Weiss Named WIT 2012 Woman of the Year in Technology

Published: November 8, 2012

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Women in Technology (WIT) named Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) lab Chief Scientist Lora Weiss its 2012 Woman of the Year in Technology in the Medium Business category (251 to 2,500 employees). Weiss is also GTRI’s Director for Autonomous Systems, where her research focus is on the design and development of technologies for unmanned and autonomous systems, all for air, ground and undersea.

Weiss was named the winner at the Nov. 1, 2012, banquet, held at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center. WIT, one of three organizations that merged to form the Technology Association of Georgia in 1999, recognized three honorees for each category: small business, medium business and large business.

"Women in Technology starts by keeping young girls interested in science,” Weiss said. “Studies have shown that girls begin losing interest in STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] subjects in the sixth grade. Our society must stay attuned to this and provide encouragement, mentoring and outreach to any middle school girl with an interest in STEM. That is the first crucial step in ensuring and expanding the prevalence of women in STEM careers.”

Promoting the advancement of women in technology is a multi-faceted mission that, to Weiss, requires dedication, passion, flexibility, visibility and leadership. She embodies it in the continuum of her daily life, rather than as a process or a sequence of steps. “I have never woken up and said, ‘Today I will spend time promoting the advancement of women,’” she said. “It is an ongoing part of my career, as well as my personal life.

Weiss started at GTRI in September 2006. In addition to having served on the board of directors for the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the world’s largest unmanned systems organization, she has served on the Technology Advisory Board for the Nation’s Robotics Technology Consortium. She currently chairs the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Committee on Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Autonomy and Control, and has provided more than 300 technical presentations.

At this year’s AUVSI North America Conference, Weiss received the Foundation’s Academic Champion Award, which honors an individual whose activities promote students’ interests in robotics and who provides them opportunities for hands-on experience developing robotic technology. The AUVSI Foundation was established by AUVSI to promote educational opportunities in robotics and advancing education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Weiss received a bachelor’s of science in mathematics from Boston University, a master’s in mathematics from the University of California Los Angeles and her doctorate in acoustical engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

GTRI researcher and Director of the Landmarc Research Center Leanne West was also a finalist in the category.