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Internet2 Announces Winners of 2017 Gender Diversity Award and 2017 Network Startup Resource Center-Internet2 Fellowship

Posted on Apr 24, 2017 by Sara Aly
Tags: 2017 Internet2 Global Summit, Frontpage News, Gender Diversity Award, Gender Diversity Initiative

Women IT professionals in research and education receive funding to attend the 2017 Internet2 Global Summit event in Washington, D.C.


WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2017 — Internet2 today announced six recipients of the Gender Diversity Award and two recipients of the Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC)-Internet2 Fellowship ahead of its annual meeting, the Internet2 Global Summit, taking place this week in Washington, D.C. from April 23-26. The Global Summit meeting hosts nearly 1,000 C-level information technology decision-makers and high-level influencers from higher education, government and scientific research organizations. This year’s winners and fellows are:

  • Zeynep Ondin, Virginia Tech, gender diversity award winner
  • Meloney Linder, University of Wisconsin, gender diversity award winner
  • Courtney Fell, University of Colorado Boulder, gender diversity award winner
  • Kerry Havens, University of Colorado Boulder, gender diversity award winner
  • Claire Stirm, Purdue University, gender diversity award winner
  • Jieyu Gao, Purdue University, gender diversity award winner
  • Sarah Kiden, Uganda Christian University, NSRC-Internet2 fellow
  • Dr. Kanchana Kanchanasut, Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand, NSRC-Internet2 fellow

According to a recent report by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, while women have reached parity with men among science and engineering degree recipients overall, they constitute disproportionally smaller percentages of employed scientists and engineers than they do of the U.S. population.

The Gender Diversity Award was established in 2014 by the Internet2 community as part of a larger Gender Diversity Initiative, with the aim of improving gender diversity in the information technology field within research and education. It provides awardees the opportunity to engage in discussions around the latest applied innovations and best-practices for their campuses, as well as access to mentors and a network of women IT and technology professionals. The Gender Diversity Award is offered twice a year, once at the Internet2 Global Summit meeting and once at the Internet2 Technology Exchange meeting.

Since 2011, the NSRC and Internet2 have worked with universities, network service providers, and industry and government agencies in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Pacific Islands, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Caribbean to provide support to research and education communities in countries underserved by the current research and education networking infrastructure.

“We continue to see a growing number of talented nominees each year and I’m so grateful for our community’s continued efforts to promote diversity and support our colleagues who are just starting their career or thinking about growing their career in the IT and technology field,” said Ana Hunsinger, Internet2’s vice president of community engagement. “These awards and fellowships are significant because they remove financial barriers from women’s participation in timely discussions around applied innovations and best-practices in their profession, and gives them access to a new experience of professional growth and development for their career. It’s also an opportunity for our community to engage with talented individuals from both the U.S. and abroad, and help mentor the next generation of community leadership.”

Both the award and fellowship cover travel expenses, hotel accommodation, and conference registration for the 2017 Global Summit. Funding for two of this year’s award is made possible by the Internet2 Gender Diversity Initiative, while Cisco Systems and ServiceNow, in their capacity as industry sponsors of the 2017 Global Summit, are funding one award each. The University of Colorado Boulder and Purdue University are providing travel support for one of their respective award winners. Funding for the two fellowships is provided by NSRC and Internet2.

Ondin, Linder, Fell, Havens, Stirm, Jieyu, Kiden, and Dr. Kanchanasut will be recognized during the 2017 Global Summit General Session on Wednesday, April 26 at 10:30 a.m. EST. A full list of the 2017 Internet2 Gender Diversity Award winners and NSRC-Internet2 fellows, along with their bios, appears below:

Zeynep Ondin, Ph.D. Zeynep Ondin, Ph.D. is a user experience and interaction designer for the IT Experience & Engagement unit within the Division of Information Technology at Virginia Tech since2016. In her current role, she works at improving the user experience across the division’s various platforms and mechanisms of user engagement in order to provide a consistent user experience for all students, faculty, and staff who interact with IT systems and services. Prior to joining Virginia Tech, she spent 10 years working in various IT roles at higher education institutions.

Meloney Linder Meloney Linder serves as associate dean for communications, facilities and technology for the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Wisconsin School of Business (WSB). Meloney’s responsibilities include strategic oversight of WSB’s brand and consumer insights, integrated marketing communications, information technology services, academic technology and web, and building and conference services for the school. She is committed to advancing higher education and the mission of the UW-Madison and Wisconsin School of Business through collaboration. Meloney serves as an advisor on WSB Dean’s Leadership Team and currently serves as the chair of the University of Wisconsin – Madison's divisional technology advisory group.

Courtney Fell Courtney Fell is a learning experience designer at the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder. She first came to CU in 2007 as a Spanish instructor and soon began leveraging technology to create interactive online lessons for her language students. From there, Courtney left the classroom to support other faculty in the sound incorporation of technology in their classrooms. Courtney now works for CU’s Office of Information Technology where she partners with campus leaders to find human-centered solutions to the university’s most complex challenges. In the last few years, she has led a number of successful and transformative initiatives for CU Boulder including: moving new student orientation online for domestic and international students, developing an innovative cross-campus large lecture experience for space studies, and exploring the use of robotic technologies paired with video conferencing software to provide a flexible learning solution for CU students.

Kerry Havens Kerry Havens is an ambitious and caring working mother and perpetual student. Working in the Office of Information Technology at the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder for the past 16 years, she developed a passion for finding broad solutions that fit many needs. She continually finds herself at a crossroads between working with people and technology and is currently seeking opportunities to solidify her path towards a career in leadership in an organization that helps kids and young adults find purpose, gratefulness, and kindness.

Claire Stirm Claire Stirm is a science gateway manager with HUBzero in the Academic Research Computing Department at Purdue University. Stirm graduated from Purdue University in 2016 with a degree in Professional Writing and a degree in Classical Studies. Stirm is currently earning a Master’s of Science in Communication with a focus in strategic communication from the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University. Since joining the HUBzero Team, Stirm has worked with researchers in plant genomics, healthcare and volcanology. In her free time Stirm enjoys reading, writing and camping. 

Jieyu Gao Jieyu Gao joined the Emerging IT Leaders program with Information Technology department at Purdue upon her graduation from Purdue’s Applied Statistics and Economics (Honor) program in 2016. She works with researchers and faculty to help resolve their data analysis concerns. She is interested in learning new technologies and machine learning algorithms and applications.

Photo of Sarah Kiden Sarah Kiden is the head of systems at Uganda Christian University and a facilitator at Research and Education Network for Uganda (RENU). She loves to learn, build and support systems/networks, and has been involved in coordinating capacity building initiatives for universities and research institutions in Uganda since 2014. In her free time, she volunteers with the Internet Society Uganda Chapter, through which she picked interest and became active in internet policy development at ICANN. She recently co-founded DigiWave Africa, a non-profit organization which supports the safe and responsible use of technology for youth and children. Sarah holds an MSc in information systems and BSc in information technology.

Photo of Dr. Kanchana Kanchanasut Dr. Kanchana Kanchanasut is a professor in computer science at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand. Starting in 1988, she was among the first to bring the internet to Thailand, and has worked closely with the research and education (R&E) networks in Thailand and in the Asia-Pacific region. Nearly 20 years ago, Dr. Kanchanasut established the Internet Education and Research Laboratory (intERLab) at AIT to provide much-needed capacity building for internet engineers in the region. In recognition of her pioneering role in the early days of internet development, driving cross-border R&E networks, and starting the first open and neutral Internet Exchange Point in Southeast Asia in 2015 – the Bangkok Neutral Internet Exchange (BKNIX), Dr. Kanchanasut was inducted in the Internet Hall of Fame as the first representative from Thailand. In 2016, she was awarded the prestigious Jon Postel Service Award for her many years of service for R&E and internet development in Asia. Currently she is a researcher at the Internet Education and Research Laboratory where she is focusing on challenged networks research and community wireless mobile network deployments.

For more information on the Global Summit, taking place April 23-26 at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Downtown Hotel, visit

About Internet2:
Internet2 is a non-profit, member-driven advanced technology community founded by the nation’s leading higher education institutions in 1996. Internet2 serves 317 U.S. universities, 70 government agencies, 43 regional and state education networks and through them supports more than 94,000 community anchor institutions, over 900 InCommon participants, and 78 leading corporations working with our community, and 61 national research and education network partners that represent more than 100 countries.
Internet2 delivers a diverse portfolio of technology solutions that leverages, integrates, and amplifies the strengths of its members and helps support their educational, research and community service missions. Internet2’s core infrastructure components include the nation’s largest and fastest research and education network that was built to deliver advanced, customized services that are accessed and secured by the community-developed trust and identity framework.
Internet2 offices are located in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Denver, Colo.; Emeryville, Calif.; Washington, D.C.; and West Hartford, Conn. For more information, visit or follow @Internet2 on Twitter.
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Media Contact:
Sara Aly, Communications Manager