Sixth Annual Women & Transformational Leadership Symposium

Lenora Dingus

March 24th and 25th, 2022
UPMC Events Center at Robert Morris University

6001 University Blvd, Moon Twp, PA 15108, Enter through UPMC Gate 
CLICK HERE for parking and directions

The Women’s Leadership and Mentorship Program presents RMU’s Sixth Annual Women and Transformational Leadership Symposium. This two-day event features women leaders in our region and topics that impact the region's move toward gender equity and the advancement of women.

This event is free and open to the public! Please RSVP by March 15. RSVP here.

2022 Keynote Speaker | Beyond the Images: Daughters of Turtle Island

Lenora Dingus

Lenora “Lee” Dingus

Nod-doh-wa-ge-no (Seneca) Artist, Chairperson of the Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board Native American Heritage Committee, Co-founder of Echoes of the Four Directions

Lee Dingus has been active in many aspects of Native American Affairs and human rights for over 20 years. She has served as Chairperson for the VA Pittsburgh Health care system EEO committee chairperson, and the Naive American Program Manager and is the Current Chairperson of the Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board Native American Heritage Committee. Lee is an established artist in both the traditional and contemporary media of Native American beadwork and silver work. As a storyteller of traditional Native American stories and a traditional Seneca-style dancer. Lee uses her beadwork, storytelling, dancing, and lecture skills in conducting youth art camps, after-school programs, and various art classes for both children and adults. Lee currently works for Pearson Education where she is an International Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager with an emphasis in the Indigenous fields, including but not limited to hosting a blog, helping with curriculum development and reform, and consulting with all levels of managers, and employees on Indigenous issues and concerns and projects.

Earl Dingus

2022 Featured Musical Performance

Earl Dingus

Traditional Native American Flute Player and Activist

Earl is co-founder of “Echoes of the Four Directions” a cultural, educational, and referral source for all people, on Native Americans. Earl is currently a member of the Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board Native American Heritage Committee where he is founder and chairperson of the Annual Art exhibition and co-editor of the nationally published newsletter, “Roots Awakening.”

He is a self-taught Silversmith, combining natural products such as wampum, turquoise, corals, jet, mother of pearl, malachite, petrified wood, to name but a few, into his unique jewelry and sculpture creations. Earl is also a talented Traditional Native American Flute Player. He gives concerts, talks, and demonstrations of this traditional music form. He recently had a world premiere performance of “We get our Music from Nature” with musical Director, William Burkhard and the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra with original music composed just for this event. Additionally, Earl is currently an adjunct professor at the Community College of Allegheny County teaching the Native American Anthropology.

2022 Event Schedule

Thursday, March 24th

Earel Dingus

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm | Reception with Beverages and Hor d'oeuvres | Hall 5

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm | Musical Performance, Keynote Presentation - Beyond the Images: Daughters of Turtle Island, Q&A | Hall 5

Featured Musical Performance by Earl Dingus
Traditional Native American Flute Player and Activist

Lenora DingusKeynote Presented by Lenora Dingus
Nod-doh-wa-ge-no (Seneca) Artist, Chairperson of the Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board Native American Heritage Committee, Co-founder of Echoes of the Four Directions

Friday, March 25th

8:30 am - 9:30 am | Registration and Networking Breakfast | Hall 5

9:30 am - 10:30 am | WLMP Student Speaker Series, Building for the Future | Hall 5

Please join us for this TedTalk inspired, student-led event. Students will share their ideas, projects, and areas of expertise around this semester’s theme, Building for the Future.

Hosted by Kristen Davis, speaker series founder, WLMP Cohort 5 member and Natalee Calfo-Carroll WLMP Cohort 7 member.

2022 Speakers

 

Jessica Schmid

Jessica Schmid, WLMP Cohort 7: LGBTQ+ Youth and Providing an Equitable Future for All
 


 

Chandler Searcy and Katie CrosenChandler Searcy, WLMP Cohort 5 and Katie Crossen, WLMP Cohort 7: How to Optimize Your College Experience
 


 

 

Adi LemmonAdi Lemmon, WLMP Cohort 8: Building a Classroom for Everyone

 


 

 

Cassie Sherman and Stephanie MastersCassie Sherman, WLMP Cohort 5, and Stephanie Masters, WLMP Professional Mentor: Building Mentorship for the Future

 

 


 

Madeline GrayMadeline Gray RMU Class of 2022: Begin by Believing: It takes all of us

Trigger warning: Sexual Violence and Supporting Survivors of Sexual Assault


 

Morgan Overton

10:45 am - 11:30 am  | Breakout Sessions | Halls 2 and 3:

Implementing Intersectional Health Justice
Led by Morgan Overton, MSW

Presenting on the Pittsburgh's Gender Equity Commission’s grounding principle of intersectionality and highlighting their recent Gender Equity Report. The main takeaways are how to approach health justice from an intersectional lens, how to be an effective advocate in practice and on the ground, and most importantly - inclusive of the expertise of those with lived experience. Without that, we won’t have the foundation for sustainable change.

 

Stephanie MastersConnecting with Purpose in 2022
Led by Stephanie Masters, M.S. in Instructional Leadership, SHRM-SCP

The last two years have taught us to think differently about how we engage with others. We have had to be intentional about making connections, highlighting who we are, reflecting on our passion and purpose to align personal and professional opportunities. The organizations we work with have had to rethink how to engage us, recognizing that creating an inclusive culture is the driving force of success. Our unique strengths and experiences make us stronger together. This session will focus on your own self-reflection, identifying where you are and where you are going, how to connect with purpose with other women to accomplish more together. I will share some strategies that create space for us to advocate for ourselves, connect with purpose, and lift others up to achieve our personal and professional goals. 

 

 

Dr. Rika Wright11:30 am - 1:00 pm | Lunch and Gender, Identity, and Success in STEM Panel

Engage with a panel of successful STEM professionals and leaders as they share insights into their STEM journey. This panel will explore the role of identity and gender in STEM, best practices in professional development, and underscore the need for diverse perspectives and experiences in the field.

Moderator: Dr. Rika Wright Carlsen

Dr. Rika Wright Carlsen is an Associate Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at Robert Morris University (RMU). She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Minor in Bioengineering) from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been teaching at RMU since 2014. She is currently the Coordinator of the Biomedical Engineering program and the Director of the Center for Innovation and Outreach (CIO). She is also the faculty advisor for RMU's chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). She has organized numerous K-12 outreach events, including speed networking events and summer camps focused on increasing underrepresented groups in the STEM fields.

Panelists 

  • Dr. Natasha Tilston-Lunel, Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research
  • Dr. Sandhya Rao, Researcher Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Pittsburgh
  • Dr. Shamika Zyhier, Ph.D., MSN, RN, Robert Morris Assistant Professor School of Nursing, Education, and Human Studies, Management of Adult Health 1 Clinical Faculty Lead
  • Nicole Ambrogio, Associate Analyst, IT Governance, Risk, and Compliance at American Eagle Outfitters
2022 WTLS Presenters & Facilitators

Lenora Dingus

Lenora "Lee" Dingus

Keynote

Nod-doh-wa-ge-no (Seneca) Artist, Chairperson of the Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board Native American Heritage Committee, Co-founder of Echoes of the Four Directions

Lee Dingus has been active in many aspects of Native American Affairs and human rights for over 20 years. She has served as Chairperson for the VA Pittsburgh Health care system EEO committee chairperson, and the Naive American Program Manager and is the Current Chairperson of the Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board Native American Heritage Committee.

She has served on various boards in the past to many local and national Native American Organizations. Lee is Co-founder of Echoes of the Four Directions, a Native American Cultural and reference source. Lee has been a diversity trainer and Equal rights trainer, for the VA healthcare system both on the local and national levels in both of areas of Native American culture and general diversity training. Lee has provided diversity training to the City of Pittsburgh Police department, as well as local police departments and colleges and universities in the tri-state area. Lee has served the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration as a Native American Adviser until her retirement with the United States Government. She currently works as a part-time Test Administrator for Personal Professional Centers but continues to serve as the Chairperson of the Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board Native American Heritage Committee and as a community Native American advisor for the Federal government and the community at large. Lee also is currently an adjunct professor for the Community College of Allegheny County teaching the Native American Anthropology 3 credit course and in addition, she co-teaches with Earl her husband at the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute a Native American History and Culture Program.

Lee is a storyteller of traditional Native American stories and a traditional Seneca-style dancer. Lee uses her beadwork, storytelling, dancing, and lecture skills in conducting youth art camps, after-school programs, and various art classes for both children and adults. 

Lee is an established artist in both the traditional and contemporary media of Native American beadwork and silver work. Lee creates a wide range of styles with her art. A large portion of her art is done in the form of earrings and necklaces. She has a contemporary range of several dozen different styles. The material she uses is varied from all glass seed beads in different sizes, finishes, colors, and styles, to long glass, stone, semi-precious stone beads, porcupine quills both natural and natural dyed by her. On occasion, she incorporates silver, brass, or gold in her creations. On the traditional end she does a lot of woodland “overlay”: work on leather and cloth incorporation her designs into dance shawls, clothing, or other types of wearable art. Lee has memberships in several art organizations and has served on the board of South Arts and South Hills Art League.

In addition to her arts, and Native American concerns, she also has been an activist for local and national human rights, employee rights, and veterans concerns with both the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and AFGE (American Federation of Government Employees).

Lee currently works for Pearson Education, whereas part of her collateral duties she is an International Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager with an emphasis in the Indigenous fields, including but not limited to hosting a blog, helping with curriculum development and reform, and consulting with all levels of managers, and employees on Indigenous issues and concerns and projects.

Earl Dingus

Earl Dingus

Earl Dingus, Eastern Cherokee roots are in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. In his early teens, he began working silver, and his desire to follow the traditional art forms of his Tsalagi (Cherokee) ancestors came from his spirit as he developed his own style. After many years he has become a self-taught Silversmith, combining natural products such as wampum, turquoise, corals, jet, mother of pearl, malachite, petrified wood, to name but a few, into his unique jewelry and sculpture creations.

 For several decades, Earl has spent countless volunteer hours at various Native American Indian Organizations, volunteering for various special projects such as newsletters and special public events. All are dedicated to preserving and creating awareness of Native American Indians and the various cultures that are represented by the over 500 tribes and nations. During this time frame, Earl has served in many capacities for these various Native American Indian organizations from President, chairperson, advisory council member, board member, and employee full-time Social Work specialist. Earl is co-founder of “Echoes of the Four Directions” a cultural, educational, and referral source for all people, on Native Americans. Earl is currently a member of the Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board Native American Heritage Committee where he is founder and chairperson of the Annual Art exhibition and co-editor of the nationally published newsletter, “Roots Awakening.” While working with both the P.F.E.B/N.A.H.C. and echoes of the four directions a large part of his time is devoted to working with the many school districts including the Pittsburgh public schools in the area of curriculum reform and cultural diversity.

Earl is currently an adjunct professor at the Community College of Allegheny County teaching the Native American Anthropology 3 credit course and in addition, he co-teaches with Lee his wife at the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute a Native American History and Culture Program. In addition, Earl expressed his love and honor of our natural world when he was an Assistant Naturalist at Latodami Nature Center of Allegheny Counties North Park for many years. He is now a volunteer Naturalist for Pittsburgh City Parks at Frick Parks Nature center.

The rest of his efforts and time are concentrated on being a full-time Silversmith, using the traditional old-style methods. Through these traditional and contemporary methods, he has received various awards and recognition from many art leagues and shows throughout the area.

Earl is a member of the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh Society of Artists, Whitehall Art League, South Hills Art League, and South Arts, all through which he participates in their exhibitions( and has served in various officers positions). His art is sold at numerous precious events, galleries, Pow-wows, cultural events, art shows, and even historical events throughout the tri-state area.

In addition to being an accomplished and recognized artist/silversmith, Earl is also a talented Traditional Native American Flute Player. He gives concerts, talks, and demonstrations of this traditional music form. He recently had a world premiere performance of “We get our Music from Nature” with musical Director, William Burkhard and the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra with original music composed just for this event.

Because Pittsburgh is a crossroads and meeting point for all Native American Indian Nations, he incorporates all the traditional methods, and styles such as Hopi, Navajo, Iroquois, Kiowa, and of course his own Cherokee, into his own blend of Native American Artistry.

Morgan OvertonMorgan Overton

Morgan Overton is currently the Community Engagement and Policy Associate for the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global under the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. She works on initiatives to transform maternal health, racial, and reproductive equity on the community and policy level. Morgan also holds a variety of roles in public service, including President of the Young Democrats of Allegheny County, 1st Vice Chair of the City of Pittsburgh Gender Equity Commission, and State Committee Representative on the Board of the Pennsylvania Young Democrats. In addition, she is a visual artist whose work has been nationally and internationally recognized. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Morgan earned a Bachelor’s in psychology with a minor in studio arts, and a Master’s in Social Work with a focus in community organization and social action from the University of Pittsburgh. Morgan has been awarded Female Emerging Leader of the Year by GetInvolved! Inc in 2020, the Iris Marion Young Award for Political Engagement and Social Justice, and the Pittsburgh Business Times’ 30 Under 30 Awards in 2019.

Stephanie MastersStephanie Masters

Stephanie Masters is a CliftonStrengths certified coach and organizational development consultant specializing in leadership and employee development. She utilizes a strengths-based approach with individuals, teams, and leadership. Stephanie started her career in education and health care before transitioning into Human Resources as a recruiter, trainer, and manager of training and development. She has developed her Human Resources experience in banking, manufacturing, higher education, and non-profit. Stephanie’s passion is building talent within organizations to empower individuals to develop their skills and expertise to be leveraged within diverse teams. 

Stephanie obtained her Masters in Instructional Leadership from Robert Morris University and SHRM-SCP.  She has facilitation certifications from DDI, Achieve Global, Franklin Covey, Gallup, and Lominger. Stephanie started her own consulting business in 2017 and currently works with several universities, non-profit organizations, and manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania and Michigan. She has volunteered as a facilitator with a non-profit organization developing community leaders called Leadership Washington County since 2011. She is originally from Philadelphia, PA, and currently resides in Monongahela, PA.

Dr. Rika WrightDr. Rika Wright Carlsen

Dr. Rika Wright Carlsen is an Associate Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at Robert Morris University (RMU). She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University and her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Minor in Bioengineering) from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been teaching at RMU since 2014. She is currently the Coordinator of the Biomedical Engineering program and the Director of the Center for Innovation and Outreach (CIO). She is also the faculty advisor for RMU's chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). She has organized numerous K-12 outreach events, including speed networking events and summer camps focused on increasing underrepresented groups in the STEM fields.

Dr. Natasha-LunelDr. Natasha Tilston-Lunel

Natasha Tilston is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Center for Vaccine Research (CVR) at the University of Pittsburgh. She has a Ph.D. in Molecular Virology from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. Natasha’s research interests are in understanding how ecological and virus-host interactions influence virus evolution and virulence. She has worked with Oropouche virus, measles virus, canine distemper virus, Rift Valley fever virus and SARS-CoV-2. Aside from science, Natasha loves travelling, hiking and spending time with her cats Tia and Mabel.

Dr. Sandyha RaoDr. Sandyha Rao 

Dr. Sandhya Rao is a professor of Astrophysics at the University of Pittsburgh. She grew up in Mumbai, India, and came to the United States as a college student in order to pursue her interest in Astrophysics. She received her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Pittsburgh in 1994. Her research work involves studying the evolution of galaxies in the Universe. She is also actively involved in undergraduate education and teaches physics and astronomy at the University. She enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for astronomy with students of all ages.

Dr. Shamika ZyhierDr. Shamika Zyhier

Dr. Shamika Zyhier is a professor of nursing with 20 years of experience in the clinical field. She comes with diverse experience in the nursing field as a critical care clinician specializing in cardiovascular, thoracic, and open-heart transplant surgery patient care. Prior to her nursing career, she was an accounting associate at United Negro College Fund in New York City. After relocating to Pittsburgh, she became a software programmer, systems analyst, database administrator, and director of operations for an underground line locating company serving Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Texas, South Dakota, and Missouri for 18 years. She holds two undergraduate degrees prior to nursing from the City University of New York in accounting and from Community College of Allegheny County in software programming. After 9/11/2001 she returned to school and earned her nursing diploma from West Penn Hospital School of Nursing. She earned her BSN from Clarion University, her MSN in Education from Robert Morris University, and her Ph.D. in Instructional Management and Leadership from Robert Morris University.

Nicole AmbrogioNicole Ambrogio

Nicole Ambrogio graduated from Robert Morris University in 2014 with a B.S. in Cyber Forensics and Information Security. During her time at RMU, she was one of the founding members of RMU's first cyber security club the Top Secret Colonials. In fact, she is the one who named the group! After college, she began her career at a local start-up, Wombat Security Technologies, where she designed Simulated Phishing Emails for companies and created programs to help train users how not to fall for phishing emails. After her time at Wombat, she landed a job at American Eagle Outfitters where she began training associates within the organization on phishing attempts. This was a nice change from training associates in other companies. Aside from that, she analyzes any incoming suspicious emails and blocks any incoming traffic that appears to be malicious. Another focus area of Nicole's is key encryption which transfers sensitive files securely to vendors. Nicole was the first woman on the Security Team at American Eagle in 2015. Since then 3 additional women have joined the team.

Directions and Parking
Directions and Parking Map
About the WLMP: Empowering Women and Developing Leaders

#RMUWomenLead 

rmu.edu/wlmp

The Women’s Leadership and Mentorship Program is a select program for 25 students each year that teaches leadership skills and provides opportunities that foster young women’s ability to contribute, lead, and engage in mutually beneficial mentoring relationships. The WLMP’s mission and vision is rooted in inclusive leadership, gender equity and the advancement of women.

Cohort members are each partnered with a one-on-one peer mentor and a faculty or staff mentor, and in their junior year, with a professional mentor. Special programs increase understanding of women in leadership, including both successes and challenges.

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