Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

See all the women in tech who were nominated for the first-ever Rad Awards

Nominees for Technologist of the Year include Textizen's Michelle Lee, Comcast's Leslie Chapman, Penn Medicine's Michelle Johnson and Ticketleap's Beah Burger-Lenehan.

Inspired by the success of its Horn Program in Entrepreneurship, the University of Delaware will help Delaware State cultivate its business chops.

The University of Delaware launched its hugely successful Horn Program in Entrepreneurship program five years ago next month, and the school received a pretty awesome anniversary present: a $60,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to help spread innovation across Delaware. Specifically, UD will partner with Delaware State University to develop DSU’s entrepreneurship education programs, as well as promote innovation and entrepreneurship at both universities. “The partnership will help DSU get its technology and commercialization procedures and practices in place as well as bring teams from DSU into our I-Corps Sites Program,” said Horn Director of Commercialization Programs Christina Pellicane. The UD/DSU partnership promotes diversity on a couple of fronts: DSU is a Historically Black College (HBCU), and it's in Dover, which is known more for its Air Force base, NASCAR speedway and poultry farms than innovative startups (though that's starting to change). “[The partnership] will help our program attract and retain diverse entrepreneurs,” said Pellicane. “If we create an inclusive environment rather than just a diverse environment, it will hopefully allow for greater entrepreneurial success for all of our innovators in the future. The facts show, diverse startup teams simply do better."

Since it launched last year, Rad Girls has been celebrating Philly women and their achievements. Now the website is hosting its first ever Rad Awards during Philly Tech Week.
The categories and nominees are heavy in the tech scene — check out “Technologist of the Year,” “Designer of the Year” and “Product of the Year,” plus the Sculpture Gym’s Darla Jackson up for “Artist of the Year,” Knight Foundation’s Donna Frisby-Greenwood for “Rad Girl of the Year,” Girl Develop It for “Nonprofit of the Year,” YIKES Inc.’s Tracy Levesque for “Storyteller of the Year” and Philadelphia University’s Natalie Nixon for “Educator of the Year.” See the full list of nominees below.
The awards ceremony will be on April 18 at the Dreaming Building in Northern Liberties.
Get tickets ($15)
Technologist of the Year

  • Dr. Michelle Johnson: Penn Medicine Rehabilitation and Robotics Lab
  • Michelle Lee, CEO of Textizen
  • Beah Burger-Lenehan: VP of Product, Ticketleap
  • Leslie Chapman: Software engineer, Comcast

Designer of the Year

  • Yesenia Perez-Cruz, Intuitive
  • Melissa Morris Ivone, Curalate
  • Hilary Sedgwick, Allen + Gerritson
  • Dom Streater: Fashion Designer

Artist of the Year

  • Dessie Jackson
  • Melissa Haims
  • Lauren Rinaldi
  • Darla Jackson

Nonprofit of the Year

  • Rock To The Future
  • Girl Develop It
  • The Leeway Foundation
  • Gearing Up Philadelphia

Educator of the Year

  • Natalie Nixon: Philadelphia University’s Strategic Design MBA program
  • Eileen R. Heisman: President and CEO of National Philanthropic Trust
  • Dr. Timaree Schmit, Sex with Timaree
  • Angela Duckworth: Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania

Product of the Year


  • Morgan Berman, Milkcrate Philly
  • Molly Haywood, Cora
  • Patrice Banks, Girls Auto Clinic
  • Patterson Watkins, Hocks N Coqs

Connector of the Year

  • Desiree Peterkin Bell: Communications. Office of the Mayor, Michael A. Nutter
  • Anna Aagenes: Executive Director, GO! Athletes
  • Liz Dow: CEO Leadership Philadelphia
  • Sharmain Matlock-Turner: President/CEO Urban Affairs Coalition

Innovator of the Year

  • Sarah McCorriston, Paradigm Gallery
  • Rachel Ford & Jessica Lee: Made Philadelphia & Refugee Women’s Initiative
  • Samantha Kincaid: Pastry Chef, Fork
  • Jasmine T. Morell: Spirited Tattooing

Storyteller of the Year

  • Holly Otterbein: WHYY, PhillyMag
  • Tracy Levesque: Ruin Porn
  • Heidi Saman: Namour Film
  • Marisa Magnatta: Preston and Steve

Entrepreneur of the Year

  • Brigitte Daniel: Wilco Electronic Systems
  • Allison Berliner: Spot It Buy It
  • Elyse DiMauro and April Nett: Menagerie Coffee
  • Lisa Miccolis: The Monkey and The Elephant

Activists of the Year

  • Feminist Public Works: Hollaback Philly
  • Tatyana Fazlalizadeh: Stop Telling Women To Smile
  • Laura Sorensen: Trans Care Coordinator, Mazzoni Center
  • Girls Justice League
  • Women’s Medical Fund

Rad Guy of the Year

  • Chris Bartlett: William Way Community Center
  • Dan Hodge: Philadelphia artist collective (50% of parts, women)
  • J.J. Tizou: How Philly Moves
  • David Norse: Broad Street Ministry
  • Michael O Bryan: Built4us

Rad Girl of the Year

  • Helen Cunningham: Executive Director, Samuel S. Fels Fund
  • Charisse R. Lillie: Vice President of Community Investment, Comcast Corporation
  • Siobhan A. Reardon: President and Director, Free Library
  • Kathryn Ott Lovell: Executive Director at Fairmount Park Conservancy
  • Donna Frisby Greenwood, Program Director at John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
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