Dr. Bill Petit thought daughter Hayley Petit's academic strengths were primarily in the English and foreign language areas.
So when she came to
him as high school senior and announced she would be pursuing a degree in
biology at his alma mater,
Hayley, who was killed
in 2007 along with her sister Michaela and mother Jennifer-Hawkes Petit in a home invasion at their house in
Two women, Anabella Villalobos, Pfizer's vice president of antibacterials and neuro-science chemistry and Jennifer Whiffen, sr. bio-medical engineer at Covidien, were honored for their contributions to the field as part of the program that also featured GE CEO/Chairman Jeff Immelt.
Immelt, who has been named one of the "World's Best CEO's" three times by Barron's, was the featured speaker at a pre-program VIP presentation on the economy with CBIA president John Rathgeber.
But sometimes he had trouble paying attention.
"I was just thinking
about being a college student in 1978 at
Immelt, you see, was a
friend and fellow classmate of Dr. Petit, also a graduate of
So Java's question was "tell me a story about the two of you when you were crazy college kids outside the classroom."
"Oh no," laughed
Immelt again. "What happened at
Walking the walk when
it came to women in science was a contingent from General Electricincluding Luis Manuel Ramirez, who heads up GE's Industrial Solutions
division based in
"We are always
encouraging and recruiting more women to the sciences," said Ramirez, proving
his point by introducing several women who are part of the company's "
On a day that would have been Michaela's 16th birthday, and another day of draining court proceedings in the sentencing of Joshua Komisarjevsky, who with Steven Hayes, were convicted of murdering the women, the celebration was bittersweet. For many of those at the event, that also included new foundation scholarships for women pursuing careers in science, those mixed feelings did not go unnoticed.
"They say that when
you have tragedy in your life it is for a reason, a good reason you may not
understand at first," said Rory McAndrews, a