Petit Family Foundation & Connecticut Science Center to Bestow Honors at Sept. 26 Green Gala

/ -- HARTFORD, CT -- (Marketwired) -- 09/22/15 -- The Connecticut Science Center, New England's premier informal science learning institution, is pleased to announce the recipient of its third annual Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award: Dr. Linda Barry, Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. Part of the Science Center's Women in Science initiative, this award recognizes exceptional leadership in promoting women's participation and interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

The Science Center's Women in Science steering committee selected Dr. Barry based on her unique background in both clinical and basic science research and her extraordinary commitment to mentoring and advancing the charge to recruit women and underrepresented students into medicine and the field of surgery in particular.

Linda K. Barry, M.D., is a board certified liver and pancreas surgeon. As an Assistant Professor of Surgery, Dr. Barry teaches at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. She serves as Assistant Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) at the University of Connecticut, Co-Director for the CICATS Pilot Program for Collaborative Translational and Clinical Research, Director of the Young Innovative Investigator Program (YIIP) and Director of the CICATS M1 Mentorship Program.

"I am honored to have been chosen for the Women in Science Leadership Award. This prestigious award highlights that as far as we have come with more women deciding to pursue STEM disciplines, women continue to be underrepresented in these fields," said Dr. Linda Barry. "The important work of organizations like the Petit Family Foundation, the Connecticut Science Center, and the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science at UConn helps to create a future filled with professional success, achievement and opportunities for women and girls in science and technology. We need to continue to raise awareness -- among both women and men -- to break down the barriers that have traditionally discouraged women from joining these technical fields and to facilitate the realization of their potential as leaders in their own right."

Dr. Barry cofounded and coordinated the first National Women in Surgery Symposium, which is now in its sixth year. Three years ago, she established the Women in Surgery Interest Group (WISIG) at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, to engage women medical students to consider a surgical career. She also advocates for inclusion and diversity issues as UConn's Group and Inclusion Representative at the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Dr. Barry's professional experience and life's work has focused on addressing disparities in health care delivery and research. As Co-Managing Editor of the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, she promotes an academic approach to address health disparities. She is involved in several endeavors and community engagement initiatives that promote health and well-being of the underserved populations around the U.S. and within the Greater Hartford region. Dr. Barry holds a B.A. from Yale University, and a M.D. from Cornell University Medical College.

Dr. Barry was one of five finalists selected by the Science Center's Women in Science steering committee. The steering committee is a group of community leaders who are transforming the possibilities for women in the sciences through their own work and advocacy. The esteemed group of finalists includes: Katherine Coughlin, GE Industrial Solutions; Lindsey Fink, Control Station, Inc.; Marietsa McCreary, 3M Purification; and Julie Renner, Proton OnSite.

"Each year, the finalists for this award represent an incredible group of scientists, researchers, and mentors from across our state," said Women in Science steering committee chair Marie O'Brien. "We are honored to recognize an exceptional woman like Dr. Barry, whose work has contributed to the advancement of women in surgical careers and addressed the health disparities of underserved populations."

The award will be presented Saturday, September 26 at the Connecticut Science Center's Green Gala. The award is part of the Science Center's Women in Science initiative, an effort that began three years ago to raise the profile of women in the sciences and encourage girls and young women to pursue studies and careers in STEM.

"Dr. Linda Barry lives the mentorship ideal. She teaches medical students, Residents and Fellows as well as her patients," said Dr. William Petit. "In addition she leads by example in exploring disparities in care and trying to lessen those barriers and to be sure her pupils gain an understanding of the issues at play in our society. In doing these things in her daily personal and professional life, much as Jennifer, Hayley, and Michaela did during their lives, she is a great example of kindness, idealism and activism. The Petit Family Foundation is honored to be associated with Dr. Barry and the Connecticut Science Center."

The Connecticut Science Center is dedicated to lifelong learning through interactive and innovative experiences that explore our changing world through science. The Green Gala is the Connecticut Science Center's signature annual fundraiser for science learning. This year's event will challenge guests to channel their inner rock star or diva with the theme Wild Music. Drawing more than 50 sponsors and 700 guests, event proceeds fund the Science Center's work to inspire creative thinking and bring science to life for children and adults. Since opening in 2009, more than 2 million people have been served by the organization's exciting and educational programming.

The Green Gala features delicious tapas dining on every floor, full bars and dancing. Patron Tickets are $175 each and are available on the Science Center's website at

About the Connecticut Science Center The LEED-Gold certified Connecticut Science Center, located in downtown Hartford, sparks creative imagination and an appreciation for science by immersing visitors in fun and educational hands-on, minds-on interactive experiences while maintaining an environmentally conscious presence. Serving more than 2 million people since opening in 2009, the Science Center features 165 hands-on exhibits in 10 galleries and a range of topics, including space and earth sciences, physical sciences, biology, the Connecticut River watershed, alternative energy sources, Connecticut inventors and innovations, a children's gallery, and much more. Other features include four educational labs, a 200-seat 3D digital theater, function room, gift store and café, and ongoing events for all ages. The Science Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing science education throughout the state of Connecticut and New England, providing learning opportunities for students and adults of all ages, and engaging the community in scientific exploration. The Connecticut Science Center is also home to the Joyce D. and Andrew J. Mandell Academy for Teachers, providing powerful professional development for educators. More information: or 860.SCIENCE.

About the Petit Family Foundation The Petit Family Foundation honors the memories of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, Hayley Elizabeth Petit, and Michaela Rose Petit by continuing the kindness, idealism, and activism that defined their lives. The Foundation's funds are given to foster the education of young people, especially women in the science; to improve the lives of those affected by chronic illness; and to support efforts to protect and help those affected by violence.

About the Women in Science Initiative The Connecticut Science Center's Women in Science Initiative draws attention to the accomplishments of women in the sciences as well as inspire girls and young women to pursue interests in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields of study and career paths. The initiative is a joint effort with the Petit Family Foundation, which has joined with the Science Center as the Founding Sponsor of this initiative.

Contact: Tracy Shirer Director of Marketing & PR Connecticut Science Center Phone: (860) 520-2116 E-Mail: [email protected]