Read biographies of discussion panelists for the 2019 STEM Networking Forum

Read biographies of discussion panelists for the 2019 STEM Networking Forum being held Thursday, August 08 at the rooftop lounge of the Lakeshore Sports & Fitness Club Millennium Park. 

Carmen Valverde-Paniagua, Technology Consultant Manager, Accenture

Carmen is a Technology Consultant in Accenture’s Technology Advisory group. As a part of the Technology Advisory group she works with her team in developing and executing technology strategies as well as determining the right combination of technologies for our clients—from tech that exists today to the emerging tech of tomorrow. In particular Carmen has experience and expertise in New IT solutions like Cloud, Multi-speed (Agile), and Internet of Things (IoT). Within the IoT space Carmen has worked on connected medical as well as connected vehicle solutions using distributed and scale agile models.

Additionally, Carmen is the Market Pillar Lead & Metrics and the Compliance Co-Lead for Accenture's Chicago Hispanic American ERG. She works with current client, potential clients, and local inclusion and diversity organizations in order to better service our clients and create ties within our Hispanic/Latino community. Carmen also serves on the National Hispanic American ERG team as co-lead for Midwest recruiting and works to promote Accenture programs, job opportunities, and identify Hispanic/Latino talent.

Peter D. Rios, Ph.D, Associate Scientific Director, CellTrans, President – SHPE Chicago Chapter

Dr. Peter Rios completed his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. His dissertation focused on encapsulation technologies for type 1 diabetes and fertility preservation. Currently, he is the Associate Scientific Director of CellTrans, Inc., a biotech start-up seeking to develop a functional cure for diabetes. At CellTrans, he is responsible for planning, coordinating, and managing the activities of bioengineering projects in the Research Department, which involve rodent and monkey models. He undertakes short-term and long-term planning and supervision of preclinical and clinical-focused projects aimed towards a sustainable treatments for diabetes.

Prior to his graduate studies, Dr. Rios earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Biomedical Engineering (BME) from the University of Virginia (UVA) in 2009. Upon graduation from UVA, Peter began working for Booz Allen Hamilton as a Consultant for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Washington, DC. At DHS, he provided programmatic support for the Bioterrorism Risk Assessment (BTRA), a resource used by government agencies to prioritize their budgets for terrorism countermeasures.

He is an active Lifetime Member who has been involved in Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) for over 10 years. He has served on their Board of Directors and is the current SHPE Chicago Professional Chapter President.

Lori Dawson, Senior Director of Services Engineering, U.S. Cellular

Lori Dawson has been with U.S. Cellular for 16 years. Her responsibilities include leading a team of engineers and leaders who design and deploy new wireless functionality into U.S. Cellular’s national network. Lori holds her bachelor’s degree from University of Iowa and her Master’s in Leadership from Bellevue University.

Jesse “Chuy” Chavez, Senior Software Engineer & Manager, Google

Jessie ‘Chuy’ Chavez is a Software Engineer on the Data Liberation team in Chicago which systematically provides users control of their data in Google products, and he recently celebrated 10 years at Google. Chuy was named to the Crain's 2015 Tech50 list of people to know in Chicago's technology community.

Apart from his main job, Chuy spends his 20% time coordinating education outreach and participating in diversity efforts in the Chicago office such as the initiative in Chicago Public Schools, the sponsored Robot Revolution, the Chicago Public Library robot and hotspot checkout program, and many other intiaitves with local educational and community partners. He has also spoken to tens of thousands of students to help inspire the next generation to pursue careers in Computer Science.

Chuy is a founding member of the Chicago office’s Mosaic diversity group and local Latino Googler chapter as well as volunteers on initiatives with other employee resource groups.

Born and raised in Chicago to Mexican immigrant parents from Michoacan and Monterrey, Chuy’s first language was Spanish and he attended Chicago Public School's bilingual program until the fourth grade. As the oldest in his family, Chuy became the first in his family to graduate from elementary school, high school, and college. He graduated with a degree in Math from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well as coordinated campus initiatives to help Latino/a recruitment, retention, and equality, including the famous 1992 Latina/o student protest.

Prior to Google, Chuy worked as a software engineer at FeedBurner (acquired by Google in 2007) as well as HSBC bank US and Mexico, Best Buy, and even as a teacher in Chicago. Chuy extends his technical expertise to many community and social justice causes in Chicago and Latin America, including serving as a human rights monitor in Honduras and a media volunteer for #Caravana43 from Ayotzinapa, Mexico.

Juan M. Garcia, Senior Program Manager, Groupon

Juan is a passionate leader who empowers technical teams to develop their full potential. Born in Colombia, with a background in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering, he's performed multiple management roles in the aviation, software, and banking industries in Latin America and currently manages the Global Engineering PMO organization at Groupon Chicago, leading the team that executes the company's strategic initiatives and promotes best practices for technical project management.

Juan is also an advocate of inclusion and diversity at the workplace, he's the co-chair of the "Groupon For Latinos & Allies" Business Resource Group, a team of enthusiastic employees executing the company's DNI strategies, focused on strengthening the presence of Latinx merchants in the platform, increasing Groupon brand's outreach to Latinx customers, and recruiting and retaining Latinx talent.

Amaris Alanis-Ribeiro, Environment STEM Leader, Center Director - North Park Village Nature Center

Amaris Alanis Ribeiro has fifteen years of experience in STEM in museums, nonprofits, and outdoor settings. She has led girl’s online programs, forensics mock scenes in collaboration with the FBI, and has taken teens on nature explorations across the country. She believes that nature is an entryway to STEM and that diversity is key to solving environmental problems.

Amaris is currently the Center Director of the North Park Village Nature Center at the Chicago Park District, the largest municipal park system in the U.S. There she directs the operation of a public facility with 46 acres of a nature preserve open 7-days a week, providing year-round programs and major special events throughout the year for over 50,000 visitors.

Amaris has participated in numerous fellowships including the Association of Science and Technology Centers Diversity and Leadership Fellowship, ee360 Community EE Fellow, and One Sky Institute Research and Practice Collaboratory. Amaris also currently serves on the National Science Teachers Association Informal Science Education Committee and the Advisory Board for Environmentalists of Color. In 2017, Amaris received the Chicago Wilderness Force of Nature Award.

Amaris has a bachelor in science degree in Ecology, Ethology, Evolution from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and is completing a master’s degree in Science Education from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Julio Santiago Haag, Infrastructure Services Manager, Accenture

Santiago Haag is a Manager in Accenture’s Infrastructure Services organization. He manages operations for the Global Digital Workplace portfolio focusing on IoT, Video-collaboration and Broadcast applications. He oversees global support for state-of-the-art collaboration solutions like, Surface Hubs, Cisco Videoconferencing and immersive technologies. In the IoT space, he manages the global digital signage and room signage service for the company.

As a committed leader he wants to make an impact in the community and has been a part of Inclusion and Diversity efforts at Accenture since joining. He led the Chicago Hispanic American Employee Resource Group and is constantly focusing on retention and development of diverse talent at work and in the community.

Santi is originally from the Patagonia region of Argentina, but today he lives in a Chicago suburb with his wife, Bonnie, and his three small children. He believes that trust is the foundation for any effective relationship and focuses on remaining trustworthy with his teams, his customers and his family. Four guidelines drive his work and life: Know who you are, know who you work with, know who you work for, and be happy.

Time is running out to register. The 2019 STEM Networking Forum is tomorrow! 

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