Susan Thackeray, Director of Career and Technical Education at UVU, received an award for educational excellence from the Women Tech Council on Thursday, Sept. 27 at the council’s fifth annual luncheon held at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City.

Thackeray was among 15 finalists selected for seven awards. Also selected as a finalist was Shauna Theobald, Director of the Entrepreneur Institute at Woodbury School of Business.

“Eight high-level executives from some of Utah’s most notable companies individually interviewed me for the award,” Thackeray said. “It is an honor to have my work publicly validated and recognized as valuable to the state of Utah.”

The Women Tech Council was founded in 2007 and provides support, mentoring and networking for women working in fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The council meets annually to award women who exemplify areas of leadership, entrepreneurship and professionalism education. Present at the luncheon were technology students, business executives and academic representatives from the area.

Thackeray was noted for her work at UVU by the council. She explained such work as her most contributing effort that resulted in her nomination and subsequent award.

“My work focused on the development of science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees,” Thackeray said. “Our UVU Business Engagement Strategy for Career Pathways is now noted in the state as a model for disruptive innovation in education.”

In addition to her work at UVU, Thackeray was recognized for her participation and initial research for the Women in Education Project to encourage more women to complete higher education.

Shauna Lake, co-anchor of KUTV 2 News, was the emcee at the luncheon, with keynote speaker Whitney Johnson, co-founder of the investment firm Rose Park Advisors and author of “Dare, Dream, Do.” Johnson spoke on the value of disrupting and innovating to move forward as women in technology.

Thackeray said this disruptive innovation is part of what helps women succeed in all fields, not just technology.

“Women provide employers with the diversity required to make relevant, efficient teams,” Thackeray said. “Those not studying technology can lean that disruptive strengths are critical to innovation. All students need to develop critical thinking skill sets to see the world from multiple levels and be problem-solvers.”