Invited Speakers

Manuel A. Pérez Quiñones

Dr. Manuel A. Pérez Quiñones is a Professor of Software and Information Systems at UNC at Charlotte. His research interests include diversity issues in computing, CS education, and human-computer interaction. He currently serves on the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine at the National Academies and served as Program Officer at the National Science Foundation. His efforts to diversify computing have been recognized with an ACM Distinguished Member status (2019); the CRA A. Nico Habermann award (2018); and the Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award (2017). He is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

He includes:  I am “Dr. Perez” or “Dr. Pérez Quiñones”, but not Dr. Quiñones. Learn more about my two last names:

Amanda Buchanan, Raytheon Technologies

 Amanda Buchanan is a senior cyber engineer with Raytheon Technologies and has over 10 years’ experience developing cyber security solutions. With a bachelor’s in electrical engineering and a master’s in computer science, her focus has always been designing software and firmware for embedded systems deployed in rugged environments. She holds multiple patents and currently leads a team developing specialized cyber defensive solutions for avionics, space and vehicle systems where traditional enterprise security solutions are impractical. Her team strives to incorporate the latest academic research in practical solutions that protect the nation’s mission systems from advanced cyber threats. 

Lisa Zidek, Anderson University

Lisa A. Zidek is the Dean of Engineering at Anderson University.  She received her Ph.D. and a M.S.  in Industrial Engineering Health Care Management from the University of Wisconsin, a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a B.S. in Industrial engineering both from Marquette University.  She has served as the Vice President of Student Development for the Institute of Industrial Engineers, serves as an ABET Program Evaluator and is active in ASEE.  She was nominated Engineer of the Year Under 40 and by the Milwaukee Senior Chapter of the Institute of Industrial Engineers and the Making a Difference for Women at MSOE award from the MSOE (Milwaukee School of Engineering) Women’s Connections program. She was selected to participate in the Florida Campus Compact Engaged Scholarship Fellows program.  Dr. Zidek served on the Florida Gulf Coast University College of Education Ed Tech Advisory Board, was Affiliate Director for Project Lead the Way, was a member of the Lee County STEM at Work Foundation Board, Collier County National Academy Foundation Advisory Board and was Co-Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship. She has received grant funding for several engineering education and entrepreneurship programs, including the funding for Bootcamp for Engineering and Mathematics (BEaM). Dr. Zidek has run many STEM day programs and summer camp programs with a particular emphasis on introducing K-12 students to careers in STEM, specifically Engineering.   Her research interests are in engineering education, with particular emphasis on engineering entrepreneurship and service learning.

Leslie Wright, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Assistant Director | UNCW Career Center
Liaison to the College of Science and Engineering

A native of Norfolk, VA, Leslie has been with UNCW Career Center since 2002 and is an Assistant Director and Liaison to the College of Science and Engineering. She holds a B.S. in Human Services Counseling and an M.S. in Education (Counselor Education Program emphasizing College Student Development) both from Old Dominion University.

An enthusiastic student advocate, Leslie loves her work with UNCW students and faculty both individually and in the classroom.  She also enjoys managing projects such as the UNCW First Destination Survey and serves on the UNCW Staff Senate.

She can be reached at and 910-962-7072.

Robyn Sanderson

Robyn Hill Sanderson was born in a very small town in South Carolina. Robyn felt hesitant to leave her home to attend a women’s college, but the single gender educational environment was transformational for her as she found her voice and confidence while earning a BS in Business and Marketing and a Certificate in Women’s Leadership Studies. Robyn began her 20 year career in higher education by serving as an admissions recruiter for her alma mater, Converse College (now University) before moving into a student activities role at Presbyterian College. While working full time at PC, Robyn commuted 3 hours round trip at night in order to complete a Master’s of Education in Counseling for Student Affairs at Clemson University. After completing her master’s degree, she and her husband moved to Virginia so that Robyn could work at another women’s college, Sweet Briar College.  After several promotions and 7 years at Sweet Briar, Robyn and her family moved back to the upstate so that Robyn could assume a Co-Curricular Dean’s role at Anderson University. Robyn currently serves at the Associate Vice President for Student Development at AU which includes oversight of Career Development, AU 101 and First Year Programs, Orientation as well as work with Student Conduct and Title IX. Robyn has been happily married for 20 years and has two children, Brooks and Adair. Robyn is passionate about helping students find their voice to articulate the gifts and talents that they have been bestowed so that they can go out in the world and serve with those talents.

Mia Wang

With a background spanning diverse disciplines, I hold a Ph.D. in Technology from Purdue University, complemented by an MS in Computer and Information Technology from the same institution. Additionally, I earned an MM in Music Performance from Central Michigan University and a BA in Music Performance from Tongji University, China. My research interests encompass drone detection and classification, artificial intelligence, deep learning, and acoustic/audio applications. Outside of academia, I am deeply passionate about outdoor activities such as hiking and running, which allow me to maintain an active lifestyle and foster a profound connection with nature. Alongside these pursuits, I find immense joy in the company of my beloved pets. Currently, my husband and I share our home with two delightful golden retrievers, one senior beagle mix,  three cats, and one fluffy chinchillas, whose presence brings boundless happiness and fulfillment to our lives.

Paige H. Meeker

Paige Meeker received her B.S. in Computer Science from Furman University and her M.S. and PhD in Computer Science from the University of South Carolina.  Dr, Meeker has served as a professor at the University of South Carolina, Furman University, and Presbyterian College before accepting the role of Coding and App Professor at Anderson University where she guides the new Coding majors, manages the Coding Certificate Program, and is the Program Director for the online Masters of Computer Science. Dr. Meeker loves helping her students and has been a part of CWIC since it began in 2010.

Elicia Frelix

Dr. Frelix is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Anderson University, bringing over a decade of experience in education and a rich background in academia and the tech industry. With a commitment to fostering a passion for learning and empowering students, she creates inclusive learning environments and mentor’s diverse student populations. Her academic journey includes a Ph.D. in Communication with research interests in gender communication, organizational dynamics, cultural discourse, rhetoric, and communication technology. Additionally, Dr. Frelix has extensive experience in Information Technology, and a US Air Force veteran. She is the founder of Elevated Media Consulting LLC, providing strategic guidance in social media, data analytics, strategy to small and midsized organizations. Outside academia, she enjoys sports, the arts, and is guided by her faith in promoting compassion, justice, and unity.

Lee Meeker

Lee Meeker is a Cyber Engineer at Raytheon Technologies. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science at the University of South Carolina. Before Raytheon, he worked at Intel Corporation as a Silicon Validation Engineer. While at Raytheon, Lee has served as a Tech Lead, Group Lead, and various software development roles.

Bobby Rettew

Bobby Rettew, MA
Assistant Professor, Anderson University
Owner & Storyteller, Rettew Creative
Fellow, The Riley Institute at Furman University

Bobby Rettew is an award-winning storyteller, educator, business owner, husband, and father who lives in the heart of downtown Anderson, SC with his wife Sarah, daughter Rose, twin boys George and Henry, and dog Watson. Bobby serves as an Assistant Professor of Communications here at Anderson University and teaches a variety of digital media classes including digital photojournalism, digital video production, documentary storytelling, and podcasting. Bobby is also a business owner serving clients across the southeast practicing what he teaches inside the classroom.

Sarah Curnow, Credo Software 

Co-Founder & CEO Credo Software

Sarah Curnow is a proud graduate of Covenant College. Go Scots! In 2001, Sarah co- founded Credo Software with her husband Kevin after a simple two week consulting project became an internationalcontract. Never despise the day of small things is the best advise! No project is too small if a relationship can be built. She is so thankful for the word of mouth opportunities that have come from existing and past clients. For over 20 years, Credo has been assisting Tier 1 automotive suppliers and other businesses from the Upstate of South Carolina with Credo’s adaptive software solutions.

As an entrepreneur and mother of five, Sarah is passionate about encouraging people of all ages towardopportunities in STEM. In fact, she attributes much of her success to mentors that she had at various stages of her education. From her first TI-99 to her Mac Classic, early mentorship milestones gave her the courage to begin her tech journey.

According to Sarah, “Technology is woven into almost every part of life and can either be an obstacle or a pathway to success. We need more mentors and technology partners encourage people to join the journey”Hoping to inspire people toward investing technical solutions, Credo Software’s motto is “Believe and Innovate”.

Sarah is actively involved in several groups building relationships and promoting smart mobility solutions: the German American Chamber, Anderson PNC, the Upstate Society of Manufacturing Engineers Executive Committee, and the Kim Miller Family Enterprise Institute of South Carolina. She excited to follow strategic leads from our ever expanding network of professionals. She believes that Credo’s opportunities come from the not just from the quality of our work, but from strength of our relationships.

When she is not working, Sarah enjoys spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren

One of her favorite quotations is the socratic expression by Eleanor Roosevelt:

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”


Ken Peterson, Scansource