Central Exchange is proud to announce our 7th Annual STEMMy Awards honorees. These women are blazing paths and breaking barriers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine. We hope you’ll join us on September 24 as we spotlight our honorees’ stories of success and inspiration. 

Category: Enterprising Innovator

Honoree: Sherry Lumpkins

Company: Blue Symphony LLC 

Sherry Lumpkins is the Principal Consultant at Blue Symphony LLC, the technology and marketing firm she founded in 2002. Before launching the Blue Symphony, Sherry held several data architecture team, technical and management positions at companies ranging from small startups to international corporations, including Assurant, where she organized and led the company’s first data architect team; and Sprint, where her duties ranged from programmer analyst to project manager. 

“Some of my most gratifying moments happen when I volunteer to speak to girls about STEMM careers or entrepreneurship.  Invariably, before I begin speaking to them, I’m convinced that they’ll be bored senseless.  Invariably, I’m proven wrong as the girls always ask meaningful and important questions.  During those times, I feel that even though one woman can’t single-handedly close the STEMM gap, I can make some positive difference.”

From her nominators: 

“While cultivating a reputation of success and professionalism, Mrs. Lumpkins also gives back to her field and the community. Over the years, she has been an advocate for STEM education, especially for those who have been historically underrepresented in this critically important field. She has striven to build an inclusive working environment, empowering young women to get involved in STEM fields and run their own businesses.” 

Sherry in three words: Expert, Dynamic, Visionary

Category: Rising Trendsetter

Honoree: Lauren Koval

Company: McCownGordon Construction

Lauren Koval is Engineering Manager with McCownGordon Construction

I work with many strong and empowering women, and it is my goal to make the industry better and improve opportunities for the girls and women whose careers will follow. “

“As a 7th grader in an advanced math program, my female algebra teacher invited a female engineer to come into our class and talk about her career. Not only was she very intelligent, but very engaging as well, and from then on, my goal was to become an engineer. This day had such a profound impact on my future, and I am so thankful to my teacher for opening my eyes to engineering and STEMM careers! “

From her nominator: 

“Lauren is always going above and beyond what’s asked of her. For only being in the industry for a few years, she is constantly overachieving and being a role model for those around her. Lauren has been a mentor for interns at McCownGordon Construction every summer since she began her full-time career.” 

Lauren in three words: Intelligent, Motivated, Driven

Category: Groundbreaking Leadership

Honoree: Amanda Healy, MD, OBGYN

Company: Women’s Clinic of Johnson County

Dr. Amanda Healy is CEO of Women’s Clinic of Johnson County and a practicing OBGYN specialist. 

I don’t ever remember not wanting to be a doctor. But when I became a single mother at 19, I wasn’t sure my dream would ever become a reality. Through my drive and passion for helping others, I put myself through medical school while raising my daughter. This experience afforded me a deep understanding of the unique challenges and trials women face when they do not have access to adequate resources.” 

“I empower all of the women around me (both patients and staff) to make their own decisions regarding their health, wellness, and lifestyle, rather than prescribing one single way of thinking. I strive to be a beacon of support, professionalism, and feminism that supports not only the physical bodies of my female patients, but their emotional well-being and long-term stability as well.”

From her nominator: 

“Amanda runs a company consisting of 70 all-female staff members and nine female doctors. Amanda systemically uplifts and supports the all-female staff of her clinic by providing continual education opportunities to help them advance as individuals and as a whole. She also promotes a positive culture of support and encourages every employee to be an extension of the clinic—to act as a strong female role model in their respective communities.” 

Amanda in three words: Grit, Intelligent, Determined

Category: Student Achiever

Honoree: Olivia Provance

Company: KU School of Medicine

Olivia Provance is currently a PhD candidate in Cancer Biology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Her thesis research examines the tumor-promoting role of a viral stimulated pathway in triple-negative and inflammatory breast cancers. 

“My ultimate career goal is to influence scientific advancements through ensuring the future generation of scientists are continually given the best training opportunities. I aim to influence national policy supporting STEM education and research at both undergraduate and graduate institutions as well as policies regarding cancer prevention and treatment.”

From her nominator: 

“Olivia, a fellow graduate student, does not only always present herself and her work in an impressive manner but always drops what she does to help others succeed in their work. She spends many hours ensuring that not only her scientific rigor is acceptable (at a standard much higher than many of those around us), but she also takes the time in all of her work to present science in a precise, concise but fun manner! She always brings about the best in all of her fellow graduate students.”

Olivia in three words: Determined, Diligent, Sincere

Category: WiSTEMM Educator 

Honoree: Lisa Oyler 

Company: Lee’s Summit School District 

Lisa Oyler is an Instructor at Summit Technology Academy.  She has a BS in Business Education and an MSE in Curriculum & Instruction Business.  She has certifications in CompTia A+, Network+, Cloud+, Security+ and Cisco CCNA, CCNA Security and CyberOps.   Twenty of her twenty-three years of teaching has been at Summit Technology Academy, where she teaches computer networking and cybersecurity.

I have been teaching technology courses at STA for 20 years as of this Fall.  In all of those years, I have had a mostly male presence in my classes. I believe that when there are women not only in my classes, but in the industry, there is an increased diversity of opinion and viewpoint.  For this reason, and due to the shortage of females in STEM courses, I have actively advocated for girls within my school district. I believe that this actually needs to occur in lower grades, which is why five years ago I helped establish middle school Cyberpatriot teams at all three of our existing middle schools. “ 

From her nominator: 

“She didn’t let COVID-19 stand in the way of continuing her passion and her call to educate the next generation of IT and cybersecurity professionals. She continually demonstrates her outstanding leadership and excellence in education as supported by her peers, and the numerous awards and letters of recognition.

Lisa in three words: Dedicated, Enthusiastic, Compelling

Category: WiSTEMM Champion 

Honoree:  Cynthia Newsome 

Company: KSHB-41TV

Cynthia Newsome is midday anchor and reporter at KSHB-TV, NBC, 41 Action News in Kansas City Missouri. She has been an anchor and reporter at 41 Action News for 23 years. 

“My career as a television news anchor gives me a distinct advantage over my peers in supporting and nurturing women in STEMM fields.  I love sharing the stories of STEMM opportunities for women, women engaged in STEMM careers, and women helping girls develop an interest and experience STEMM activities. As the Founder and President of Awesome Ambitions, a college and career readiness program for 8th through 12th-grade girls in the greater Kansas City area, I have also made STEMM career exposure and experiences a priority in our programming. We take our girls on field trips into businesses to see and touch and understand the women working in STEMM fields to inspire our girls that they too can have a rewarding career in STEMM and realize professional satisfaction, financial stability and be in a position to help others.” 

From her nominator: 

“She is a champion for women across all disciplines of STEMM! She is admired and looked up to by youth, as well as the community, her self-sacrifice in giving back and in helping women and men alike to ascend in their careers and pursue their dreams. She is the epitome of what one wants to see in a mentor and champion.”

Cynthia in three words: Inspirational, Courageous, Empowering

Category: Groundbreaking Leadership 

Honoree:  Emily Tilgner

Company: McCownGordon Construction

Emily Tilgner is Director of Engineering Services at McCownGordon Construction. At McCownGordon, she leads the engineering and virtual design and construction (VDC) department which provides experience, knowledge, and tools that save hundreds of hours of labor and prevent hundreds of thousands of dollars in construction-related conflicts – a differentiator for the company.  

Looking back on my career so far, some of my proudest accomplishments have little to do with actual engineering work.  They are the result of pushing against the status quo and making situations or projects better than when I started.  As a result of studying and tracking the length in time it takes women to be promoted and just the sheer lack of diversity at the upper ranks of the business, I lobbied the ownership to start a women’s leadership organization – Empow[her].  Even though I am no longer at that company, I’m proud of the legacy left behind and seeing that group thrive and grow.  I was able to use that experience to be part of the inaugural Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) at McCownGordon.  “ 

From her nominator: 

“Emily has spent her career in a male-dominated field. She started out learning and making sure she was technically very strong. She then took that knowledge and mentored others, becoming a leader in her company and going on to lead other companies. In each instance, she has been a fierce advocate for younger people in the industry and making sure other women have the tools, knowledge, and support they need to grow.” 

Emily in three words: Resilient, Brilliant, Leader

Category: Rising Trendsetter

Honoree:  Clarice Kinsella

Company: Burns & McDonnell

Clarice Kinsella is a business unit manager at Burns & McDonnell and leads the Project Management Office (PMO) and Program Management business units. In this role, she grows Burns & McDonnell’s market and competitiveness in the management and technology consulting field. Her focus is on advising utility clients on how to leverage the newest technology to increase efficiency of project and construction management. 

“One of the hardest things about being a woman in STEMM is the loneliness, and not having many people who understand the struggles and challenges we go through. I try to be that person for women in my division. A lot of times, it’s as simple as letting them know I’m here to listen or confide in.” 

From her nominator: 

“What stands out most about Clarice is her knack for identifying and seizing opportunities to move our firm forward. The role she currently holds is one that evolved organically based on a gap that Clarice identified. She saw a niche with several customers, in which they needed guidance on executing large capital projects and identifying the right technology to make it happen. She is unwavering in her commitment to finding new opportunities and expanding into new markets.” 

Clarice in three words: Adventurous, Future-focused, Persistent

Category: WiSTEMM Champion 

Honoree:  Danielle Binion

Company: PREP-KC 

Danielle Binion is PREP-KC’s Career Academies Coordinator. Danielle works closely with Kansas City’s urban school districts, postsecondary institutions, and businesses to support programming and strategic planning that strengthens the STEAMM workforce pipeline by developing equitable learning solutions for K-12 & higher education.

“Working with students not only makes me proud, but it is the joy of my life! To create strategic partnerships and programs that further students’ curiosity and propels their college and career aspirations is my purpose. I am most proud when a student identifies their path and I can curate those experiences that will help them gain the necessary technical and communication skills needed to be successful.”

From her nominator: 

“Danielle embodies what it is to be a champion for young women in STEMM. Although she is currently seeking out her doctorate degree in education, she started as a biologist. Realizing that role-models and opportunities for women and women of color in STEMM were lacking she has made it her mission to tackle inequalities with innovative strategies that create systemic change in education and in the community. She is known in the KC metro area for her commitment to promoting, building and leading STEMM opportunities and her creation of spaces of belonging.”

Danielle in three words: Equity-builder, Visionary, Mentor

Category: Corporate Hero 

Honoree:  Terracon

Terracon is an employee-owned consulting engineering firm specializing in environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services. Since 1965, Terracon has achieved significant expansion through internal growth and acquisitions and has more than 5,000 employees in more than 150 offices, serving all 50 states nationwide.

“It’s an exciting moment in Terracon’s history with an ongoing shift toward greater representation of women at all levels of the company. Last year, as part of a deliberate multi-year succession plan, Terracon’s board of directors appointed Gayle Packer as President and Chief Executive Officer, making her the only woman sole CEO among the top 30 companies in Engineering News Record’s Top 500 Design Firms. Ten percent of our principals and senior principals are also women. Perhaps most exciting, we are focused on building a strong pipeline of women environmental scientists and engineers throughout Terracon to become leaders of our environmental practice.”

Terracon in three words: Innovative, Tenacious, Community-Centric