WEST's 7th Annual "Giving Back" Awards Ceremony

Meet the extraordinary and inspiring women being honored and hear the stories of how they have made a profound impact on society. The honorees are role models who balance job and personal responsibilities while making a difference in their community. Join us to congratulate them, be inspired, network, and support the career advancement of women in the enterprise of science and technology! 

Local companies in STEM nominated the women we will be celebrating this year. We received a large number of applications and will recognize many amazing women. We will also honor WEST volunteers and supporters whose dedication and outreach efforts have helped us reach our strategic goals.

Giving Back Awardees:

  • Julia Curran, Research Associate at Takeda Oncology
  • Lisa Freed, STEM Outreach Program Manager at iRobot
  • Rebecca Sendak, Vice President of Analytical and Formulations Development at Sanofi
  • Lyndsy Stopa, Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft

Special Recognition Awardees:

  • Anne Giovanoni, Senior Director, Corporate Counsel and Secretary at Alkermes, Inc.
  • Karen McGovern, Senior Director, Cancer Biology at Infinity Pharmaceuticals
  • Jo Viney, Vice President, Discovery Sciences at Biogen Idec

Volunteer and Supporter Awardees:

  • Patty Purcell, WEST Volunteer 
  • Stephanie Beckwith, WEST Supporter


Appetizers, wine, and dessert will be served.

Whether shopping for your family, friends, home, or office, there is something for everyone at this year's Silent Auction Fundraiser – a plethora of wonderful and interesting items and services for sale from generous donors around the region! Proceeds from the auction will benefit our WEST mission, programs, and operations – to provide high quality and affordable educational content and development opportunities (workshops/events) for all women in STEM careers.

Download the event invitation

Date and Time:

January 22, 2015
6:00 - 9:00 PM

Evening’s Schedule

6:00-7:00  Registration, Networking, Appetizers, Wine, Silent Auction

7:00-7:10  Welcome, Acknowledgement of Sponsors, Overview of the Evening

7:10-7:50  Award Presentation    

7:50-8:00  WEST’s 2014 Accomplishments and Plans for 2015

8:00-8:30  Awards Presentation for Volunteers, Coffee, and Dessert

8:30          Silent Auction Closed 

8:30-9:00  Networking and Auction Winners Displayed

The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
415 Main StreetCambridge, MA 02142

Map and Parking Info

We appreciate The Broad Institute donating the use of their event space. 


$55 for Members, $75 for non-members

Member package - $140 for admission and an annual membership
$700 for 10 tickets, $1,000 for 15 tickets and $1,300 for 20 tickets

Cancellation Policy:
All programs are non-refundable.

To Register


Become a sponsor and contribute to a great cause.  For more information, email [email protected], or call 617-682-3703.   



Julia Curran, Research Associate at Takeda Oncology

As a STEM mentor in our DIGITS group, Julia is often engaged as much by her young students as they are from her. Her warm charismatic attitude and shared curiosity makes the learning positive and a place where mistakes are not errors but hypotheses for further “testing.” As Julia will tell you, it is the students’ ever-present enthusiasm and inquisitive attitudes which keep her volunteering year after year. 

Beyond her work with DIGITS, Julia also volunteers for the Healthcare Women’s Association as both a member of the ambassador committee and membership committee. Through these two volunteer opportunities she plans events with 10 other healthcare ambassador companies in greater Boston as well as plans local Takeda HBA events at our site in Cambridge. From helping to organize events on culture to career advancement, Julia is an advocate for women in STEM at any point in their career and is constantly looking for new opportunities to bring women together to build bridges and further their careers.

Professional talents and aspirations aside, Julia also gives back in many other ways. She participates in many local philanthropic opportunities including the Leukemia and Lymphoma’s Light the Night and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s Race for Research. Whether walking or running, tutoring or teaching, Julia can be found where fun and philanthropy converge to do the most good. Julia received her BS in Biology within the Commonwealth Honors College at University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Lisa Freed, STEM Program Manager at iRobot

Lisa manages iRobot’s STEM initiative, focused on engaging students in STEM education across grade levels and demographics. By visiting classrooms, bringing students to iRobot and providing job shadow experiences, the program hopes to increase student enrollment in robotics and STEM fields. In 2013, 50% of iRobot’s employees participated in the STEM program, reaching over 50,000 students. iRobot is also the founder and lead organizer for National Robotics Week, which in 2014 had over 250 events in all 50 states. Lisa has been working in STEM outreach for over 20 years including 10 years as the New England Regional Coordinator for the National Engineers Week Future City Competition. She is a registered Professional Engineer and LEED Accredited Professional.

Lisa holds a Civil Engineering degree from Union College and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University. Outside of her professional life, Lisa has a son who is a junior in high school, and enjoys spending time either swimming or training her Bernese Mountain Dog.

Rebecca Sendak, Vice President of Analytical and Formulations Development at Sanofi

Rebecca is Vice President of Analytical and Formulations Development at Sanofi in Framingham, MA. Her group works in the area of biologics drug development and is responsible for developing formulations for drug candidates in Phase 1 and 2 clinical studies, and for the development of the analytical methods used to support release and stability testing of these therapeutic candidates. During her time at Sanofi in Framingham, formerly Genzyme, she has held multiple roles within product development teams, including Science Project Leader and Global Project Leader. Prior to joining Genzyme, Rebecca worked at Creative Biomolecules in Hopkinton, MA, in the area of drug discovery. She received a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from Cornell University, and Bachelors of Arts in both Biology and Chemistry from University of Vermont. Presently, Rebecca is working with MassBay Community College on a mentor program which is connecting Sanofi/Genzyme employees with students at the college. In their pilot year, they recruited 35 employees to mentor 40 students in the STEM area, with the goal of providing support for individuals that want to enter into careers in math and the sciences.     

Lyndsy Stopa, Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft

Lyndsy is a developer for Office at Microsoft, and is actively involved in the Women’s community at Microsoft. She is a board member of Women @ NERD (New England Research and Development) and helps to organize activities to further women’s careers at Microsoft as well as network with local organizations. In addition to the work that Lyndsy does at Microsoft, she is actively involved in her community helping both the homeless and youth. Lyndsy helped to start a non-profit, Family Promise North Shore Boston, which provides temporary shelter, meals, hospitality, and case management for families experiencing homelessness, while bringing together local resources and volunteers to support their neighbors. Lyndsy is also actively involved in MA HOBY (Massachusetts Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership) as the Director of Recruitment. MA HOBY is an organization that works to help lead youth into a life dedicated to leadership, service, and innovation. HOBY's core values are volunteerism, integrity, excellence, diversity, and community partnership and helps to instill these values in today’s youth. Lyndsy received her Masters of Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign and undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Bioinformatics from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.

Anne Giovanoni, Senior Director, Corporate Counsel and Secretary of Alkermes, Inc.

Anne Giovanoni is a graduate of Smith College and has earned, a M.S. in Regulatory Affairs and Health Policy from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School. For the past 5 years, Anne has been one of the organizers of “Alkermes in Action”, a company sponsored community service day for Alkermes employees in Waltham. Each year, Alkermes in Action provides volunteer projects for over 200 people at 5-7 locations in the greater Boston area. Anne has also established a monthly commitment for Alkermes to prepare and serve a meal at the Bristol Lodge Soup Kitchen in Waltham. 

Anne has been a member of the Board of Directors for Casa Myrna for 4 years and is currently serving as the board president. She has run the Boston Marathon for 3 years on behalf of Casa Myrna, raising over $16,000. Casa Myrna is Boston’s leader in delivering solutions to end domestic and dating violence through intervention, awareness and prevention. Additionally, Anne is a monthly volunteer cook with Community Cooks, providing one course each month for a family style meal at a teen substance abuse/mental health service center in Arlington, MA. 

Karen McGovern, Senior Director, Cancer Biology at Infinity Pharmaceuticals

Karen joined Infinity in 2002 and has been a key leader in the cancer biology group during this time. She mentors others throughout the organization and selflessly encourages them to reach their full potential. Beyond her scientific leadership, Karen displays Infinity’s core values and is a role model for others in the organization. As one of the early hires at Infinity, Karen was instrumental in establishing Infinity’s Community Action Team (CAT), a group of employees from across the organization who volunteer their time to help those in the community. She led the team in the early days, and since that time, continues to play an active role in many of Infinity’s philanthropic events.

Karen has worked on many Infinity efforts through the years, ranging from fundraising for the Home for Little Wanderers, organizing charity drives, company participation in walk-a-thons, volunteering as part of the Charles River Conservatory, and, importantly, helping others identify how to take action for causes they believe in. In addition to her work as a scientific leader and her many contributions to Infinity’s service programs, Karen continues to remain committed to the volunteering on her own time, with the goal of and making a meaningful difference. Karen holds a BS in Biology from Boston College and a PhD in Microbiology and Genetics from Harvard University.

Jo Viney, Vice President, Discovery Sciences at Biogen Idec

In addition to her daily responsibilities at Biogen Idec, Jo is an active figure in a variety of community causes as well as initiatives dedicated to encouraging young people and women to pursue STEM careers. She co-chairs Biogen Idec’s Woman Innovation Network, to ensure women are fully engaged and valued at all levels and in all areas of the global business as drivers of success. She was a recent keynote speaker for the Girls STEM Summit East, which brought together female students in grades 8 -12 who have an expressed interest in pursuing STEM careers, with female STEM career professionals and educators for a full-day conference. She sits on the Advisory Committee of Biogen’s Community Lab which has provided more than 24,000 MS and HS students in Greater Boston an opportunity to encounter real lab science through fun and interactive hands-on experience. She is also an avid contributor to the Boston office of Social Venture Partners (SVP) which seeks to cultivate effective philanthropists and strengthen organizations that are driving community change. Jo received her doctorate degree from St. Bartholomew’s Hospital at the University of London, and then completed two postdoctoral fellowships. Today she conducts research to better understand the mechanistic basis of immune homeostasis in organs susceptible to inflammatory disease. 




We invite you to patronize those businesses who have so graciously donated to our event.

  •  Oil painting, Passion for White III, by Eliane Markoff with Art in Giving
  •  Hand painted pitcher by Eliane Markoff with Art in Giving
  •  Hand knitted shawl by Susan Keyes
  •  Yarn turtle by Susan Keyes
  •  Baby quilt by Jaime Mayo Luna
  •  Necklace from Amrita Singh Jewelry & Accessories
  •  Early Autumn Luna Bag from Sherpani
  •  Olive Blade Bag from Sherpani
  • Communication coaching - Two in person coaching meetings for Executive Communications, Presentation, Public Speaking with Tom Kennedy
  • Family Portrait by world renowned Bradford with stay at the 5 Diamond, 5 Star Eau Hotel & Resort (formerly the Ritz-Carlton) in Palm Beach, FL
  • $100 gift certificate to bakers’best catering
  • Gift certificate to Andrea's Skin Care 
  • $150 gift certificate to Jules Catering
  • $80 gift certificate for classes at The Hive Community Center
  • A certificate for a Sundae Party Kit for 10 people from J.P. Licks
  • Two $25 gift certificates to Redbones BBQ
  • Two gift certificates for a haircut and gift set from Cut-Splice

  • Two 60-day memberships to Community Boating

  • 6 days/6 nights Trip in South Africa (meals and lodging) for Zulu Nyala Group
  • Leadership coaching - One face-to-face session and one phone follow up with Deborah Burke
  • Resume review, critique, and revision service by Lauren Celano of Propel Careers
  • Two seats to a painting class from The Paint Bar
  • Two A-level tickets to Boston Philharmonic
  • Admission passes for two adults and two children to the EcoTarium
  • Two tickets to Blue Man Group
  • Two admission passes to deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
  • Gift certificate to Tasca Restaurant
  • Who wants to be a restaurant critic package from Serenitee Restaurant Group
  • Gift certificate to Shake Shack 
  • Gift certificate to Portrait Innovations
  • One week of Blue Apron

  • Weekday cruise for two with Essex River Cruises & Charters 
  • Two tickets for Boston Duck Tours

  • Three bundle gift certificates for Fuji at Kendall

  • Four VIP guest passes for Landmark Theatres

  • Five admission passes for Laser Craze

  • Gift card for Not Your Average Joes
  • Two adult and two children's tickets to ride the Salem Trolley

  • Group reservation for five to Skyzone Everett 

  • Two Off-Broadway tickets to STOMP at Orpheum Theatre

  • Two round trip passes aboard standard ferry to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard from Hy-Line Cruises

  • Gift certificate to The Butterfly Place
  • Two museum passes to The Institute of Contemporary Art