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Speaker Bios

Crystal Ashby

Former Executive Vice President for BP, Crystal Ashby is a dynamic and innovative executive with a record of success leading government and public affairs, legal and ethics and compliance organizations.

She has practiced law for 29+ years.  Until 2015 she was a leader at BP America for 22 years.

While at BP she held various senior roles including: Senior Vice President for Strategic University Relationships, Executive Vice President for Government and Public Affairs – States, Vice President - Government & Public Affairs: Refining & Marketing (with a stint in Rotterdam), Managing  Attorney – US Retail, and Senior Advisor to the Global Compliance & Ethics Officer based in London.  During her time at BP she also served on various internal BP Boards and was executive sponsor to several affinity groups.  While at BP she was the Executive Sponsor to the University of Michigan for 7 years.  Prior to joining BP she practiced as a litigator in Chicago, Illinois.  

Crystal currently serves on the board of the Executive Leadership Counsel, Genesys  Works – National, and the Holocaust Museum Houston.  She is a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel ELI faculty on Crisis Management.  She is a former trustee of the National Urban League.  She has served on the University of Michigan College of Engineering Dean's Advisory Council for years 4 and chairs their Center for Engineering Diversity and Outreach Advisory Council.  She is active in the College of LS&A specifically participating with the Barger Leadership Institute.  

Crystal is also an alumni of DePaul University College of Law.  While a native of Detroit, she currently resides in Houston, Texas.

Elyse Aurbach

Elyse Aurbach is a co-founder and co-director of RELATE. When she isn’t teaching communication or working as a postdoctoral fellow in a neuroscience lab studying depression, she can be found logging in activity data on a swim or trying out a new recipe.

Katherine Avery

Katherine Avery is currently a Research Scientist at Ford Motor Company’s Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, MI. In this role, she focuses on developing lightweighting materials strategies for passenger cars and trucks through close collaboration with Ford’s product development teams, as well as domestic and international companies, universities and national labs. Katherine completed her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan in April of 2016. She previously completed her MSE at U of M, and her BSE at Kettering University in Flint, MI. She has authored or co-authored more than a dozen peer-reviewed papers, and her research has been honored with the Arch T. Colwell Merit Award from the Society of Automotive Engineers, the Henry O. Fuchs Student Award, also from SAE, and the Robert M. Caddell Memorial Award from the Mechanical Engineering Department at U of M. During her undergraduate and graduate studies, Katherine held a number of co-op and internship positions at Tenneco, Oak Ridge National Lab, and Ford. She was also an active student leader, and at U of M, served as Co-Director of the Graduate Society of Women Engineers for two years, and as President of the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Council for one year. She currently is a member of the Michigan Engineering Alumni Board. In her free time, Katherine enjoys traveling and watching Michigan football.

Judy Coco

Judy's long-term career with Praxair has provided her with a variety of opportunities since graduating as a Chemical Engineer from Carnegie-Mellon University. Judy started her career as an account manager then held positions in applications engineering, market development, marketing, six sigma, sales excellence, talent management, and employee services. During this time, Judy earned her master's degree in Human Resources Development from Indiana State University. Most of Judy's career, and passion, has been facilitating and coaching selling, leadership and personal development, helping others to be their very best. Today, Judy is responsible for developing internal sales collateral to support the commercialization of new applications.

Kim Daley

Kim Daley is a physical chemist at the University of Michigan doing research with lasers. She is also passionate about social justice, intersectional feminism, science fiction, and exercise.

Sue Dean

Sue Dean is an engineering professional currently at a crossroads in her career.  With Bachelor's and Master's degrees in mechanical engineering from The University of Michigan, Ms Dean has forged a unique career path for herself, working in areas from medical device design and development, to military and commercial optics manufacturing.  Her roles in these industries have included Operations Engineering, Design Engineering, Lean Systems Design, Project Management, Quality Systems and Business Development.  Ms Dean is currently working to further develop her arsenal of skills for the next phase of her career.  Fueled by her own passion for learning and personal and professional growth, Ms Dean enjoys mentoring students and new professionals in engineering and entrepreneurship, so they can see how to achieve their goals.  Her latest involvement involves directing business process and quality system development activities for a few local start-ups.

Marta Gonzalez-Hernandez

Marta Gonzalez-Hernandez is a molecular biologist for Rubicon Genomics in Ann Arbor where where she works to develop enabling technologies for genomics and personalized medicine. Prior to working at Rubicon, she did a post doctoral fellowship at the Wobus Lab in the University of Michigan Medical School. She received her Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Michigan in 2012. Her research in the lab was focused on characterizing the role of deubiquitinating enzymes in norovirus infection. She earned her B.S. in Chemistry from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico.

Chastity Harmon 

Chastity Harmon was named manager of University Relations for Praxair, Inc. in June 2014. She leads the university relations strategy and ensures the development of strong relations and programs with key universities and identifying top early career talent to join her organization. 

She joined Praxair in 2012 as a Talent Acquisition Consultant. Prior to that she held recruiting positions at Proctor & Gamble, BOSE, and AECOM. She earned her bachelor of science degree in Business Administration from Boston College. Chastity has served as a director on the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston Young Professionals Board and the ACE Mentor Program of Houston Board. 

In her spare time, Chastity enjoys spending time with family and friends and volunteering in her community. 

Ashley Issa

Ashley Issa is an Application Architect at The Dow Chemical Company in Chicago, IL. She leads a team in the Digital Marketplace Center that designs and builds software applications for marketers and sellers. Prior to this role, she held roles on the Digital Marketing IT team in Midland, MI, where she led the implementation of demand generation and lead management capabilities, and on the Dow AgroSciences IT team in Indianapolis, IN, where she developed various applications for R&D and field production teams.

Ashley graduated from the University of Michigan in 2009 with a degree in Computer Science Engineering and a minor in Afro-American and African Studies. 

Kathy Kuberka

Kathy Kuberka is a long-term employee of Praxair, Inc. She currently serves as R&D Director of Technology Planning. She manages the financial reporting for R&D and Global Market Development and also leads the efforts in innovation, employee engagement, intellectual property management, sustainability reporting, safety and productivity within R&D. During her career at Praxair, Ms. Kuberka has held a wide variety of positions in technical applications development, strategic planning, market development and finance. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from State University of New York at Buffalo and a master’s degree in business administration from Columbia University.

Jennifer Linderman

Jennifer Linderman, is the new director of UM"s ADVANCE program. She is Professor of Chemical Engineering and of Biomedical Engineering, has served as Associate Director for ADVANCE, and has served as Associate Dean for Graduate Education in the College of Engineering. 

She earned her doctorate in chemical and biomedical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include receptor-mediated cell behavior, G protein coupled receptors, signal transduction, computational biology, immunology, cell and tissue engineering, systems biology and tuberculosis.

She was recognized with a College of Engineering Teaching Excellence Award in 1997 and became a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2000.  She also received the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award in 2016.

Callie McKee

As the Educational Theatre Director with the Office of New Student Programs, Callie designs unique and powerful theatrical presentations for numerous new student orientations, special events, trainings and in classrooms. Callie has worked locally creating theatr e and has been called upon to provide input on a variety of projects and workshops both in Michigan and out of state.  Callie has an MFA in Applied Theatre/Drama for Youth from Eastern Michigan University. 

Elizabeth Riggs

Elizabeth Riggs serves as Deputy Director for the Huron River Watershed Council, an Ann Arbor-based research and education not-for-profit recognized internationally for its collaborative approach to integrated river basin management. Ms. Riggs has facilitated initiatives with municipal, business, and university partners to achieve Clean Water Act program compliance, including Michigan's first nutrient and bacteria pollution budgets (TMDL). She currently directs a public-private revitalization of the Huron River focused on improving river ecology, recreation access, and placemaking that leverages freshwater assets for investment in local economies. She manages the Huron River Water Trail and led the effort for its successful designation as a National Water Trail by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Ms. Riggs earned her M.S. at the School of Natural Resources & Environment at The University of Michigan, and her B.A. from Lawrence University in Wisconsin.


Sally Schmall

Sally Schmall (MSW, SPHR, Academy Coaching: began her career in Academic Medicine as a clinician in the Emergency Department and faculty member in Medical Education. Over the years her role evolved to include career coaching for women in STEM and ultimately she became the Director of Dual Career Faculty Recruitment for the College of LS&A developing and negotiating offers for more then 64 departments. In 2008 she decided to draw upon her professional experiences and institutional knowledge related to interviewing and negotiations and begin providing confidential career coaching for people interested in launching careers both within and outside of the Academy. She has clients across the world, embedded in over 40 different institutions and speaks regularly to graduate and post doc audiences about preparing for their future careers.

Ann Seyboldt

Ann Seyboldt works in Research and Development as the Senior Technology Business Analyst for Praxair.  With a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Valparaiso University and an MBA from Canisius College, her career began in General Electric’s Aircraft Engine Group, and has grown to encompass global responsibilities in technology development and reporting across multiple industries for a leading industrial gases business.  Ann was a leader in development of Praxair’s “Personal Career Coach Program”, which was developed to equip Praxair employees at any point in their career to present their best self in the work place – for career growth at Praxair today and in the future.

Amber Spears

Amber Spears received a BSE in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2012. She received a MSE in Civil Engineering with a focus in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014 where she completed a lab research-based thesis. As a staff engineer and engineer-in-training, Amber has worked for NTH Consultants, LTD. headquartered in Northville, MI. She currently works for CTI and Associations, Inc. headquartered in Novi, MI where she is involved with geotechnical design and investigations within the landfill department. CTI and Associates is a Minority-Owned Engineering Consulting firm that has certifications as a Small Business, Minority Business Enterprise, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise.  

Throughout her matriculation and her employment, she has always viewed engineering-related volunteer work, community engagement, and public affairs as some of her most memorable opportunities. As a recognized future leader in Geotechnical Engineering, Ms. Spears has contributed to several pilot programs and research studies related to undergraduate-level engineering education. Her experience in outreach to future engineers in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education has led to several interview articles published through the University of Michigan, Detroit Free Press, and NTH Consultants’ Women in Engineering Series.

Elizabeth Wisman

Lizzie Wisman is a newly minted UM BS '15 student with a degree in cellular and molecular biology. Her love for science, and long time interest in biomedical and biotech fields led her to her current position as a research associate at MPI Research in Mattawan, MI, just outside of Kalamazoo. In her role there, she focuses on flow cytometry as a way to monitor immune systems of subjects. Outside of her research, she is very involved in Venturing, a program of the Boy Scouts of America; she is the current volunteer advisor for the Venturing youth in the lower peninsula of Michigan (Central Region, Area 2).  

Melinda Zatkoff

An attorney since 2013, Melinda’s practice primarily focuses on drafting and prosecuting patents worldwide in various arts including medical, chemical, automotive, materials, and fabrics. Additionally, Melinda provides patentability and clearance opinions in various technologies. Melinda also drafts and analyzes various intellectual property agreements, drafts and prosecutes trademarks worldwide, and provides litigation support in patent matters.

Melinda is admitted to practice in the State of Michigan, before the United States District Court for the Eastern District, and before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Melinda graduated from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. During law school, Melinda was an Executive Editor of the University of Detroit Mercy Law Review. She also graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry.