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The Murray Center for Women in Technology at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) will hold a one-day Women Designing the Future conference—“The Environment: Doing More with Less”—on Friday, March 23. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. in the university’s Campus Center Ballrooms A and B.

Conference participants will have opportunities to interact with women scientists, government leaders, entrepreneurs and social justice activists as they outline the near-future challenges posed by accelerating climate change, including disaster preparedness and basic food and water security. Presentations will explore various forms of urban agriculture, sustainable design and the power of data analytics for social good, among other topics.

“The conference highlights innovative, high-impact work by women that integrates technology, science and design to address complex social problems,” said Nancy Steffen-Fluhr, Ph.D., director of the Murray Center. “It’s especially exciting for the younger women in the audience to meet passionately engaged female role models who do what they like and like what they do.”

The conference opens with a continental breakfast and welcoming remarks by NJIT President Joel S. Bloom and Provost Fadi P. Deek. Presenters include key thought leaders from government, academia and industry:

Debbie Mans is New Jersey’s new deputy commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection. She previously served as the executive director of the NY/NJ Baykeeper and as an energy and environment policy advisor to Governor Jon Corzine.

Mary Landry, Rear Admiral, USCG, (retired), served as the federal on-scene coordinator for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and was a senior advisor to President Barack Obama on resilience policy.

Aleksandra Mojsilovic, an IBM Fellow, leads the AI Foundations Department at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, and serves as a co-director for IBM's Science for Social Good Initiative.

Lisa Newman is the chief operating officer of AeroFarms, the world’s largest-producing vertical farm.

Annie Novak, an urban agriculture pioneer, is the founder and director of Growing Chefs, a field-to-fork food education program; co-founder and farmer of the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn; and author of The Rooftop Growing Guide.

Qiana Mickie is the executive director of Just Food, a New York City- based food justice and food access nonprofit that has been advocating for sustainable rural and urban agriculture in the Northeast region for over 20 years. Just Food supports community-driven solutions to inequities in the food system.  

Jennifer Papa is the executive director of City Green, a non-profit dedicated to facilitating the establishment of urban farms and gardens in northern New Jersey’s cities.  

Pilar Sanchez Rodriguez is head of  research and development at Industrial/Organic, a food waste recovery company.

Lucia Rodriguez-Freire, an assistant professor in NJIT’s John A. Reif, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, studies the impact of contaminants from abandoned mines on Native American communities and develops wastewater treatment systems that remove persistent contaminants using ubiquitous, inexpensive materials.

Nancy L. Jackson, a professor in NJIT’s Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science, studies coastal processes on beaches and dunes in estuarine and ocean environments.

Nathaly Agosto Filión is Newark’s Chief Sustainability Officer.

Karen Brown-Stovell is the executive director of the Forward Ever Sustainable Business Alliance, which promotes the economic and environmental sustainability of the Greater Newark community.

Colette Santasieri is the executive director of policy and planning innovation for civil infrastructure and the environment at the New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), an NJIT Corporation.

Martina Decker, an assistant professor in NJIT’s College of Architecture and Design and director of the Idea Factory and the Material Dynamics Lab, uses emergent materials and technologies to create a sustainable design approach to environmental challenges, including water and energy conservation.

Kateryna Zemskova is CEO and co-founder of Good Earth Global, a non-profit that uses an innovative "earth-bag" technology to help villagers build safe, eco-friendly homes using little more than the dirt beneath their feet.

The Women Designing the Future conference, “The Environment:Doing More with Less” is co-sponsored by NJII, the Albert Dorman Honors College, the College of Science and Liberal Arts, the Technology & Society Forum and the New Jersey Technology Council.

The conference includes a continental breakfast, buffet lunch and complimentary on-site parking in the NJIT parking deck located at 154 Summit Street.

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To register for the March 23 Conference, visit: 


About The Murray Center: Since 1995, the Murray Center for Women in Technology at NJIT has worked to ensure the sustainable advancement of NJIT women by facilitating individual growth, community interaction and institutional transformation. The Center provides an array of career resources for women students, faculty and staff, including networking programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. For more information on the Murray Center, visit: http://womenscenter.njit.edu/.

One of only 32 polytechnic universities in the United States, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT’s multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. NJIT is rated an "R1" research university by the Carnegie Classification®, which indicates the highest level of research activity. NJIT conducts approximately $162 million in research activity each year and has a $2.8 billion annual economic impact on the State of New Jersey. NJIT is ranked #1 nationally by Forbes for the upward economic mobility of its lowest-income students and is among the top 2 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com. NJIT also is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top 50 public national universities.