Two from UB honored by Connecticut Technology Council

Two from UB honored by Connecticut Technology Council

Professor Dr. Jani Macari Pallis and PhD candidate Wafa Elmannai among the state’s 2016 Women of Innovation

 University of Bridgeport engineering professor Dr. Jani Macari Pallis and engineering graduate student Wafa Elmannai have been named 2016 Women of Innovation honorees by the Connecticut Technology Council.

Dr. Pallis and Elmannai will be recognized on April 6 for distinguishing themselves as leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) who are involved in volunteer efforts in their community.

Dr. Jani Macari Pallis has reached pre-college students and teachers, engineering colleagues, university students, and informal education groups with her innovative and creative curriculum and projects for over 30 years. She has received over $1.5 million in grants solely focused on curriculum development and outreach.

Today, Dr. Pallis, who is an associate professor of mechanical engineering, and her students are developing a “Space Program for Kids.” It includes the implementation of high-altitude ballooning (17 miles up), mission control, and small-satellite and payload development, including the development of a university student-operated satellite that will be used for education outreach while it orbits the earth.

Dr. Pallis serves as the faculty advisor for the University of Bridgeport’s new Aerospace Club and UB’s Society of Women Engineers student group. Annually, she and UB students lead daylong workshops and provide hands-on STEM activities for children and their families at events such as Engineers Week, Black History Day, Women’s History Day, Aeronautics Day, Space Day, UB’s Welcome Back Weekend, and Tech Savvy.

She has been recognized by NASA Ames Research Center, California Association for Aerospace Education, The Franklin Institute, and Connecticut Space Grant College Consortium for her work in aerospace education.

While Dr. Pallis’s projects may range from spacecraft to sports engineering, her goal has always been to offer the next generation of engineers exposure and opportunities to participate in innovative projects today.

Wafa Elmannai is a doctorate student of computer science.  She is currently developing an intelligent framework to assist the impaired visually people. Her research has been supported by a $20,000 grant from the AAUW. In October 2015, Elmannai won the Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE) Executive Council Award, the highest award given to just three engineering students in the U.S.  This is the second time Elmannai has been selected for a Women of innovation Award by the Connecticut Technology Council. In addition to her studies, Elmannai the president of the UPE International Honors Society for the Computing and Information Disciplines.

In addition to her research, she is a volunteer with Girls of Innovation, a campaign by the Connecticut Technology Council to encourage girls from first to eighth grades to be innovators and leaders in future.

Media contact: Leslie Geary, (203) 576-4625,