Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, No. 6, March 30, 2012

2012 Women of Innovation Awards Include Rensselaer Alumnae

Four Rensselaer alumnae were named finalists, including one winner, in the 2012 Women of Innovation Awards: A Celebration of Connecticut’s Outstanding Women in Science and Technology, sponsored by the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC). The awards gala was held March 1 in Southington. Now in its eighth year, this awards program gathers the Connecticut technology community to recognize women in the workforce who are innovators, role models, and leaders in the technology, science, and engineering fields.

The program celebrated and honored the energy, creativity, and remarkable capabilities of 53 women working in Connecticut’s science and technology community. The event provided the opportunity to salute all the nominees and finalists—women working as scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs—for their efforts and accomplishments.

Kimberly McLean (’90 M.S. Computer Science), principal engineer, General Dynamics Electric Boat, was honored as the winner in the “Community Innovation and Leadership” category. McLean has spent 27 years working in engineering and information technology at Electric Boat. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and has been working with SWE and the Girl Scouts for almost 20 years to develop and present science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs for girls of all ages. McLean works with the Girl Scouts to provide girls at camp with opportunities to learn about astronomy and the use of telescopes.

Two alumnae were finalists in the “Large Business Innovation and Leadership” category, and both are employed at United Technologies Corporation (UTC). Edith Di Francesco (’88 M.S. Mechanical Engineering), vice president, engineering methods, UTC Climate Control and Security Systems, is an executive with 26 years of experience with UTC. She joined Carrier in 2008 as the vice president of engineering methods after 23 years with Otis in engineering, safety, and quality leadership positions. Significant contributions by Di Francesco include development of the LVM and Gen2 elevator products, the Otis Product Development Process, and the Carrier Product Safety Process.

Arianna Kalian (’93 M.S. Mechanical Engineering), P.E., vice president, engineering and manufacturing operations, UTC Power, is responsible for overseeing UTC Power’s engineering activities and manufacturing operations for the company’s stationary and transportation fuel cell systems. Kalian joined UTC Power in 2008 from General Motors, where she led a range of product design and development efforts during her 19-year tenure, including an international assignment in Germany. She is a member of SWE.

Tracy Propheter (’08 M.S. Engineering Science), senior airfoil design engineer, Pratt & Whitney, was a finalist in the “Research Innovation and Leadership” category.

According to the CTC, “After eight years, we now have an alumni group of over 350 finalists. By gathering together this community of accomplished women, we hope to support the many efforts that encourage women and girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math and to foster a collaborative network.”

To learn more about the awards program, go to the CTC website at

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, Number 6, March 30, 2012
©2012 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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