Applications are now open for the 2024 Opportunity Corps program for women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math
UNMC’s UNeTech Institute, AIM Institute and Nebraska Tech Collaborative, powered by Aksarben are accepting applications for Opportunity Corps: Women in STEAM, a seven-month education program focused on entrepreneurship and leadership development that matches women academic and industry professionals in Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering, and Math with women mentors in those subject areas.
Opportunity Corps: Women in STEAM focuses on a different subject each month, with a one-day educational workshop session featuring STEAM industry experts and leaders from the community, as well as one-on-one mentoring sessions with the mentors each month. All fellows who complete the program are paid a stipend of $500.
The 2024 program, in its third year, will begin in March and run through September. The deadline to apply is Monday, February 5, 2024.
Opportunity Corps WiS Program Schedule
- March 15, 2024: Program Overview, All About Start Ups
- April 19, 2024: Value Propositions & Customer Discovery
- May 17, 2024: Customer Profiles
- June 21, 2024: Relationships & Revenues
- July 19, 2024: Activities, Resources, & Partners
- August 16, 2024: Pitch Presentations
- September 20, 2024: Graduation
Each program date is tentatively scheduled from 9am to 3pm. Individuals accepted into the program will need to coordinate the commitment with their employer. All sessions are in person and are not offered via Zoom or other hybrid methods.
Program Goals for WiS
In an effort to overcome the barriers that women and femme-identifying people face in STEAM industries, especially as entrepreneurs, the main goals of Opportunity Corps are:
- To provide women femme-identifying people in STEAM access to mentors and program presenters who are experts in their fields.
- To create awareness of existing women femme-identifying leaders.
- To help forge a path to leadership and entrepreneurship for women femme-identifying people in STEAM, whether to become leaders within an existing organization or to start their own venture.
- To benefit the community and STEAM industries in Nebraska by helping women femme-identifying people address and overcome barriers to leadership and entrepreneurship, allowing for a more confident sharing of ideas and leadership abilities.
Who can apply for WiS?
Women and femme-identifying people who currently work in STEAM, either in academia or as an industry professional (including individuals from UNMC, AIM Institute and NTC member companies) and have an interest in entrepreneurship, leadership, invention, and innovation are encouraged to apply. There is no cost to participate and no application fee.
WiS Written Application Here
Applications are due Monday February 5, 2024.
Meet the 2024 WiS Leadership Team
Stephanie Kidd, PhD | UNeTech Institute | OC WiS Program Director
Stephanie serves as the Communications Strategist for the UNeTech Institute, Omaha, Nebraska’s only university-supported entrepreneurial support organization. UNeTech, housed under the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Nebraska Omaha, helps the inventions from faculty and staff from the University of Nebraska ecosystem transition from idea to successful commercialized business. At UNeTech, Stephanie developed and runs a program called Opportunity Corps, which provides an I-Corps based fellowship to both women in STEAM and Black entrepreneurs, with a focus on overcoming barriers to entrepreneurship. She also teaches in the Great Plains Region I-Corps Hub. Before her career at UNeTech, Stephanie worked in higher education and nonprofit. She holds a PhD in higher education administration and is a former dean of online education. She is the co-founder and artistic director of Radio Theatre Omaha. She is active in the Junior League of Omaha where she is the current executive vice president-elect.
Maggi Thorne | AIM Institute | OC WiS Mentorship Manager
Maggi is currently is Director of Innovation and Tech Education for the non-profit AIM Institute overseeing all Tech Education, planning and implementing programs for people to advance their lives through a rewarding tech career helping to build a diverse economic workforce! She also plans and implements AIM’s major events HDC & Tech Awards as well as the Tech Talent services connecting AIM graduates with tech community partners. Maggi also is an American Ninja Warrior 7X top competitor, second Mom up the warped wall and first to beat the Salmon Ladder. After spending a decade leading, designing, and managing $340M in construction projects building stadiums and arenas for the Nebraska Athletic Department, she felt called to build people, not buildings. She was 2nd place at the World’s Toughest Mudder running 75 miles and completing 334 obstacles in 24 hours, a previous Mrs. International traveling the globe as a non-profit advocate for the poor and underserved distributing over 200,000lbs in 12 countries of supplies through strategic partnerships with professional sports teams, major corporations, and government partnerships. She has served as an international spokesperson for two 5-star charity navigator non-profits helping to raise over $3 million through various capital campaigns and her public presence as an influencer for good. She is known for her trademark hot pink bow that represents dreams can come true at any age. In her spare time, she became Co-Founder for JoyFLowCo to equip and inspire active women and travels the nation as a motivational speaker empowering global leaders, youth and women. Her three children travel the country with her exploring America, and serving its communities inspiring people to Never Give Up!
Megan Bell | Nebraska Tech Collaborative, Powered by Aksarben | OC WiS Operations Manager
Megan Bell is the Operations Manager for internNE, Powered by Aksarben and Nebraska Tech Collaborative, Powered by Aksarben initiatives. She encompasses overseeing and optimizing daily operations while ensuring effective resource allocation, goal achievement, and strategic alignment. Megan engages herself statewide with both initiatives within activities and fostering relationships with staff and students across Nebraska. Megan is a results-oriented leader with Prosci and Agile Professional certifications, who brings a wealth of experience in driving organizational improvement through streamlined processes, effective team-building, and impactful communication. Megan’s background in education, adds a unique dimension to her expertise as well. Previously as a Change Management Analyst, she implemented robust Organizational Change Management (OCM) strategies, managed the people side of change, conducted various activities like impact assessments, stakeholder analysis and designed post-adoption continuity plans. Megan was also acknowledged as a speaker panelist at the National Zoomtopia Conference, and was recognized for an unwavering work ethic, resilience in high-stakes scenarios, proactive problem-solver, and commitment to a collaborative work environment.
Meet the 2024 WiS Mentors
Nancy Williams | Science
Nancy Williams is the Managing Partner at Block 27 Consulting, LLC, focusing on leveraging strengths to build generational wealth. Previously, as Co-Founder and President/CEO of No More Empty Pots, she fostered self-sufficiency and food security in communities. Nancy excels in resource leveraging, strategic planning, and creative work, with a passion for lifelong learning and maximizing potential. Her extensive experience spans agriculture, technology, education, business development, and food systems. Committed to a love ethic, Nancy promotes dignity, joy, and equity, viewing love as a foundation for regenerative practice and justice.
Ameshia Doll-Weier, MBA | Technology
Ameshia Doll is a seasoned IT professional and Scrum Master at FNBO, balancing her career with being a mother of four. She excels in IT process improvement and agile frameworks, focusing on application integration and development. Ameshia is dedicated to diversity and inclusion, actively participating in initiatives for women in IT, especially women of color, and is integral to FNBO’s DEI efforts, especially in “Black Excellence and Women” programs. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, gardening, traveling, and exploring Omaha’s culinary scene. A true leader, Ameshia is known for her advocacy, passion for diversity, and commitment to excellence. She is currently pursuing an MBA, demonstrating her ongoing dedication to personal and professional growth, as well as her commitment to empowering underrepresented communities.
Caitlin Schmit | Engineering
Caitlin Schmit joined SNB Building Solutions as an Architectural Representative in 2018 after working as a Structural Engineer Intern for three years. In her current position, Caitlin specializes in promoting and educating architects and designers about various product solutions and providing design assistance and support to customers. Having graduated with her master’s degree in architectural engineering and expanding her knowledge of the many products she is proud to represent, Caitlin is uniquely suited to help design teams bridge the gap between form and function on their projects. Throughout her years in the building industry, Caitlin has honed her presentation, communication, and customer-service skills to best support her clients, resulting in the achievement of sales goals. She enjoys seeing projects materialize from concept to finished product while building lasting partnerships in the industry.
Haley Haas | Art
Haley Haas is the Executive Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Anastasis Theatre Co. She recently directed the tour of the Anastasis play More Than a Number, as well as the original production of the play inside NE State Penitentiary. Haley and the Anastasis Theatre Co. won the 2023 Nebraska State Arts Award for Access to the Arts. She was also a finalist for the 2023 Inspire Award in the visionary category. Haley has worked as a teaching artist and facilitator with The Union for Contemporary Art, Omaha Community Playhouse, WhyArts, and Creighton University’s Theatre for Social Justice class. She worked for 15 years as an actor and the Training and Education Director for RESPECT, a touring educational theatre company. Haley holds a BFA in Theater Performance from Creighton University and trained with the groundbreaking community-engaged theater company Cornerstone, based in Los Angeles, CA
Alyssa Kuta Cave | Mathematics
Alyssa Cave is a Nebraska native and UNO graduate with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration. She currently serves as an Analyst at Invest Nebraska, having previously worked as a shared Analyst with the Nebraska Angels and a business consultant at the Nebraska Business Development Center. Alyssa is deeply committed to fostering entrepreneurship in Nebraska and engaging the next generation of innovators in this endeavor. Her work extends beyond her professional roles as she actively advocates for innovation and business growth within the state.
Sheila Fields, MBA CPLC | Alternate Mentor
Sheila Fields, MBA CPLC, is a Nebraska entrepreneur, philanthropist, and certified life coach. She founded The Bobby Byars Foundation, which has awarded over $50,000 in scholarships for family and community empowerment. Fields is involved in several initiatives, including Project W.O.R.K., and serves on multiple boards, such as the Metropolitan Community College Foundation. She owns BFields Solutions, providing technical solutions, and writes for the Omaha Star newspaper. Fields holds degrees in computer science and an MBA, with certifications in life coaching and women entrepreneurship. She is dedicated to family and community service.
Reach out directly to Stephanie Kidd at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
About UNeTech Institute
UNeTech Institute is an entrepreneurial support organization in Omaha, Nebraska, jointly supported by UNMC and UNO, whose mission is to support entrepreneurs and innovators by harnessing the resources of the University of Nebraska ecosystem and the Omaha and greater Nebraska community. UNeTech works with some of the brightest minds in the state to turn University research ideas into commercialized and successful businesses. To learn more about UNeTech, visit www.unetech.org.
About AIM Institute
The AIM Institute grows a strong and diverse tech community through education, career development, and outreach.
About Nebraska Tech Collaborative, Powered by Aksarben
The Nebraska Tech Collaborative is an Aksarben workforce initiative convening leaders across the state to attract, develop, and retain tech talent and entrepreneurs to enable greater economic prosperity for Nebraska