LAURA BILAZARIAN PURUTYAN
Ms. Purutyan is Director of Youth Careers with Partnerships for a Skilled Workforce, which is the Metro South/West region's Workforce Investment Board. Laura links regional stakeholders to build a workforce system that provides youth with the foundation, inspiration and direction that will help them thrive. The stakeholders include federal and state workforce entities, government, school districts, regional employers, industry associations, higher education, foundations, community-based-organizations, students and families. The mission of PSW Youth Careers is to leverage federal, state and community resources to provide youth with the mindsets and skills they need to sustain themselves and contribute in the 21st century. Since 2014, Laura has served as Marlborough High School's STEM Career Specialist and workforce partner. Her prior experience includes teaching high school English and adult ESL, and serving at WPI as Associate Director of Financial Aid. Laura is driven by connecting people and enabling them to generate new opportunities.
Katherine currently works at Synopsys as a R&D engineer in the Optical Solutions Group. Previous to this, she graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. Her thesis work centered around improved mathematical and computational models for use in Reflectance Spectroscopy in turbid media. This background has been leveraged in her work at Synopsys where she is a developer for the illumination simulation software package LightTools. She received her BS and MS in Engineering Science at Pennsylvania State University in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Katherine is a member of OSA and SPIE, a previous president for the BU OSA/SPIE student chapter, a member of the OSA Membership and Education Services Committee, and a President and council member for New England Section of the OSA (NES/OSA) for the past 6 years. She has been very engaged with optics education outreach as part of her involvement with NES/OSA.
G. GROOT GREGORY
Mr. Gregory is a Technical Marketing Director and LightTools Product Manager in the Optical Solutions Group at Synopsys (formerly Optical Research Associates), a technical software company specializing in Electronic Design Automation and Optical Systems Design. His role includes working with customers to understand the market needs in illumination systems design and communicating those needs to the software development team. Groot’s interests in optics include optical design and analysis software, the design and deployment of optical instrumentation, and the promotion of the science though professional society involvement and education outreach.
Groot is a member of the OSA. IES, SID and a Fellow of SPIE. He is a past chair of OSA’s OPN Advisory Committee. He currently serves OSA as member of the Board of Directors, Chair of the Membership and Education Services Council, a member of the External Relations Committee and of the Industry Council, and a column editor for OPN. At SPIE, he is a Senior Editor for the journal Optical Engineering, a member of the SPIE IT committee and conference chair for the SPIE Optics Education and Outreach conference. He has served the New England local section of OSA as program chair, publications chair, president and is currently treasurer.
Groot received degrees in Physics, Mathematics and Optics from the University of Rochester and is a licensed aircraft mechanic.
JESSICA HAGGETT Silverman
Ms. Haggett is the Director of MySTEM and Corporate Programs at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MA/Metrowest. She works across the 42 cities and towns of BBBSCM/MW with 1,000 mentors and mentees annually to encourage STEM exploration. She is passionate about STEM equity and STEM esteem with a particular focus on helping underserved populations access quality STEM engagement. Before this position, she was an ecological researcher, an outdoor educator, and a science publishing editor. She has a bachelor’s degree in arts, biology, and music from Tufts University. She is working to build a model for STEM engagement through BBBS that can be replicated for mentors throughout the nation.
Mr. Joseph is the President and CEO of the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce. He serves as a community connector and advocate for regional business growth and workforce development for almost 600 member organizations doing business in the 23 MetroWest municipalities served by the Chamber. Paul has over 25 years of professional and entrepreneurial experience, predominantly in strategic marketing roles and in technology-based industries; 9 years of municipal leadership and volunteerism experience as a selectman, Economic Development Committee chair, Town Meeting representative, and non-profit board member in Natick, MA; and, more than 10 years of teaching experience as adjunct lecturer at Babson College and WPI.
Anne Ludes is the current Director of Secondary Education for the Framingham Public Schools. On July 1, 2018 she will become the Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education. Ms. Ludes earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and Secondary Education from Providence College, and a Master of Arts degree in Mathematics from Boston College. Ms. Ludes has dedicated the majority of her career to the Framingham Public Schools, beginning her career as a high school mathematics teacher and then serving as the Mathematics Department Head before becoming Associate Principal of Framingham High School. In July of 2017, she joined the Central Office team as the Director of Secondary Education. For teachers and students alike, Ms. Ludes believes adopting a growth mindset is the first step toward meeting and exceeding expectations. She helps educators reflect on their teaching practice, develop intentional strategies that optimize learning, and commit to continuous professional development. Anne Ludes is a proud resident of Framingham and has two children who attend Framingham High School.
WILLIAM F. RIGNEY
Mr. Rigney is a leader in MSSEF's Curious Minds Initiative (CMI) helping Massachusetts STEM teachers increase inquiry and opportunities for independent research projects by students through three professional development courses. Bill has helped organize and facilitate a MSSEF Mentoring Program for middle and high school students and has recruited STEM undergraduate and graduate students as well as STEM professionals to come into schools to mentor students through their project. He is a STEM Education Consultant. Mr. Rigney has spoken about student research and STEM education at conferences in Thailand, South Korea, China, and United States. Bill received his BS in Biology from Framingham State College and his M.Ed. from Worcester State College. He retired from the Marlborough Public Schools as the STEM Instructional Specialist.