HCN News & Notes

WNE Professor Andrea Kwaczala Named 2021 Woman of Innovation

SPRINGFIELD — Andrea Kwaczala, assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering (BME) in the Western New England University (WNE) College of Engineering, has been named a 2021 Woman of Innovation for her efforts in post-secondary academic innovation and leadership by the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) and the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc.

Kwaczala was among 11 exceptional Connecticut women recognized for their achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at the 17th annual Women of Innovation awards held virtually on Oct. 14.

Women of Innovation finalists are nominated by their peers, co-workers, and mentors and are selected based on their professional experience, history of innovation, ability to think creatively and solve problems, and demonstration of leadership. The Post-Secondary Academic Innovation and Leadership award is granted to a woman working in the post-secondary academic setting who has created and fostered STEM programs in curriculum development, student research, and teacher-student collaborations. Each finalist has secured outside funding to support her work and/or received peer recognition for her leadership and innovation.

“I would like to thank the Society of Women Engineers of Hartford, especially Brenda Lisitano, for nominating me for this prestigious award. Being a member of this vibrant community has been a catalyst for my career,” Kwaczala said. “This would not be possible without my BME department colleagues and the hard work of my dedicated design students who have inspired me with their innovations and determination to build assistive technology.”

The prestigious awards were earned by women innovators, role models, and leaders in STEM disciplines. They were selected from a field of 26 finalists — the scientists, researchers, academics, manufacturers, student leaders, entrepreneurs, and technicians who are catalysts for scientific advancement throughout Connecticut.

“As these finalists demonstrate, women in STEM in Connecticut are leading innovation, achieving breakthroughs, and encouraging girls to do that and more,” said Giovanni Tomasi, president and chief technology officer of RSL Fiber Systems and CTC board chair. “Connecticut’s economy is expanding and becoming more robust in great part by achieving and sustaining leadership in STEM. These are the people whose contributions are critical in our state’s renaissance.”