Skip to: Main Content Search Main Navigation Audience Navigation

Our Team

  • Stacy Strauss

  • Director

  • Stacy Strauss joined the Innovation Center as the Associate Director in August 2014 and was promoted to Director in October 2016. At the Innovation Center, Strauss manages the staff, makes connections for clients, oversees facility management, fundraising efforts, budget analysis, grant writing, and other Innovation Center operations. She was instrumental in securing a $2 million dollar grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission in 2016.
    Ms. Strauss joined the Innovation Center from Hocking College, where she served in a dual role as a Student Affairs Coordinator and Career Services Director from April 2013 through August 2014.  Prior to that position, she was Ohio University’s Head Soccer Coach for 13 years. During her tenure, the Bobcats won two Mid-American Championships, maintained a 3.4 cumulative GPA, and boasted a 97 percent graduation rate.  In addition, Ms. Strauss was the founder and director of a small business - the Bobcat Soccer Club - from 2010 to 2013. Before her coaching years at Ohio University, Strauss worked as an assistant soccer coach at Dartmouth College and at the University of Rhode Island.
    Ms. Strauss holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Kenyon College and a master’s degree in education from Ohio State University. She also holds a Business Incubator Management certificate from the International Business Innovation Association. Ms. Strauss resides in Athens, Ohio with her husband, John.

  • Tanya Conrath

  • Associate Director

  • Tanya Conrath joined the Innovation Center in November 2016 as the Associate Director.  At the Innovation Center, Conrath manages client services, oversees the student staff, manages the facility, organizes events and assists with fundraising efforts, grant writing, and other Innovation Center operations. 
    In her previous role with TechGROWTH OHIO, she facilitated regional outreach and educational/training opportunities for entrepreneurs. Her career has focused on supporting regional economic development in Southeast Ohio and creating professional development opportunities for its leaders and businesses. Tanya is an attorney, trained mediator, and holds a Business Incubator Management certificate from the International Business Innovation Association.  She has a B.S. in Communication from Ohio University, and a J.D. from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.



  • Misako Hata

  • Lab Director

  • Misako Hata joined the Innovation Center in September of 2017 as the Director of the Biotechnology Research and Development Facility and 3D Printer Lab. Misa is very passionate about helping small businesses succeed in Southeast Ohio. Hata oversees operations for and maintenance of the incubator’s biotechnology and 3D printing labs. Hata holds both bachelor’s and master's degrees in industrial systems engineering as well as another master's degree in biomedical engineering, all from Ohio University’s Russ College of Engineering and Technology. In addition, she has experience in 3D printing processes.
    Prior to the OUIC, Hata worked at Edison Biotechnology Institute, an Ohio University interdisciplinary research facility, where she served as the facility manager and biomedical R&D assistant. In this role, she oversaw the institute’s lab and equipment training. Prior to her tenure at the institute, Hata worked for two former Innovation Center companies; as a research associate at Quidel— formerly Diagnostic Hybrids, Inc.—for six years and as an industrial systems engineer at Sunpower, Inc.

  • Erin Rennich

  • Client Services Manager & Executive Coach

  • Erin Rennich joined the Innovation Center in February 2016 as the Client Services Manager and Executive Coach. In that role, Rennich acts as a concierge to coordinate all activities for clients with the goals of increasing client revenues, follow-on investment, employment and, ultimately, graduation from the incubation program. Acting with other staff, Rennich monitors progress, follows up on solutions identified, understands the clients' wants/needs and provides research for critical business pathways.
    Before joining the Innovation Center, Rennich served as the Technology Coordinator at the Ohio University Technology Transfer Office for nearly four years.  Rennich has extensive experience providing business support to technology-based companies in various stages of maturity. In 2004, Rennich earned her Bachelor of Arts at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.  In 2013, she completed her Professional MBA at Ohio University. 

  • Susan Bauman

  • Administrative Specialist

  • Susan Bauman joined the Innovation Center and the Technology Transfer Office in September of 2008. Her duties are split between the two areas. While wearing her Innovation Center hat, Susan maintains close contact with the member companies, often working with potential new tenants.
    In conjunction with the Technology Transfer Office, her duties focus on database management and helping coordinate the patent and invention disclosure processes. Susan has been with Ohio University for over 15 years, having worked for the Telecommunications Center (now the WOUB Center for Public Media) and the College of Business. She has a bachelor's degree in education from Ohio University, and holds the CAP designation through the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).

  • Jennifer Pauwels

  • Accountant

  • Jennifer Pauwels joined the Innovation Center in October 2017 as the Accountant/Grant Accountant. Jennifer’s responsibilities as the accountant for the IC include ensuring expenditures are appropriately charged to the correct accounts, coordinating hours worked by employees for each grant or funding source, and monitoring budgets and reconciling accounts. She also assists Innovation Center clients with such activities as invoicing for shipping and equipment purchases.
    Prior to joining the Innovation Center, Jennifer worked in the Grants Accounting department at Ohio University. In this role, her responsibilities included setting up grants in the grants accounting system for all departments across campus as well as monitoring spending of grant funds and invoicing customers. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from Michigan State University and a Master of Business Administration degree in Accounting Information Systems from Michigan State University. 

  • Emily Ellis

  • Office Assistant

  • Emily Ellis graduated as Valedictorian from Rural Retreat High School in May of 2017. She is currently enrolled in Ohio University’s Russ College of Engineering pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Technology and Management. Emily joined the Innovation Center’s team as an office assistant in September of 2018, where she is responsible for greeting visitors, answering phone calls, scheduling conference rooms, and completing daily tasks. Emily also assists with product design and development in the Innovation Center Additive Manufacturing Lab.

  • Josie Gogel

  • Office Assistant

  • Josie Gogel graduated with honors from Alexander High School. Josie is enrolled in the College of Business where she is studying Marketing. She joined the Innovation Center in January 2019 as an intern. In May 2019, she started her position as student Marketing and Communication Coordinator. She contributes to the Innovation Center's social media accounts, newsletter and website. Josie also works on various projects for both staff and startup clients

  • Maddy Casey

  • Office Assistant

  • Maddy Casey graduated from Upper Sandusky High School in 2017 where she took part in the local Leadership Team. Her passion for leadership led her to enroll in the Ohio University College of Business where she is studying Management and Strategic Leadership as well as Business Analytics. Maddy is an active member of the Schey Sales Centre, Ohio Women in Business, and Ohio University Entrepreneurs. Her time at the Innovation Center began in January of 2019. She performs a variety of duties include scheduling conference events, updating documents, providing assistance to Innovation Center clients, staff and guests, as well as answering the front desk phone.

  • Jace Libman-Phelps

  • Office Assistant

  • Jace Libman-Phelps graduated from Mentor High School in May of 2017. He is currently enrolled in the Ohio University College of Arts and Sciences majoring in Sociology-Criminology. He joined the Innovation Center in February 2019 as an office assistant. He is responsible for greeting and assisting visitors, revising documents, scheduling conference rooms, and assisting the staff and startup companies on various projects.

  • Corynn Moore

  • Office Assistant

  • Corynn Moore graduated as Valedictorian from Waverly High School in May of 2017. She is currently enrolled in Ohio University's College of Business pursuing a bachelor's degree in Accounting and Business Pre-Law. Corynn joined the Innovation Center's team as an office assistant in August of 2019, where she is responsible for assisting the Innovation Center clients, greeting and assisting visitors, answering phone calls, and scheduling conference rooms. 


Innovation Center