Tech Talks

On Direct Communication Methods: from Smart City IoT Applications to Space Missions

Baek-Young Choi, Ph.D.

2:00 PM – City Center B

We are at a point in society where the world around us is deeply embedded with smart objects that are wirelessly connected to each other and eventually through the Internet. IoT is attracting huge interest from both academia and industry, and most of the things in our life are likely to get connected in the near future. At the core of the current IoT technologies, is the communication through radio frequency, such as WiFi and Bluetooth. With the prevalence of connected devices, our reliance on the radio frequency communication is becoming significant. However, the radio spectrum is extremely crunched and its dependability becomes a growing issue. Therefore, we argue that it is important to diversify communication methods. In this talk, we will discuss alternative and complimentary wireless communication methods, including radio frequency, infrared, and visible lights, through the IoT applications we have built with those. We will compare their cons and pros from various perspectives, and provide insights for a better connected world. We will also discuss how diverse communication methods can help wireless sensing for space missions.

Dr. Baek-Young Choi is an Associate Professor at the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC), has been in teaching and research in the broad areas of computer networks and systems including Cloud Computing, Smart Device Technologies, Internet-of-Things, Network Algorithms and Protocols, Data Storage and Management Systems, and Measurement, Analysis and Modeling of Network Traffic, Performance and Security. Dr. Choi has published over a hundred technical papers, and has served as an associate editor of three international journals. She has also served as a chair, and on organizing committees and steering committees for more than twenty conferences and workshops including N2Women. This is in addition to serving as a technical committee member for more than seventy conferences and workshops. Prior to joining the University of Missouri – Kansas City, Dr. Choi held positions at Sprint Advanced Technology Labs, and the University of Minnesota, Duluth, as a postdoctoral researcher, and as a 3M McKnight distinguished visiting assistant professor, respectively. She published three books on network monitoring, storage systems, and cloud computing. She has been a faculty fellow of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s Visiting Faculty Research Program (AFRL-VFRP) and Korea Telecom’s – Advance Institute of Technology (KT-AIT). She is a senior member of ACM and IEEE, and a member of IEEE Women in Engineering.


The genetic link between finger length and brain function: How hands indicate capabilities

Jeanne Johnson, Microsoft Corporation

3:00 PM – City Center A

There is a neuroscientific link between the way our hands are formed in utero and the way our brains function. By recognizing these important hand configurations, you can modify your approach with peers and employees for better outcomes.

Outcomes:  This fun and informative session uses humor, technology, and science to call attention to a little-known correlation in the human body.  By using this knowledge you can create better functioning teams, modify your approach for more collaborative experience based on this information, and derive greater satisfaction when trying to solve interpersonal issues.

Technology Focus: Building stronger teams, retaining talent

Jeanne Johnson is a Business Development Director in the world-wide Strategy and Planning team of the One Commercial Partner organization at Microsoft.  With a lifetime of experience in the technology industry, Jeanne focuses on the co-creation of profitable practice business models with those companies interested in rapid transformation by partnering with Microsoft. Prior to joining Microsoft, Jeanne started up, rapidly grew, and profitably sold several technology companies in the United States. Specializing in systems integration, mobile application design and build, and re-architecting and optimizing legacy systems in the large enterprise; Johnson’s companies were known for the early adoption of disruptive technologies and the nontraditional partnering with her competitors to build greater success.

Jeanne lives on the beach in Washington State and has recently been recognized for her work in tsunami preparedness.  She is the proud mother of 3 adult children, rides a Harley Davidson, and enjoys cooking, gardening, and creating art.



What is Data Science?

Jennifer Dreher, Tamara Johnson and Amy Kim, Commerce Bank

You have likely heard the term, Data Science, but what does it mean? In this presentation you will learn about Data Science and Analytics. Discover not only the definitions but what it takes to be successful in roles that support it and some use cases to help you understand real world application. All industries are looking for talent in this space, come see if this is a career fit for you!

Jennifer Dreher is Vice President and Manager of Enterprise Analytics at Commerce Bank in Kansas City. She joined the bank over 16 years ago as an intern and has developed expertise in a variety of roles related to Personal banking, Bankcard and Loan Systems, Project Management and her true passion of Data Science. Jennifer manages a team of 12 data scientists/data analysts responsible for providing analytic business intelligence solutions that drive business decision making to the Enterprise. She has recently been a leader in bringing Big Data technology and Machine Learning analytics to the bank. Jennifer is also a Master Champion responsible for sustaining and promoting Commerce Bank’s culture initiative and is also a member of R.I.S.E.(Respect, Inspire, Succeed, Empower) a Women’s Resource Group at the bank. Jennifer holds a BS in Mathematics (emphasis Applied Math) from Kansas University and a Master’s of Business Administration (emphasis Marketing) from University of Missouri – Kansas City.

Tamara Johnson is a Data Scientist Lead at Commerce Bank and has performed statistical analysis for consumer credit card during her 3 years with the bank. She has a B.S. in Actuarial Science and an M.S. in Statistics. Prior to working at Commerce, Tamara was a research actuary at State Farm and a lecturer in the KU Math Department. During her career, Tamara has used predictive modeling, experimental design, unsupervised learning, forecasting, and simulation within SAS to find revenue generating solutions in the financial services industry.



 Amy Kim is a Data Scientist Lead at Commerce Bank and has been working at Commerce for over 8 years. Amy leads a team that supports Fraud Analytics, Lending products, Consumer Credit, and Fair Lending. Amy has a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science, an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and an M.A. in Mathematics. Amy has extensive SAS knowledge focusing on forecasting, designing experiments, and response modeling. As a hobby, she also teaches statistics for the University of Kansas.




Beyond Diversity: The Keys to Successful Recruitment, Retention and Ascension of Quality Women and Minorities in Computer Science

Juanita Simmons, PH.D Northwest Missouri State University

Women, especially those who identify as racial and/or ethnic minorities, account for a small fraction of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians (STEM). Even though recent reports from the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (January 2017) point to 8.6 million STEM jobs in the current workforce, racial and gender gaps still exist. Many pipeline agencies of the U.S. STEM workforce, as well as private industry, seek to enhance the pool of diverse populations for staffing federal and corporate jobs. What are successful recruitment strategies for this population; and, how is this population best retained? What lessons might be learned from promoting (or lack of promoting) this population; and, do traditional ascension strategies impede or improve their workplace longevity? How do we work beyond diversity to grow and keep women and minorities in STEM aboard?

Juanita M. Cleaver Simmons, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Northwest Missouri State University, began this inaugural position in August of 2016. She was awarded emerita associate professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she served for fourteen years in the Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis division of the College of Education. She is a graduate of the University of Texas-Austin where she earned her PhD in Urban Superintendency and a Master’s in Educational Leadership. Her research agenda focuses on race, gender, class, and equity in organizations and institutions. She is the author of numerous publications and is currently under contract for her upcoming book, Emancipatory Leadership (2017) with Information Age Publishers. She is a former public school teacher and administrator. She continues to work with aspiring and seated leaders in public institutions for enhanced cultural competency and excellence in equity.