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Forough Ghahramani Selected to Participate in Science Eng. Technology Congressional Visit Event

Tuesday, June 23, 2009  
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Forough Ghahramani, WIPP National Founding Partner and Executive Advisory Board Member, and President of Princeton, NJ based consulting organization, Life Sciences Computing, was one of nine members of the Society of Women Engineers Public Policy Committee selected to participate in the Fourteenth Annual Science Engineering Technology Congressional Visit Event. This was a two-day event that brought together scientists, engineers, researchers, educators, and technology executives to Washington, DC to raise visibility and support for science, engineering, and technology. The objective of the event was to underscore the long-term importance of science, engineering, and technology to the Nation through meetings with congressional decision makers. 

The event included a briefing at the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) by top advisors to the U.S. President for science and technology, reviewing the details of the historic commitment to research by the Obama Administration. Speakers included: 
• Kei Koizumi, Assistant Director of Federal R&D, Whitehouse Office of Science and Technology Policy
• Michael Hollan, Program Examiner, Energy Branch, Office of Management and Budget
• Louis Finkel, Director of Policy and Outreach, U.S. House Science and Technology Committee
• Dan Byers, Professional Staff, U.S. House Science and Technology Committee

Forough Ghahramani also participated in the reception and awards ceremony presentation of the George E. Brown Jr. SET Leadership Award in the Hart Senate Building, Congressional Breakfast Event, and the Press Event with Representative Judy Biggert and Representative Rush Holt in the Canon House Caucus Room.  

The last part of Forough’s visit on Capital Hill included meetings with the offices of her representatives: Congressman Rush Holt, Senator Menedez, and Senator Lautenberg.

According to Forough Ghahramani, “It was a great opportunity to hear Administrative key members discuss plans to reinvigorate the American scientific enterprise through a bold commitment to basic and applied research, innovation, and research. It was especially exciting to be in Washington the day after President Obama’s speech at the Annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences where he pledged a historic commitment to research and education. There was a lot of energy around the fact that President Obama has made science and technology a top priority for this Administration, and has committed personal involvement in public awareness campaigns including developing tools to inspire young people to excel in STEM, and pursue careers as scientists, engineers, and innovators.  ”

Forough is part of a National Working Group through the Society of Women Engineers Through Society of Women Engineers that seeks to actively stimulate the involvement of under-represented groups in science and technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

For Forough Ghahramani, “As a lifelong advocate for attracting and retaining more women in STEM fields, this was a wonderful opportunity to urge policy members to support efforts to attract greater participation of significantly under-represented women and minorities into STEM fields of study and careers, including Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)’s bill H.R. 1144, the Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Act of 2009. Forough and other SWE participants urged Senate members to sponsor or co-sponsor a Senate Companion Bill. Members of Congress were also encouraged to join the House Diversity and Innovation Caucus. The purpose of these visits included garnering support for bringing more women and underrepresented groups into STEM fields, but also an emphasis and focus on retaining those already in the STEM pipeline.”

According to Forough Ghahramani, “In order to maintain global economic competitiveness, it is imperative to encourage increased education and participation of groups currently under-represented in STEM. We need the talent of every worker in order to compete and prosper.”  Forough Ghahramani sees tremendous value in her participation in these types of events in fulfilling her own passion for expanding opportunities for the next generation of leaders. 

Uniquely multi-sector and multi-disciplinary, the event was coordinated by coalitions of companies, professional societies and educational institutions who believe that science and technology comprise the cornerstone of our Nation's future.  While Forough Ghahramani was invited to attend through Society of Women Engineers with a focus on increasing opportunities for women in science, technology, and engineering fields, the event represented an opportunity to educate legislators and policy makers of Women Impacting Public Policy’s Economic Blueprint. WIPP’s Economic Blueprint is a call to action for the 111th Congress and Obama Administration that outlines six critical public policy areas, including Healthcare, Access to capital, Energy,  Procurement, Taxes and Telecommunication,  necessary to help women entrepreneurs grow their business in the 21st century.  

Additional information:

The House Innovation and Diversity Caucus was formed  in March 2007 to generate policy ideas for increasing the ranks of underrepresented groups in STEM fields.  It works to shape existing policies to take advantage of opportunities for increasing minority participation in science. “According to the U.S. Census, 39 percent of the population under the age of 18 is a racial or ethnic minority. Yet, in 2000, only 4.4 percent of the science and engineering jobs were held by African Americans and only 3.4 percent by Hispanics. While women constitute over half of the post-secondary students in the nation, they represent a little more than one-fourth of our science and engineering workforce. These are the sort of imbalances that caucus policies seek to correct.

H.R. 1144 authorizes workshops to educate program officers, members of grant review panels, institutions of higher education department chairs, and other federally funded researchers about methods and minimize the effects of gender bias in evaluation. 
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Please contact Forough Ghahramani at 609-497-1773 or

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