalhousie University, Canada where she directs the Persuasive Computing Lab. Her research in the area of Human-Computer Interaction focuses on designing interactive technologies that empower people, improve lives, and contribute to solving many societal problems. She applies her work to tackle real-life problems in various domains including improving a wide range of health and wellness outcomes such as mental health, healthy eating, physical activity, smoking cessation, sexual and other health risk behaviours. She has won many competitive funding from agencies and governments around the world to support her work.

With over 160 peer-reviewed papers, Prof. Orji has won over 60 prestigious awards and recognitions nationally and internationally in recognition of her outstanding achievements both in academia and in the society at large. Recently, she was recognized as one of the Top 150 Canadian Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), one of the Top 60 African Women in STEM, Top 50 Young Most Influential Best Brains in Enugu State, Nigeria, 100 Leading Nigerian Women, and admitted into the Royal Society of Canada. She also won many research excellence awards and a digital leadership award as a Women Leader in Digital Economy for her work in advancing technology both in Canada and in her native country of Nigeria.

Prof. Orji is a renowned speaker who has delivered over 100 invited talks, keynote speeches, and public presentations. She has attracted over 100 instances of media coverage by major news organizations such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), and StarPhoenix on account of her work and empowerment programs with significant social and community impact. She was also a speaker at a United Nations panel. Above all, Prof. Orji is a Champion of diversity and inclusion in STEM through her numerous activities and using herself as a practical example. She founded the Education for Women and the Less Privileged Foundation. She is passionate about inspiring the next generation of youths and female tech leaders, promoting research excellence, equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM. Prof. Orji also consults and serves as a board member for many agencies. She graduated as a top student with First-class honours standing in all her studies and was recognized by various governments including the Nigerian, Turkish, and Canadian Governments for her outstanding performance. She is a highly sought-after speaker and mentor who broke the barriers of growing up in a disadvantaged background and making a great impact on the global stage.


Ankita Shree

Ankita Shree

Cofounder and CFO, UnitX® Technologies


I started my career in a leadership position as a bureaucrat in Government of India's Internal Revenue Service (IRS), with a skill set based around national and international taxation, corporate laws and governance, as well as financial management and regulation. Leadership, Responsibility, Initiative, Team Management, Principled Decision-making in high stake environments are some of the key takeaways from that role that have fundamentally shaped my professional persona.

From the safety and stability of a bureaucrat's career, I then switched to the other spectral end by hurling myself into the stormy world of startups, a decision that's turned out to be more rewarding than I expected, by affording me the opportunity to grow well beyond my niché into areas such as negotiations and deal-making, venture capital fund-raising, cross-border HR management, multi-jurisdictional legal management and regulatory compliance, to name a few.

My professional passion lies in business negotiations and I like to mentor other startups on VC fund-raising and business modelling, whenever I can.

Our Virtual Skillshare Options

Henna Magic with WCSU Student Satil Moni

Faciltator: Satil Moni

Engage in a conversation about henna's history and evolution while learning the basic techniques to do it yourself.

Satil Moni

About Satil: I'm Satil, a junior psychology student minoring in professional writing at WCSU. I've been doing henna as a hobby since I was a kid, and I'm always happy to share the art with people!

Rwandan Storyelling and Culture with PhD Student Sharon Uwanyuze

Faciltator: Sharon Uwanyuze

Hear about Sharon's experience with Rwandan resilience while learning the ways dance is utilized to tell stories in her culture by learning a traditional dance from Rwanda.

Sharon Uwanyuze

About Sharon: Sharon Uwanyuze is originally from Rwanda and she moved to the US in 2012. She's currently a PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering, at the University of Connecticut (UConn). Her research is on advanced ceramics for limiting high-temperature corrosion during the manufacturing of titanium metal. Outside work, Sharon enjoys multicultural engagements and mentorship. She served as an international student mentor where she helped new international students adjust to campus. She currently serves as the intellectual merit chair of the UConn chapter of the Graduate National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), one of whose main roles is mentoring undergraduate students seeking to pursue higher education in engineering. Sharon's favorite Rwandese author is Karen Bugingo. Bugingo means life in Kinyarwanda, and her book "My name is Life" is a national bestseller. The book is set in Kigali which is also Sharon's hometown! Another book she recommends is, "Left to Tell" by Immaculee Ilibagiza.

Thank You 2021 Sponsors!

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