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Awards seek to honor women in STEM

Lori Nguyen, president of HiTech Vegas LLC, recalls her introduction to Las Vegas’ tech community three years ago.

“When I moved to Las Vegas, it was like a jig saw puzzle trying to plug into the technology community,” she said. “There were a lot of fabulous women here performing a lot of great work.”

She says “I really wanted to see those women recognized for their efforts.” It was that sentiment that powers the Las Vegas Women In Technology Awards.

The program, now in its third year, will honor women in five categories: Rising Star, Entrepreneur, Mentor, Community Service, and High Tech Woman of the Year. Nominations are being accepted through the website vegaswomentechawards.net until April 15. Winners will be honored at an awards ceremony in late May.

Melissa Skiworth, chapter lead for Women Advancing Las Vegas, says Nguyen “actually brought the opportunity to me” and together they are the co-founders of the Las Vegas Women in Technology Award. She wanted to help bring together the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) community, Skiworth said.

“Lori has also created the Las Vegas (Community) Tech Fund, which is going to be geared around having projects like the Las Vegas Technology Awards that are self-sustaining and self-supporting events and initiatives to support the tech community.”

Nguyen also is the president of the Las Vegas Community Tech Fund, which owns the Las Vegas Women in Technology Awards.

Both women agree there is much work to be done in Las Vegas’ tech community.

“There’s a lot of missing links,” said Skiworth, and one of the goals is to “connect the dots” and connect the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) community. 

The STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) community and the industries are still lacking women — about 30 percent of the STEM positions are held by women. It’s important to bring attention to STEM programs and encourage more young ladies to study STEM programs, Skiworth said.

Vegas has a great STEM community with many different companies, Skiworth said, and she’s looking for nominations from all areas — from marketing to “all sectors of tech whether it’s gaming, IT, STEM, entrepreneurs, inventors, anything that would encompass using and creating technology.”

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