Reflections During National Women's History Month

March 8, 2022

The women of TLA share their thoughts on experience two years of intense change

This month we celebrate the accomplishments and tenacity of women across the United States in right here in our own innovation ecosystem. At the UArizona, from faculty to researchers to staff, women provide expertise, perspective and energy to our inventive, entrepreneurial teams.

To honor Women's History Month we checked in with some of our TLA team members and asked them how the challenges of the pandemic and the last two years have affected their lives and inspired change for them.


Anne Spieth, Technology Marketing Associate

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Anne Spieth
Photo credit: Caroline King Anne Spieth

“I began working at Tech Launch Arizona right at the beginning of the pandemic. I was excited to bring my marketing skillset from a different industry to tech transfer, but my excitement was soon dampened with simply being overwhelmed. As a parent of two young children, I was caring for them almost exclusively during the day while trying to learn a new job in a new industry. Those long days taught me patience and resilience. They also showed me that I didn’t have to try to pretend I didn’t have a family in front of my co-workers. Colleagues looked forward to saying hello whenever a kid popped up in a Zoom call, and others’ families and pets became extensions of my new work family. Over time, the most positive change it has inspired in me is gratitude: for my family’s health, safety, flexibility with work, and kindness and understanding that we’re all human and will get through it together.”


Ellen Ogley, Administrative Assistant

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Ellen Ogley
Photo credit: Caroline King Ellen Ogley

“Being stuck at home at the beginning of the pandemic made me realize I wasn’t doing enough outside of work, and that I had a lot of free time to fill. It inspired me to go back to school for my MBA and take the time to develop new interests and hobbies.”


Katie Kuhns, Licensing Manager, College of Medicine-Phoenix

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Katie Kuhns
Photo credit: Caroline King Katie Kuhns

“At the beginning of the pandemic, the clean lines between life and work were blurred where life was work and work was life, all under the same roof. The pandemic taught me to become more flexible and accepting that life and work do not operate on distinct schedules and that they do inherently overlap. The pandemic provided me pause to reflect on my personal values and assess whether I was doing everything I could to achieve and protect those values and outline a roadmap to make them happen. As a result, I have been able to dedicate more intentional and quality time focused on my core values.”


Laura Silva, Senior Licensing Manager, College of Science

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Laura Silva
Photo credit: Caroline King Laura Silva

“My perspective is that it was a lot better for the virus to strike in 2020 than 20 years ago when we had much less technology. But a lot of positive changes have come out of the pandemic. I’m spending more time outdoors: running, biking, swimming, hiking, and dining. I’m getting around to visiting more within driving distance. And I’m meeting a lot of nice people interested in doing the same.”


Elena Fielder, Administrative Assistant

“Wow, such a mixture of every single feeling imaginable... I have a newly crowded living situation but I’m dealing with the inevitable feeling of isolation. I’m missing family and friends yet I’m able to spend more time with everyone virtually, especially distant family. The literal destruction of my weekly routine has translated into mandatory relaxation and finding myself getting back to enjoying reading a book, taking long outdoor walks, getting to know my husband all over again. I have no social commitments to worry about, and the limited social activities have pushed me to get back to enjoying a slower pace of life. It reminded me of what life in Mexico was like for me: truly relaxed. I’m extremely grateful that the pandemic did not affect my work and pay. I went out less because there was nothing to do and nowhere to go. I was spending less money so I found myself supporting small family-owned businesses more. All in all my house has never been tidier, we’ve never checked so many things off the “to-do” list for home projects before, and I feel so much more connected to my family.

"Nothing has ever been so challenging and made me feel so uncomfortable, scared, and way outside of my comfort zone, but it brought great clarity, taught me to how to ground myself and adapt to whatever life brings. I’ve truly learned what we are all capable of.”


Aileen Dingus, Marketing and Events Coordinator | NSF I-Corps Site Program Manager

“I remember telling a friend back in early March 2020 that waiting for news of the pandemic was like being under a tornado watch. ‘Nothing's really happening, but we're antsy and waiting for things to get worse.’  Little did we know at the time how much WORSE things would get.  

“In a way, I feel somewhat embarrassed by the fact that I wasn’t really affected by the pandemic as others were. None of my friends or family contracted the virus, or at least not a bad enough case to warrant serious medical care. I kept my job and was able to work from home. Most exciting, I was able to earn both my bachelor's and master’s degrees while the world waited out the storm.

“What did it all teach me? I couldn’t tell you. I have a feeling that in the decades to come I’ll be able to look back and see a lesson, but for right now, I’m just glad to have gotten this far safely.”


Jianling Liu, Senior Business Analyst

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Jianling Liu
Photo credit: Caroline King Jianling Liu

“I never thought that working from home and two kids’ virtual learning would work for us, but we did survive it for a year and a half – amazing! It was challenging at the beginning, but we enjoyed it later as we had more family time together with our kids. A positive change for us has been that we established a good exercise routine, walking dogs twice a day in the neighborhood, and biking 3 miles with kids to Orange Grove Middle School.”


Sarah Moore, Intellectual Property Manager

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Sarah Moore
Photo credit: Caroline King Sarah Moore

“More than ever, the pandemic made me realize how important my support system is, family and friends near and far; they all just became…far. It became essential to stay connected and focused on the small things that bring me joy, and staying healthy became more constant. Splurging on healthy food choices was less of an option and more of a requirement, and I was inspired to seek out those healthy choices.  

“We traveled less and ate out less, saving money. Without the daily commute, I saved an hour a day or more in time as well as the gas money. We stayed connected at work thru Zooms and found ways to make that fun and enjoyable to keep our team cohesive. It also made me realize how much I enjoy being at the office and interacting with people in real-time and space. As much as I saved by not commuting and making the adjustment to working from home, I am inspired to come back to the office and experience that synergy within our TLA team.

“The most impactful inspirational change I made during the pandemic has been tuning into the Wim Hof breathing technique and practicing daily. My shift in being mindful in this moment has helped me maintain focus, and helped me put into perspective the things I wanted and needed to accomplish each day."

Paul Tumarkin, Assistant Director, Marketing & Communications