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Two Utah State University Alumnae Honored by Women Tech Council

Kat ArchibaldKat Archibald, USU graduate and Women Tech Council Awardee

Gwendolyn Smith, USU graduate and Women Tech Council Awardee

Of the six women honored at the Women Tech Council’s “Women Tech Awards” event, two are USU graduates.

Held at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, in September 2016, the awards are one of the nation’s largest ceremonies that recognize women in technology and business The ceremony honored six women for their innovations in shaping the technology industry and having an impact on Utah’s economy.

Kat Archibald and Gwendolyn Smith, both Utah State University graduates, were honored for their ongoing contributions.  Archibald is the chief product officer at Degreed an educational tech company engaged in the measurement, tracking and validation of all the learning individuals do throughout their lives. Smith is the vice president of professional services at Instructure, an educational technology company that developed the Canvas learning management system.

Julie Hanna, presidential ambassador of global entrepreneurship gave the keynote address. Hanna was appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2015 to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs. She was a founding executive of five Silicon Valley technology companies and is currently the executive chair of the board at Kiva, the world’s largest crowd lending marketplace for global entrepreneurs. 

“This event showcases the fact that women are a strong force in propelling the technology sector in Utah and beyond and that they are making a big impact on the state’s economy,” said Cydni Tetro, executive director of Women Tech Council. “Julie’s presence and personal connection is another testament to the impact these women have beyond their own organizations and the importance of recognizing their achievements and contributions.”

During her time at Degreed, Archibald has helped build an award-winning platform.  She was part of the company’s founding team that started with fewer than five people and has grown to more than 100 employees and just closed a $21M series B financing. 

Before joining Degreed, Archibald worked as an engineer at Crowell Advertising, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Neutron Interactive. She got her degree in information systems from Utah State. 

Archibald’s hobbies include riding horses, snowboarding, spending time with her kids and legos. 

At Instructure, Smith worked to quickly turn around a struggling department to deliver increased year-over-year revenue growth and margins in time for a successful initial public offering. Previously she was founder and president at Allegiant Solutions.  

Smith is an advocate for underprivileged youth and founded the Draper Peer Court, an alternative to the juvenile court system that provides counseling and mentoring to at-risk youth and their families and co-chaired the Draper Youth Council.

Smith earned a bachelor’s in computer science from Strayer University and an MBA from USU.

Additionally, the 2016 award recipients were:

  • Technology Trailblazer – Yelena Makogon from Goldman Sachs
  • Innovator – Christina Qi from Domeyard LP
  • Educational Excellence – Shalini Kesar, professor at Southern Utah University
  • Leadership Excellence – Vicki Fish from Myriad
  • STEM Pathways Award – Christine Mooth, BYU undergraduate student
  • Impact Award – Utah Valley University for its contributions to SheTech, one of the nation’s largest programs to engage girls in hands-on technology. More than 2,000 middle and high school girls have participated in the program, which is expanding to five locations in Utah and other states.

Women Tech Award recipients were selected for their impact to their professional industry and the economy, as well as for their community contributions. The STEM Pathways award recipient was selected for his or her promising STEM-focused university work.

For nine years, WTC has recognized 155 women and 23 university students with these awards.

Archibald and Smith were interviewed on KSL; the video is here