Geri’s Blog

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January 10, 2017  Happy New Year!  COACn and BWIS (Brookhaven National Laboratory Women in Science)    

I’ve had a great experience this past couple of days to meet and work with women scientists, engineers, technicians and support staff at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) on Long Island, New York. I gave our COACh negotiation workshop and was involved in many discussions about the current status of women at the laboratory, the need for improvements in the workplace to assure that all employed at the laboratory achieve the career goals to which they aspire, and ways that BWIS can play a key role in driving those improvements.IMG_6968

You are an amazing group of women and I am privileged to have had the chance to work with you! Best wishes as you move forward in this important venture.

A big shout-out and thanks to Anna Goldberg, current coordinator of BWIS, for making this happen. You ROCK!

And thanks also to Laboratory Director Doon Gibbs for his support and Lisa Durham and Lydia Finney from Argonne for assisting in the workshop.

December 5,6, 2016 Fiarahabana avy any Madagasikara! (Greetings from Madagascar!)
What a treat it has been these last two days to meet and work with so many fantastic STEM graduate students, researchers, teachers and faculty members who attended our series of COACh workshops ohere in Antananarivo, Madagascar. I couldn’t have imagined a more receptive, open, smart and motivated group of attendees! What a privilege it is for me to be here to learn from you about life, work and science here in this wonderful island country. You all are amazing and have such a good command of English – given that it is your THIRD language after Malagasy and French. Thank you so much for coming!IMG_4575 copy 2IMG_6783
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I am here at the invitation of Dr. Niri Ramamonjisoa and Dr. Onja Razafindratsima, both born in Madagascar who attended our COACh workshops in the U.S. as postdocs at Sloan Kettering and Rice University respectively. They and their friends Dr. Nanou Rabetokotany did all the arrangements for the COACh workshops including organizing the event, translating all our COACh workshops into French and signing up over 140 attendees.

Madagascar is indeed an unique and amazing island. It has been an isolated island for around 70 million years, breaking away first Africa around 165 million years ago and then from India nearly 100 million years later. This isolation led to the development of a unique flora and fauna, with 90 percent of its wildlife found only in Madagascar. I had a chance to go into the Andasibe National Park over the weekend to see the amazing Indri lemurs in the wild. A sight and experience that is unforgettable!  Big thanks again to Niri , Onja and Nanou for all your efforts to help scientists in your country and all the amazing Malagasy scientists for giving me the chance to meet you.

December 4, 2016  Greetings from the beautiful island of Mauritius!  It’s been a great few days talking with many wonderful STEM researchers, teachers, students, and community members on this absolutely spectacular island in the Indian Ocean. It is summer here with palm trees swaying in the ocean breezes. The country is working hard to increase its excellence in science, led by their amazing president, Her Excellency Ameenah Gurib, who has her PhD in organic chemistry.

The US Embassy hosted me at their “Let’s Talk about Science” event which included the Mauritius Research Council and Planet Earth. Many great questions! I also had a chance to give a talk hosted by the Ministry of Education to science educators and administrators. As with many countries they are struggling with revamping their STEM curriculum. My third presentation was at the Rajiv Gandhi Science Center where we talked about the need for scientists and researchers to help solve many global environmental challenges. The Science Center is an amazing asset to the island. My final presentation was at Café Scientifique and hosted by an NGO on the island helping to advance science literacy. It was also a lot of fun with many great questions. It was held at the Flying Dodo Brewing Company and restaurant.IMG_6439 IMG_6450 IMG_6447

Merci beaucoup to Jennifer Barr and Matt Gerdin for hosting my visit and others from the US Embassy who helped coordinate all of the logistics of my meetings. You Rock!

Warm regards from the southern hemisphere,

November 17, 2016: VIVA L’ALGERIE!  COACH in Algiers  We’ve had the most amazing three days here in Algiers giving over a dozen COACh workshops at the Center of Development of Advanced Technologies (CDTA) and the University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene in the Maison de la Science (USTHD). We met so many wonderful students, faculty and researchers who were very active participants in our workshops. Conversations, laughter and stories shared in English, Arabic and French made this such an enjoyable experience for Nora Berrah (Univ. of Connecticut) and I as we gave the workshops to many Algerians – men and women. Nora is a native of Algeria and fabulous role model for the attendees.

The education and science that the students receive – from elementary school through university – is very impressive as well as their English skills – usually their third language. Everyone was so kind, warm and welcoming. And the amazing Algerian press coverage made us all TV, radio and newspaper stars!20161117_161431 IMG_6037 IMG_6039

HUGE thanks to Professors Leila Adnane and Yasmina Ziari for organizing and hosting our workshops at USTHD and Dr. Nadia Soule for our workshops at CDTA. And Leila’s graduate student Raouf Souker for driving us all over Algiers in rush hour traffic – and his pal Hammache. You Rock!IMG_6053 IMG_6058 IMG_6055

And a big thanks also for our travel support from the OES Division of the U.S. State Department as part our US-Africa Women in Science program.  Enjoy the pictures and keep in touch. 

Salom aleikoum!T res bonne continuation! Best wishes for great success!

 

October 31, 2016:  Happy Halloween!  It has been a tradition in my research group to dress up for Halloween.  It goes back over 20 years with many great costumes.  In recent years the group has chosen a theme for the costumes with this year’s theme being the very scarey “anything having to do with tea”.  And in case you can’t guess what we all are, Brandon has helped with labels.

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October 20, 2016:  COACh in Bangkok: The International Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Conference (ISMTEC).  It has been my pleasure to be part of the ISMTEC meeting in Bangkok this past week for a discussion of how to prepare Thailand’s STEM students for the workforce. It was a very well attended conference by teachers and students and sponsored by the Thai government. Thailand, like many countries in the region are struggling to upgrade their STEM educational curriculum and teaching methods to make their courses more relevant to the job market of today and in the future.

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It was great to meet all of you at the conference. And a big thanks to the organizers and the invitation to speak at the conference.

As a final note, I also wish to extend to those in Thailand my sympathies for the loss of your beloved King, King Bhumibol the Great. To be in Thailand during this time of mourning gave me a sense of how important this amazing man has been to all of your lives and your country.

 

October 18,19, 2016: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam:  It’s been another wonderful albeit short return to Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam where I had a chance to meet with some fantastic young women scientists at the American Center.

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I also had a chance to visit the FabLab Saigon that was founded by Ms. Phan Hoàng Anh and her colleagues. Every time I return to this country I rediscover all the wonderful young people that are the future of science and technology in this country. It is indeed a bright future ahead. It was great to meet and learn about all of you.


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Special thanks to Anne Eisenhower Turnbull, the Economic Officer of the U.S. Consulate Ho Chi Minh City who helped arrange and host my visit.

 

October 14-17, 2016: Yangon and Naypyidaw, Myanmar: My return to Myanmar has enhanced my knowledge about this wonderful country that is in a huge and complex transition with the election of Aung San Suu Kyi as the first and incumbent State Counsellor and Leader of the National League for Democracy. This visit was focussed on our new COACh effort to build the Southeast Asian Nutritional Neuroscience Network  to help educate nutritionists, doctors, policy makers and young mothers about how chronic malnutrition affects brain development from conception through the first two years of life, and research and interventions that are necessary to reduce the neurocognitive impact.

img_5938      It was a particular pleasure of mine to reconnect with two of our workshop participants from Myanmar that attended our workshop on this topic in Luang Prabang, Laos last March – two amazing women – Dr. May Khin Than, Director of the Nutrition Center and Dr. Lwin Mar Hlaing, Assistant Director of the Nutrition Research Section of the National Nutrition Centre (NNC), both of the Department of Public Health Ministry of Health and Sports in Naypyidaw, Myanmar. We have developed some exciting and important plans forward that we hope to implement in the coming months and years if funding can be secured. In the picture of us in front of the Public Health Ministry of Health and Sport, Dr. May Khin Than is on my right and Dr. Lwin Mar Hlaing on my left. Thank you so much for your time to meet with me. It was great!

And big thanks to Kira Mitre and Dr. Ma Myo Aye from the US Embassy who helped facilitate my visit to Yangon and Naypyidaw. You are great too!

 

October 4,5, 2016:  Muscat Oman;  It’s was great to be back in Oman last week for the 10th International Advisory Board meeting for The Research Council (TRC). As I have written before, Oman is working hard to build up it’s research enterprise and is doing it very strategically. Unfortunately the low price of oil, a primary source of income in the country, is slowing the progress. There are wonderful scientists in Oman and many are looking for collaborations with those in developed countries that are working in the areas of agriculture, water, energy and food security. It is such a gentle and peaceful country in this very volatile part of the world. A true oasis.

img_5928In addition to meeting many amazing scientists on this trip, I had the opportunity to go to the Agriculture Research at Rumais. There I learned about the challenges and opportunities in agriculture in the area and in Oman. And met some amazing women working in their laboratories. Was AWESOME! You come see several of them in the selfie below along with Dame Allison Richard who is also on the Advisory Board. The other picture is of our visit to Fanja with Dame Richard and His Excellency, Dr. Hilal Al Hinai, Secretary General of TRC.

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September 26, 2016:  It’s the start of a new academic year at the University of Oregon: I’ve been on the faculty here at Oregon for 31 years (hard to believe!) and I still get excited when the new students arrive on campus each fall.  Welcome to all of you including our new group of graduate students.  

I’m also very excited about our new group of undergraduates that are in our Presidential Undergraduate Scholars Program!  It will be great working with you this year and watching you progress in your new research experiences.

ximg_5817August 25-31, 2016:  MYANMAR: In the midst of exciting changes:  It’s been an amazing visit to Myanmar this week. Having visited the neighboring countries of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand over the past 18 months in my role as Science Envoy, I have awaiting my chance to visit the 5th of my Envoy. The wait was worth it! I met so many wonderful people in Yangon and learned a lot about this wonderful country as it moves towards democracy and the leadership of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi.

First, a big thanks to Ambassador Scot Marciel for hosting a wonderful reception for me at his residence in Yangon. Attending the reception were community members working in science and engineering fields. It was superb.

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A big shout out to the Geek Girls who told me about the new companies that they have stxgeekgirlsarted and their aspirations for success. They have formed a network of other tech oriented young women that are using their technical skills to start companies and contribute to the new opportunities that are coming with the political changes in the country.   You Rock!!

 

 

I also met with a group of more senior women that are leading a netwoimg_5847rk of Women Entrepreneurs comprised of over 2000 members in Myanmar. It is clear in meeting with both groups that women are going to be major players in building the new economy in the country. Women comprise over 80% of the scientists in Myanmar! It is absolutely amazing.

 

Thanks also to the Yangon University for giving me the opportunity to speak to a large group of their faculty and students about being a scientist in the US. They have a wonderful group of faculty in the chemistry department that I also got to meet.

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I also had a chance to visit with many people working to reduce the childhood stunting epidemic in Myanmar through intervention methods and also so great social media and app tools being developed to reach that critical first 1000 days of life of the baby and pregnancy of the mother. You are all inspiring! As I have written about earlier in Laos and Cambodia, childhood stunting affects over 30% of the children in the country.

Warm regards and thanks to all, especially Joseph Povolini from the US Embassy who organized my visit.

August 20, 2016:  Fun in Philly!  We had a great turn-out of fantastic women graduate students, postdoctoral associates, faculty and researchers from the DOE National Laboratories and NIST at our COACh workshops in Philadelphia prior to the ACS meeting. Prof. Pushpa Murthy and I gave workshops to women postdoctoral associates on “Career Launch and Acceleration” and “Effective Negotiation Techniques”.

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The workshop also helped us launch another group of COAChes that will give our workshops to undergraduates and graduate students at their institutions and organizations, our COACh-the-COAChes program.

 

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In a parall20160820_175725el session Profs. Mary Wirth and Rebecca White gave another very informative workshop on Entrepreneurship to a very engaged group of women scientists and engineers. We had fantastic participation in all the workshops.

Thanks and best wishes to all – enjoy the pictures, share with others and keep in touch.

 

July 30-31, 2016: Greetings from Surabaya Indonesia: What a great day it has been! Indonesia is such a wonderful country to be visiting as part of the 2016 Indonesian-American Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium. Today I had the pleasure of giving four COACh workshops on Negotiation, Publishing, Proposal Writing and Career Building to a large group of Indonesian and Australian scientists and engineers. It was a so much fun as the group was very engaged, asking lots of questions and sharing many fun moments!

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I wish you all much success in your careers and hope that our paths cross again in the future. It has been a privilege for me to work with all of you.

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June 25-28, 2016: Back in Bangkok:    I had a very enjoyable and educational visit this week at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) in Bangkok. Professor Supapan Seraphin and I reviewed their scientific and engineering programs and met with many students and faculty. They have some really great programs at KMUTT and we were happy to play a part in helping them move ahead in science and engineering.  Best wishes to all and thanks for the great visit!

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June 13, 2016: Rwanda!  Women in Water in Africa

IMG_5027What an amazing experience it has been to be in Kigali Rwanda these past few days for our COACh POWWER (Partnerships on Women in Water Engineering and Research) workshop. With the mantra of “WATER FIRST” the fantastic women scientists and policymakers from 11 different African countries are all passionate about the need in Africa and around the world to put access to clean water as a top priority and to mobilize women to lead the effort. Countries represented include Sudan, Burundi, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa Uganda and Tanzania.  More details can be found on the Water First! website.

Water First Workshop Summary In many parts of this African continent women and girls lives are centered around securing clean water each day for their families with young girls needing to drop out of school early because of the need to travel on foot may kilometers each day to carry water collect and carry water back to their homes. In nearly all countries there are a plethora of government policies about access to clean water but few are actually implemented. Women, who tend to be more action oriented than their male colleagues, rarely reach or are appointed to leadership positions in the water resource area, exacerbating the disconnect between policy and what is happening on the ground.

DSC01559The workshop was an amazing experience as the group rapidly centered our attention on how we as women (and our supportive male colleagues) can truly make a difference. Our efforts beyond this workshop will be focussing in three areas:

1. Educate – the public and policy makers on the need to put WATER FIRST and make sure that our young girls acquire the education necessary for them to be leaders in Africa in this area.

2. Empower – women tDSC01492o be leaders in this effort.DSC01591

3. Emulate – the best practices and role-models as a way forward on this incredibly important issue.

 

Join us! In the coming weeks we will be developing a website that summarizes our workshop outcomes and plans forward. We need everyone!

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A HUGE THANKS goes to the U.S. State Department and the OES division for sponsoring this workshop. This follows on the first two POWWER African conferences held in Casablanca (2014) and Namibia (2015). And also the assistance from the US Embassy and USAID mission staff in Rwanda.

And how fantastic it is to hold this workshop in a country where women hold over 60% of the positions in parliament and the education and empowerment of women and girls is a very high priority. Kigali, the site of our workshop and capital of the country is a beautiful city to behold.

Thanks all of you that were part of this and others interested in joining our efforts to make sure that we put WATER FIRST!

 

June 1, 2016: The Investiture of President Schill as President of the University of Oregon. What an honor for me to be in the precession.  GO DUCKS!

Images from the Investiture of University of Oregon president Michael H. Schill on Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Eugene, Oregon.

Images from the Investiture of University of Oregon president Michael H. Schill on Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Eugene, Oregon.

 

 

May 20, 2016:    This message is to all of the wonderful, amazing and hardworking undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral associates that I have had the privilege of working with in my research over the course of my career.   It is also to all those friends and colleagues – especially my family – who have supported me through the tough times and been there for the fun times.

Yesterday I received the National Medal of Science from President Obama.  

This Medal is for you!  Words cannot express how grateful I am to all of you and how honored I am to be the representative of all of our efforts.

 

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Medals Ceremony

May 17, 2016:  HUGE Congratulations to my graduate student Laura McWilliams for the successful defense of her PhD Thesis!  Fabulous science and fabulous presentation.  You rock!  Photo-on-2013-07-05-at-08-2.20-12pheci

May 10, 2016:  The Field Museum in Chicago is an amazing place!  Today I had the pleasure of speaking at an annual celebration hosted by the  Field Museum Women’s Board.  The event helps to raise funds to support graduate fellowships for young women in STEM that are in the final stages of their Ph.D. dissertations, and for paid internships for Chicago high school and undergraduate female students.  It was an amazing turnout of several hundred women professionals in the Chicago area and also a group of female STEM students from Solorio Academy High School.  It was super to meet all the students (GO GIRLS!) and to also meet and see so many Chicago women that are committed to this issue and the Field Museum.  Let me express my huge thanks to Dr. Richard Lariviere, President and CEO of the museum (and his wife Jan) for extending to me this wonderful invitation and opportunity and a personal tour of their latest exhibit – The Terracotta Warriors. 

 

 

May 3, 2016: Great day at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo Michigan!  I spent the day meeting with chemistry department faculty and dozens of chemistry majors.  Kalamazoo has more chemistry majors than I have seen in any college of its size – 50-60 each year!  I gave talks including a imagespresentation on our research as well as talks on international engagement, career opportunities for the future and one of my favorite talks on “Quilting together a career in science”.  It was a busy and very very enjoyable day.  Thanks so much to all the faculty and students that made the visit so much fun.  And thank you for the honor of selecting me as the 2016 Tourtellotte Lecturer.

 

  April 28, 2016:  “Implicit Bias in Peer Review:  Publications and Grants” was the topic of a unique and amazing symposium held today at AAAS in Washington DC. The workshop was designed to examine the data and best practices on ensuring that the integrity of peer review process in picking the best science is not being reduced by reviewers implicit biases by Graffiti Park2016_0428_153936-4198-Sgender, race and ethnicity, institution or country of origin. Much data was shared on the topic and many interesting discussions. It was great to see how seriously different journal editors (including from Nature and Science)are taking this issue seriously, especially to understand if the review process could be improved by such practices as double blind reviews. Also very interesting was to see the divergence in opinions of the importance of funding agencies in collecting demographic data on Graffiti Park2016_0428_150329-4060-Sproposal submissions and funding and institute bias training activities. NSF is clearly the leader in this area with NIH and DOE currently improving their data collection. Representatives from the DOD agencies like ONR and DARPA reported little or no interest on the topic of collecting demographics or any programs on implicit bias. AAAS plans to post a summary of the symposium in coming weeks. A big thanks to all at AAAS that worked so hard to host this important event.

April 14, 2016: Great day spent at the SUNY Buffalo!  I spent the day giving a talk and meeting with many wonderful faculty member in the Chemistry department here.  The family of Howard Tieckelman created the lectureship that I was honored to give in memory of his wonderful scientific accomplishments and contributions.  Thanks to all the great faculty and students – especially Prof. Joe Gardella who hosted my visit.

April 3-4, 2016:Oman is such an amazing country!  Over the past year I have had the pleasure of working with The Research Council (TRC) of Oman to help build and strengthen the research capacity in their country as they try to diversify their economy from oil.  These past two days have been spent in Muscat at the Grand Hyatt reviewing many of their programs and plans for the future.  TRC is looking for opportunities for it’s faculty to develop international collaborations.  Check out the TRC website to learn more.

March 29, 2016:   Big KUDOS to both Bri Gordon and Andrew Carpenter, two of my fantastic graduate students that both passed their annual reviews today.  Great work and wonderful students!Bri-head-21dx8qh
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March 13-14, 2016:  Luang Prabang, Laos – In my travels throughout SE Asia, one topic that has tugged on my heartstrings has been the very high prevalence of childhood stunting by the age of 2 that can be as high as 50% of the children in many countries of this region.

During these past two days I have been involved in organizing and running a workshop in Luang Prabang that has brought together researchers and clinicians from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar that work in the area of childhood nutrition.  It was an amazing collection of professionals at the workshop with many collaborations developed in education and research.  Jeff Measelle and Dare Baldwin, neuroscientists from the University of Oregon are partners in the efforts.  One outcome of this workshop has been for formation of a network of professionals in the region committed to this issue:  the Southeast Asian Nutrition and Neuroscience Network (SEAN3).

The overall goals of this effort are to (a) galvanize awareness among local scientists and decision-makers to major scientific advances in the are of chronic malnutrition and brain development, b) identify the most effective and promising intervention strategies, and c) create a growing network of in-country professionals that to lead the implementation of a coordinated science-to-action plan within the region with the aims of reducing the prevalence of chronic malnutrition while increasing the protection of the development of the human brain by 2020.uman brain by 2020.

Although much is understood about how chronic malnutrition results in physical stunting in the first 1000 days of human life, there is increasing evidence that this is accompanied by impaired neurological development that has life-long consequences. Because the brain is critical to all facets of health and wellbeing, interventions that support and protect the brain’s development when it is most vulnerable (conception through approximately age 2) are critical to any society’s vitality. Nutritional interventions that take a life-cycle approach, that seek to mitigate the ravages of chronic malnutrition (stunting) at critical periods during development, and which target both the physical and neurobiological aspects of malnutrition appear to have the strongest and longest-lasting effect. At present, these scientific realities have not adequately informed efforts in low- and middle-income countries, especially Southeast Asia where rates of childhood stunting are the highest in the world.

This first workshop was sponsored by the U.S. Science Envoy Program. The plan is for subsequent workshops to be conducted in these and other nearby countries where chronic malnutrition is pervasive.

 

March 12-13, 2016:  Amman Jordan.  Lots of great experiences!      

I had the pleasure today of speaking at a meeting in Amman Jordan sponsored by the  Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) and Middle East Research Cooperation (MERC) .

pga_171402s This meeting brings together principal investigators from the US and around the Middle East to present their research data funded by USAID PEER and to develop regional collaborations with other scientists.  It was a super meeting!  I was invited to give a presentation entitled “International Science Collaborations: Ingredients for Success” and another talk on “The Art of Effective Negotiation”.  It was super fun with lots of great participation from the over 100 participants from the Middle East.  Big thanks to the PEER program for letting me be a part of the event and meet so many interesting scientists.

 

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I also had the amazing opportunity to have dinner with a group of women professionals in Amman, friends and colleagues of Dr. Rana Dajani at Hashemite University.  It was a wonderful dinner with conversations about our careers, the veil, children, life in Jordan today and career aspirations and accomplishments. I just was so privileged to meet these women (Zeena Tabas, Abeer Al-Bawwab, Nancy Hakooz, Nasreen Barakat, Lion Otaya and Rana Dajani. and I thank them for hosting me for dinner.

And a visit to Amman wouldn’t be complete without visiting Petra.  It is certainly a “bucket-list” must!  I was blown away by the beauty and the amazing way that Jordan has preserved this precious precious site.  Petra is a histoIMG_3711srical and archaeological city in the southern Jordan government that is famous for its rock cut architecture and water conduit system. From Wikipedia:  Established possibly as early as 312 BC as the capital city of the Arab Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan, as well as Jordan’s most-visited tourist attraction.It lies on the slope of Jebel al-Madhbah (identified by some as the biblical Mount Hor) in abasin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Petra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.


March 11, 2016

Visit to the Phenomenal Science and Engineering Festival in Cambodia! Amazing!  

Cambodia this week celebrated Science and Engineering with their 2nd Annual STEM Festival in Phnom Penh.

 

Thousands of aspiring young students from all over Cambodia are coming this week to hear talks, attend a Hackathan, be part of a mini Maker Faire and so much more. What a treat it was for me to speak to several hundred students at the Faire about “Why I love being a Scientist” as part of my US Science Envoy travels.  It was so wonderful to meet all of these aspiring scientists and engineers from a country that is emerging as an important SE Asia country.  My warm regards to all.  (More pictures on the COACh Facebook page.

March 8, 2016 

Happy International Women’s Day!

Our wonderful COACh Cameroon leader, Dr. Barbara Tiedeu represented COACh at the NEF Global Gathering in Senegal and participated in the Women in STEM in Africa sessions organized by AIMS in partnership with Portia Ltd. What a great opportunity has been these past few days to both celebrate International Women’s Day and also to reflect on the progress made to date on promoting African Women in STEM, to highlight innovative initiatives and to explore what the future holds for promoting African Women in STEM.

Big thanks to Karen Craggs-Milne, Director of Gender Equality and Inclusion, AIMS Global Secretariat for including COACh in the activities.

March 7-8, 2016 Greetings from Bangkok Thailand where I am attending the Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology between the US and Thailand.  Many great ideas for scientific collaborations in areas of health, education, water and the environment were discussed and plans made for future collaborative activities.

February 12-15, 2016  The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is this week and it’s been alot of fun!  Scientists from all over the world have joined us here in Washington DC for the annual event that highlights the best science in the world.  The most exciting new announcement was on the detection of gravitational waves the day that the meeting began.  As President of AAAS, I was able to choose the theme of the annual meeting – and I chose it to be “Global Scientific Engagement”.  It was exciting to see all the new discoveries and to also meet old friends and new ones.  You can find the grand opening of the meeting here which includes my opening presentation on the importance of Global scientific engagement (starting at about 20 minutes into the video clip).  It’s been a huge honor for me to be President of AAAS this year!  At the end of the meeting I turned over my reign to Prof. Barbara Schaal of the Washington University and I take on the responsibility of Chair of the Board of AAAS.  Thanks everyone! 

 

January 12, 2016: A Celebration of Women In Technology in the Lower Mekong Countries of Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

There are some amazing young women in Tech in the Lower Mekong Region! This week brought about 30 college-level women from the countries of Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam together at a fantastic event hosted by the Intel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The 2-day workshop was a unique opportunity for the participants to meet each other, to share their career aspirations, to compare the challenges and

opportunities for women in science and technology in each of their countries and to learn some COACh skills. This is the first time that such an event has been held in the Lower Mekong Region so it was very exciting and very informative. Take a look at all the great pictures. Big thanks to all of the wonderful and bright participants. You rock!!

We owe a huge thanks to Intel for hosting the workshop and especially Sherry Boger, the General Manager of Intel Products Vietnam for her support and taking the time out of her very busy schedule to be part of the event. We also thank the amazing team of the USAID COMET program for organizing and providing travel and lodging support for the participants, the Science Envoy Program and the U.S. Embassy folks including Nate Rettenmayer and U.S. Consulate General Rena Bitter for their support.

I wish all you wonderful ladies great career success! 

January 8, 2016:  Happy 2016 from Cambodia!  

What a great group of fantastic students I spoke with to day at the American Corner in Phnom Penh! It was very interesting and fun talking with them about their studies, their career aspirations, and the challenges of getting a employable education in a developing country such as Cambodia. It was an absolutely impressive group with very good english skills and high motivation to be successful. I wish I could bring them all back to the US with me!

Good luck all with your studies and future careers and be sure to share these photos with your friends.

Thanks everyone for the warm welcome and to Chea Sphea and Andrew Davnie-Easton for organizing the event.

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December 2-10, 2015:   Every time I come to Vietnam I become more impressed with the scientists, teachers and students that I meet. It’s been a great two weeks here, bouncing between events and meetings in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Danang, Hue City and Hanoi.  I’ve summarized the highlights of my visits below.

December 2-4, 2015: Back to one of my very favorite cities – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in my role as US Science Envoy to Vietnam.  I have been participating in several events, the first being the 9th Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) between the U.S. and Vietnam. I have been working to assist in the development of S&T collaborations between scientists and researchers in our two countries.  The JCM has focussed on 5 areas of collaboration:  Health and Medical Science, Biotechnology and Agriculture, STEM Education and Research Exchange, Conservation and Environmental Science and Climate Change,c47185ab69fd479a1a38c15974468278 Hydrology and Metrology.  The U.S. delegation was led by Dr. Jonathan Margolis, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science, Space, and Health, Department of State and the Vietnamese delegation was led by Dr. Tran Quoc Khanh, Vice Minister, Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).  Ted_Osius_2014

The Opening Ceremony included participation of H.E. Nguyen Quan – Vietnam Minister for Science and Technology, the phenomenal H.E. Ted Osius – U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam and representatives of Governmental Organization, Institutes, Universities and Companies from both sides was held on the 2nd of December 2015.  If even a fraction of the ideas proposed are come to fruition, the effort can be considered a success.  Huge Thanks to Dr. Christin Kjelland for organizing this amazing JCM.

December 2, 2015: ROBOTICS RULE:  While in HCMC I also met with some really bright Vietnam students at the American Center that have been involved in a Robotics Club. AmericanCenterRoboticsClubIt was great to see their inventions and to also talk to them about their career aspirations with Dr. Jonathan Margolis from the U.S. State Department.

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On the following day I gave a presentation on careers in science at the American Center to a large group of students and community members interested science and a science career. Lots of great questions from the students!

December 7, 2015:  On to Danang in central Vietnam for the next few days where I gave a COACh workshops on Effective Communication to a full room of students at the Danang University of Technology and another presentation on science careers at the University of Education. Many students have very impressive English skills! I wish my Vietnamese was so good! Lots of great pictures to so take a look at them.

DUT University of Education

DUT University of Education students

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DUT University of Technology students

DUT University of Technology students

 

The Danang FabLab was my next stop where we did experiments with middle school students to demonstrate principles in energy, heat, crystallization and chemical change. Many students in Vietnam do not have any much science education in their schools and no possibility of doing simple experiments. The FabLab is a small space put together by Mr. Hoi Nguyen and his wife to give them such experience. https://www.facebook.com/fablabdanang They are science heros indeed! It was great (as you can see from the pictures) and makes me want to come back and so some more in other regions of Vietnam. 

 

 

 

The last Danang event was amazing in a different way – the Autumn Meeting to showcase Vietnamese independent movies and help train new directors, actors and producers for this growing industry in Vietnam.https://www.facebook.com/autumnmeeting The U.S. government is helping provide advice to movie directors, producers and actors on intellectual property issues that can help them protect their artistic works. I got to attend the evening Gala celebrating their most famous directors, producers and actors in Vietnam. Awesome! http://vietnamnews.vn/…/da-nang-hosts-event-for-independent…

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December 8, 2015:  Then on to Hue City where I had the opportunity to meet with students and faculty from the Hue University of Science and the Hue Learning Resource Center. Hue is an amazing city and cultural center for Vietnam. Again, great interactions and pictures. Thank you Lan for interpreting and your support of our COACh efforts!

HueUniv

December 9, 2015: My final visits were in Hanoi in northern Vietnam. In the first event I was able to be part of the signing of Joint Statement of Intent between NSA and the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST). The Statement of Intent is an acknowledgement of strong bilateral interest in cooperation on space-based research, including Earth science, weather research, remote sensing, and educational activities. It was a wonderful ceremony involving our Ambassador Ted Osius and VAST Chairman Chau Van Minh. Lots of great science and technology will result from this.

The last event was to speak at the Professional Workshop on Environmental Assessment and Climate Change sponsored by the U.S. State Department. This workshop is to help scientists from the Lower Mekong Countries discuss how they can help their governments be more informed on environmentally important issues and how current natural resources will be affected by climate change. Climate change is evident everywhere in SE Asia so efforts like these are very important.I’m now back in Ho Chi Minh City getting ready to depart for the US.

It’s been a great trip! Thanks so much to all who helped with my visit and all the wonderful Vietnamese people I met! And thanks to the US Science Envoy Program for letting me be part of all of these events.

November 16, 2015:  THAILAND NATIONAL SCIENCE FESTIVAL: Great Students, Teachers and Fun!

What a treat it has been to be part of this amazing Science Festival that is held every year in Thailand and this year in Bangkok! Students, teachers and families come from all over this beautiful country to attend this very unique event that runs for two weeks.

How fortunate I was to be able to attend and speak with many students and their teachers at this festival yesterday. 

 

 

Derived from the first “Thai National Science Day” in 1982, the festival now hosts over 1 MILLION visitors each year with exhibits from over 50 national and international institutions from governmental, educational and commercial sectors.

It was a pleasure to meet all of you and to get a chance to see what’s happening in science and technology in Thailand.

Cheers to all and keep up your interest in science. Our world needs you!

November 12,13, 2015:  TUNISIA: Seeking International Collaborations in Science and Engineering

Thanks to funding from the Elsevier Foundation, we brought the full set of COACh career building workshops to Tunis and Sup’Com at the University of Carthage. We are spending four days this week working with many fantastic engineering students and faculty in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Internet Security areas. Many are very interested in research and educational collaborations with scientists and engineers in the US and other countries. Let us know if you are interested in partnering with them!

It is indeed a remarkable country and each time we visit we are even more impressed. From the 1980s until today women’s rights advocates have contributed to the making of gender legislation either by direct involvement in committees preparing the law or by indirectly putting pressure on power holders. Many in the country, including the women we have met this week and those attending our 2013 workshops, are very proud of Tunisia’s unique history in giving women many freedoms that have not been available in many other MENA countries. We are honored to be able to play a small role in assisting in this advancement.

 

 

A HUGE thanks to the remarkable Assoc. Professor Rim Cherif who is PI on the Elsevier grant and the host and organizer of our workshops. And an equally huge thanks to Elsevier for funding this project and its commitment to women in science in developing countries.

We had such a great time and have met so many wonderful faculty and students here! We look forward to hearing from you and identifying yourselves in all the selfie pictures we took.

November 9, 2015:  COACh GREETINGS FROM THE EMERALD ISE OF IRELAND

What a pleaIMG_2845 - Version 2sure it has been the past few days to meet faculty and be part of conference on “Transforming Realities: Gender Equality in Higher Education” run by the FESTA team at the University of Limerick. Female Empowerment in Science & Technology in Academia (FESTA) is a cross national, EU, Framework 7 project, exploring women’s under representation at senior levels in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines.

 

It was fantastic to learn more about the impressive activities at the University of Limerick to increase the number and success of women in STEM fields on this beautiful campus. The Equity Challenge Unit has awarded Trinity College Dublin and the University of Limerick bronze institutional awards for their work on promoting OrganizingCmtwomen’s careers in science.

Kudos to UL and all those devoted to this effort which includes Professor Edmond Magner (Dean of the Faculty of Science + Engineering), Professor Pat O’Connor (Principal Investigator FESTA), Dr Clare O’Hagan, Research Fellow, and Dr Ita Richardson (Senior Lecturer and Principal Investigator Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre) and President Don Barry.

Thanks for being such wonderful hosts and keep up all these fantastic efforts! I so enjoyed all the wonderful discussions and interactions with you and your colleagues

November 5,6, 2015:  COACh and the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories – Argonne National Laboratory

During the past year COACh has had the opportunity to work with several of the DOE National Laboratories to conduct survey research and provide COACh career building workshops for scientists and engineers on site. Through these workshops we have learned alot about the opportunities and challenges that women face in their careers as they seek to contribute to the DOE mission in advancing energy research and development in this country. These COACh activities motivated organizing this Summit.

To gain a more comprehensive picture of the opportunities and challenges that women scientist and engineers face at the U.S. DOE National Laboratories we that brought together a group of women from nearly all of the 17 DOE National laboratories to discuss the issue of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) across the DOE complex. 

The output of the Summit is series of recommendations NLDCRecommendationsDOEWomenScientistsEngineers sent to the National Laboratory Directors’ Council (NLDC) and the leadership of DOE to assist them in their efforts to increase the Diversity and Inclusion in the laboratories. It is well known that the percentage of women career scientists and engineers in the DOE laboratories is relatively low, with much lower percentages in leadership positions in these laboratories. Scientists and engineers from underrepresented minority groups lag far farther behind.

Summit Participants

Summit Participants

Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz and his leadership team has recently put diversity and inclusion in the DOE laboratories as a priority as have many of his Laboratory Directors in the NLDC. We applaud this effort and we thank the NLDC leadership for their welcome response to our recommendations which they received this week and are using to develop action plans.

summit of women scientists and engineers workshopsummit of women scientists and engineers workshop

summit of women scientists and engineers workshop

We, along with many other COACh members and supporters, share the vision that these D&I efforts are necessary to ensure that our DOE laboratories are at the forefront of our nation’s innovation, discovery, and science and engineering stewardship. We look forward to aiding this effort in any way possible and will be watching closely for action and progress on this important issue.  

Thanks to Argonne National Laboratory for hosting the Summit and DOE funding to COACh for the Summit – and the multitude of COACh workshops that it has helped support in the U.S. over the past 15 years. Over 15,000 scientists and engineers have benefitted!

~ Summit Co-organizers: Geri Richmond (U Oregon) and Lisa Durham (Argonne)

October 31, 2015:  Happy Halloween from the Richmond Group!

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 October 5-14, 2015:  Greetings from Sultanate of Oman: The Land of Many Wonders and Wonderful People

We have had an amazing time here in Oman the past 10 days working together with The Research Council (TRC) of Oman to assist in building and strengthening their research culture and capacity. It’s been an incredible and exciting experience for us in meeting and working with several hundred fantastic faculty, teachers and students in four different cities in Oman: Muscat, Nizwa, Sohar and Salalah. Part of this project has been to develop and provide in each location a special proposal writing workshop and hands-on training session that we tailored to the TRC grants program. It’s been great and rewarding experience – and such fun! We also provided our COACh workshop on publishing in international journals.

Muscat Workshop Participants

Muscat Workshop Participants

Sohar Workshop Participants

Sohar Workshop Participants

Nizwa Workshop Participants

Nizwa Workshop Participants

Salalah Workshop Participants

Salalah Workshop Participants

We have learned as much from all of you in Oman as you have learned from us. Thanks to all of you for coming to the workshops. Oman is indeed an amazing country – so remarkably different and peaceful than many of its neighboring countries here in the Middle East. And stunningly beautiful. Where people from all over the Middle East live in a peaceful coexistence.

We leave tomorrow with wonderful memories of all of you that we have had the privilege of meeting and working with.

We are also greatly indebted to the TRC leaders and staff who have shepherded us around the country to various workshops and given us such a warm welcome. You rock!

All our best and warm wishes from the COACh traveling team:
Geri Richmond, Laura Greene, Diane Souvaine, Hilary Godwin and Jean Stockard

September 5, 2015: Greetings from Guwahati, India!
We’ve made many new friends during our COACh workshops at Guwahati in the very northeastern part of India in the state of Assam. It’s an amazing part of India with rapid education and population growth. We had a great time conducting workshops with students, faculty and researchers from different partsIMG_2500s of India. We were delighted and honored to have the U.S. Ambassador to India, Richard Rahul Verma, speak at our opening session. We conducted a full set of six workshops in two days with this wonderful group. Enjoy the pictures of our wonderful new friends.
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September 1, 2015:  Greetings from Pune, India
Over the past few days we have had the privilege of conducting a series of 6 COACh workshops with women scientists from India in Pune as part of our COACh International program. I’m here with our COACh team of Pushpa Murthy, Jean Stockard and Laura Greene.
These COACh workshops were sponsored by COACh, the India Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the India-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF).
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What a wonderful experience it has been for all of us. We learned much about each other, shared experiences and laughed alot! Enjoy all of the pictures of the fantastic women we had the pleasure to meet.  Many more pictures are on the COACh Facebook page.
 

 

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