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Lunch & Learn with WoTech powered by Gentry Locke
November 1 @ 11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Join the WoTech village for Lunch and Learn powered by Gentry Locke. Uncover the inspirational stories of female speakers who have paved their own inspirational paths in technology, academia and non-profits. Along the way, discover tips and tricks and other takeaways for growth while being surrounded by a village of powerful like-minded women in the audience.
Doors open at 11:30 am with lunch and networking. Program will begin at Noon. WoTech Lunch and Learn events are for women and people who identify as female.
Meet the panelists:
Jolene Esposito is a Product Designer currently working at Ozmo, a company that specializes in developing tech support products for the telecom industry. She is responsible for creating innovative product concepts, designing user interfaces, and conducting user research to ensure that products are both visually appealing and user-friendly. When Jolene isn’t pondering the usability of complex software, she can be found caring for her many houseplants, playing video games, and working on her 10,000 steps-a-day streak.
Renee D. Godard is a professor of biology and environmental studies at Hollins University where she has taught since 1994. There she offers courses in ecology, animal behavior, environmental science, and field biology as well as research travel courses in the marine ecosystems of the Caribbean and the tropical rainforests and high elevation ecosystems of Ecuador. Her driving passion is to better understand the complexity of nature and to connect students to the wonder of it all.
Zenith Barrett is the Vice President of Business & Community Engagement with Goodwill Industries of the Valleys. In her role at Goodwill, Zenith leads partnerships and community engagement activities. She utilizes strategic leadership, collaboration, and partnerships to work with businesses and community organizations, focusing on industry-specific needs, emerging trends, community priorities, and initiatives. Zenith’s passion lies in serving the community, empowering others, and influencing change. She is a purpose-driven leader who strives to make a positive impact on the lives of individuals and the community as a whole. Zenith is a native of Massachusetts and lives in Roanoke with her husband and their daughter.
Ayda Haydarpour, an engineering student at Virginia Tech, first became interested in STEM at the age of 7, when her father gave her a Super Mario video game. At the age of 13 Ayda joined the Digital Citizen Fund, focusing on robotics and game development, then earned a spot on the Afghan Girls Robotics Team.
The Robotics Team, Afghan Dreamers, have built a sanitizing robot equipped with an Ultraviolet-C light and a disinfecting spray robot, both approved for production by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Health. The team also built a low-cost ventilator out of used car parts to aid in the fight against COVID-19. Ayda has achieved many incredible accomplishments at her young age including a spot on Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2021 and Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21. With her team, she hopes to open a STEM-based school where she will teach and mentor students. She also plans to start her own tech company after graduation, which will focus on making STEM education accessible. Read more of her story here.