Wendy Merchant, P.E.
Founder + Executive Director
Professional Mechanical Engineer
Wendy founded Girls in STEM with the express purpose of helping close the gender gap in STEM fields by bringing her enthusiasm, determination and resources for encouraging and supporting girls to seek a STEM related career prior to post secondary education. Wendy graduated with a BS in Architectural Engineering from the University of Wyoming and is a licensed mechanical engineer. Her background includes 20 years of experience working in the Colorado design and construction industry as a consulting mechanical engineer designing building systems including; HVAC, plumbing, fire protection and building automation control systems.
In 2013, Wendy moved in a different direction following her passion to give back to the community founding the not for profit Girls in STEM. Leveraging her talents, experience and extensive network of professional women working in STEM related careers, Girls in STEM works directly with high school and middle school students to provide real world mentoring, career exploration, networking and job shadowing opportunities. In her free time, Wendy also enjoys being outdoors skiing, golfing, gardening and spending time with her family.
Business Systems Analyst at Viasat Inc.
Shelly is a Business Systems Analyst with 18 years of high tech experience. In the past, she maintained credit card processing networks and data centers, as well as telecommunications networks. Today, Shelly works for Viasat Inc. configuring software solutions for satellite internet customers.
The first time Shelly Sousa disassembled a computer (and reassembled it while her concerned mother watched), she was captivated. That experience was the foundation for a lifetime of work and play with technology. Shelly now strives to make sure that students with a passion for STEM are provided with the access, opportunity, and mentors to follow their dreams.
At Viasat, Shelly champions STEM programs which empower employees to bring “Rocket Science 101” to local schools. Shelly is also a member of Viasat’s Women in Technology group. WIT hosts events which invite students to Viasat offices to meet with employees and learn about working in STEM careers.
When she is not pondering the wonders of satellite communications, you may spot Shelly on a Colorado trail. She is an amateur astronomer and avid Geocacher. At home Shelly can be found in her technology kitchen whipping up Raspberry Pi and Arduino recipes.
Karen Ramon, MBA
Board Treasurer + Operations Director
STEM School Math/Business Teacher + Founding Board Member
Karen Ramon is the Business department chair and serves on the school leadership team at the STEM School Highlands Ranch. She works to develop our future STEM and entrepreneurial workforce as an advisor to FBLA and the MIT Entrepreneurship Launch team which placed in the top 12 internationally at their final pitch presentation at MIT Sloan School of Management in the Spring of 2017.
She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Colorado State University and her MBA from the University of Houston. She has 16 years of teaching experience at the middle school, high school, and higher education level teaching mathematics and business courses. She also spent a few years working in the human resources and training department in the banking industry.
She is a founding board member and the current treasurer and director of operations. Together along with our other board members she enjoys helping young girls have a place to start exploring STEM careers in an environment with all girls!
Board Director of Events
Meteorologist + Founding Board Member
Hello! I am Kristi Steinhilber and I currently serve as a Board Member and Community Volunteer for Girls in STEM. My love for Math and Science began in late high school and continued throughout my college education. It wasn’t until I entered my degree-specific college courses that I began to notice the imbalance of male to females in the industry. It then became very apparent once I started looking for jobs after graduation that I would have to work twice as hard to become equally successful as the men in the field. This enlightening journey led me to find and join Girls in STEM so I could support young women in these industries and let them know that they can be successful too!
I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology accompanied by a Minor in Mathematics from the University of Northern Colorado in 2007. Following graduation, I worked as a Meteorological Software Engineer for IPS Meteostar where I tested and documented leading weather software. I also spent time as a team member for Your Weather Network where I compiled, wrote, and recorded hourly broadcasts for multiple weather clients. Previous to my current position, I added to my skillset by working at GEI Consultants, Inc., an engineering and environmental consulting firm, as a Marketing Assistant.
Currently I am a Meteorological Consultant for Applied Weather Associates where I perform meteorological analysis of extreme precipitation events for PMP studies.
Board Director of Fundraising
Amy Cecil recently joined our Board of Directors to expand Strategic Partnerships. She is a Sales Executive with 20 years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical and Information Technology industries. currently working at a Colorado based Software Development Staffing firm, where she daily sees results of not having enough women in technology positions.
Amy became involved with Girls in STEM in July 2017 after attending countless Tech Meetups and seeing very few, if any, women participating. In her current position at Unison Systems, her team is among many companies struggling to find qualified tech candidates for well-paying jobs in the Denver/Boulder area.
She knows this situation could be much improved if more girls were encouraged to pursue education and careers in software development and technology. However, as it stands today women are earning only 19% of computer science degrees and currently hold only 26% of computing jobs. Amy is committed to changing this trajectory by helping girls from all backgrounds see the possibilities and bright futures available in technology fields.
Amy grew up in Colorado and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Kansas. She lives in Boulder with her husband and their 14-pound dog Wookiee (yes, from Star Wars). Amy is a student mentor at Galvanize and a board member for Ellevate of Boulder.
Board Director of Technology
Project Manager at Zayo Group
Ana Miksche is a Project Manager at Zayo Group, a leader in global telecommunications providing bandwidth and connectivity over an exceptional network infrastructure. She currently leads a variety of teams focusing on developing enhancements, quality assurance, and customer support surrounding Zayo's industry leading customer applications.
Ana has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry where she has served in a variety of roles to help build dynamic teams that drive innovation and provide creative solutions through online applications. Her experience in the tech industry as a woman and Latina has inspired her to help open doors for other young women and people from diverse backgrounds to unleash their potential through education and participation in STEM careers.
Ana earned her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Denver. She is an alum of the Latino Leadership Institute, an organization that focuses on advancing Latino leadership in Colorado. She is also a CareerConnect Coach for DPS students.
Ana was born and raised in Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two daughters.
Registered Patent Attorney at Holland & Hart
Rachel started her career as a molecular and cellular biologist in the fields of pharmacy, genetics, and then surgery research in universities and hospitals. While earning her MS in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University, she took courses in patent law and health law and decided to combine her science career with law. Rachel currently works in patent and trademark prosecution, licensing, and counseling clients regarding protection and privacy of intellectual property portfolios. Rachel has also represented a diverse group of clients in corporate transactional law and litigation. She has represented clients in cases and portfolios involving medical devices, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, mechanical arts, and software.
When she is not helping sole inventors and companies get IP protection, Rachel assists low income inventors through the USPTO ProBoPat program, serves on the Board of Directors of Second Wind Fund and on the membership committee of Colorado BioScience Association, and spends time with her family living the Colorado dream.
Rachel also visits schools to share her STEM educational and professional background and experiences to inspire young girls and expose them to various career pathways in STEM. She also works on fundraising in the community to provide girls with access to STEM opportunities and experience.
Alumni Girls in STEM
Sravani Katamaneni is a first year student at University of Colorado Denver where she is pursuing a bachelors degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. She graduated from STEM School Highlands Ranch and was a member of the South Metro High School Chapter for two years. During her free time, she teaches and learns Indian Classical Dance & Bollywood while performing and competing in local competitions (!) Additionally, she works at Jefferson County Human Services on a Marketing & Communication work-study internship. Sravani looks forward to continuing to work with Girls in STEM and supporting our community engagement efforts.
Board Director of Volunteers
Community Engagement Specialist at CASE
Josh Kumin is committed to helping nonprofits and schools increase their capacity to run education initiatives centered around equity, project-based learning, and mentorship. After graduating from Villanova University with a B.S. in Biology, Josh moved to Denver and spent a year with AmeriCorps VISTA. Since then, he has actively built relationships with local educational leaders addressing social inequities. Josh is passionate about creating opportunities for students who are underrepresented in critical STEM fields. He has an interest and experience developing creative marketing, partnership development, volunteer engagement, and fundraising strategies.
Josh currently works for Metropolitan State University's Center for Advanced STEM Education (CASE) as a Community Engagement Specialist and OpenWorld Learning as a Marketing and Partnerships Manager.