Summary of the 2017 Pinnacle Awards

Athena's Pinnacle Awards gala is our annual industry awards event now in its 19th year of production. Over 600 leaders in science, technology and business gather to honor those who excelled in the recognition, promotion, and mentorship of women in STEM. The Pinnacle Awards is a staple of southern California's technology and life science industry, providing a dynamic environment of high-value networking and inspiring exposure to best of the best in overall professional development and leadership. Pinnacle Scholarships are also awarded to five remarkable graduating high school seniors to promote the future of young women in STEM. In 2017, we celebrated The Art of Possible at the 19th Annual Pinnacle Awards. Stay tuned for more information on next year's Pinnacle Awards May 3, 2018!

  View the Pinnacle 2017 Photo Gallery

View the Pinnacle 2017 Videos

Read the San Diego Business Journal's Pinnacle Insert 

 Seven organizations and individuals received top honors against a competitive backdrop of more than 70 individuals and 20 companies.  

The honorees included: 

Individual in Life Science
 Sabrina Johnson 
CEO & Founder, Daré Bioscience


Individual in Education

Pamela Cosman, Ph.D. 

Professor, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, UC San Diego


Individual in Technology

Nina Smith

Executive VP / General Manager, Casualty Solutions, Mitchell International 


Individual in Service

Nancy Hong, Ph.D.

Managing Director, RiverVest Venture Partners



Mitchell International


Life Science Start-up



Technology Start-up

Coin Up


 As part of the Pinnacle program and to promote the development of future women leaders in STEM, Athena also awards Pinnacle Scholarships to five deserving high school senior girls pursuing higher education in science, technology, engineering or math.  

The event, in its 19th year, also raised more than $50,000 for the scholarship fund.

 The scholarship winners (from left to right) are:

  Jessica Xu, Marantha Christian School

Liana Merk, Canyon Crest Academy

Mielynn Shi, Westview High School

Tammy Truong, Vista High School

Kiara Bacasen, Otay Ranch High School 



Thank you Haben Girma, White House Champion of Change, for the moving keynote


 Girma is the first deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School. Her incredible accomplishments are made possible through the power of life science research and technological advancements. 

“We celebrated ‘The Art of the Possible’ in true San Diego fashion thanks to a terrific keynote address by renowned White House Champion of Change recipient, Haben Girma, and the recognition of the best and the brightest in our region.” said Cheryl Goodman, Executive Director of Athena.


A round of applause for our emcee Megan Burks from KPBS for your collaboration on a "moving and inspiring event"!


Thank you to our amazing sponsors!

Title Sponsor



                                                     Presenting  Sponsors                                         




Supporting Sponsors




                                                               Media and Communication Sponsors







Want to get involved in the Pinnacle Awards?

• Company Involvement: Support women in STEM 
Sponsorship Opportunities to Support Women in STEM

• Individual Involvement: Fund a scholarship or donate to the Pinnacle Silent Auction
View more information and auction donation form
Donate to the Pinnacle scholarship fund

Contact [email protected].org to get involved in the Pinnacle logistics committee.
• Spread the word about The Pinnacle Awards through social media
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