The White House comes to campus

This week, President Obama’s top science adviser was on campus, FIU research was on center stage –both in Miami and Washington, D.C. , and an FIU professor participated in the White House BRAIN initiative workshop.

Holdren main pic

Malek Adjouadi explains his research to President Obama’s  top science adviser, John Holdren.

FIU visit helps inform federal science policy leader 

Dr. Holdren interacts with FIU students throughout tour of labs

Holdren interacts with FIU students while touring labs

On Wednesday, Oct. 1, John Holdren, assistant to the President of the United States for Science and Technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, visited Modesto A. Maidique Campus. He met with cutting-edge researchers and students in STEM education, Extreme Disaster Events and BRAIN/Neurotechnologies.

The tour included stops at:

  • STEM Transformation Institute, with Laird Kramer, director of the STEM-TI, and several learning assistants.  This classroom is quickly becoming a national model because of how effective it has been in retaining students in STEM fields and contributing to positive student attitudes toward introduction to physics classes.
  • International Hurricane Research Center, where along with National Hurricane Center director Rick Knabb, FIU researchers Rich Olson and Keqi Zhang explained how the university’s storm surge modeling technology is helping NOAA upgrade their own forecasting capacity
  • At the Adaptive Neural Systems laboratory, Ranu Jung showcased FIU’s neuroprosthetic advancements, which aims to restore sense to amputees. Jung’s work is funded by the Defense department and NIH.
  • Malek Adjouadi presented on multimodal approaches to treating neurological disorders such as epilepsy with tools funded by the Recovery Act in partnership with Miami Children’s Hospital.
  • Holdren ended his tour by experiencing the force of a category 5 hurricane at the country’s largest and most powerful university storm research facility – FIU’s Wall of Wind.

While on campus, Holdren and FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg hosted the White House Regional College Opportunity STEM Education Workshop along with Eric Brewe of FIU’s College of Education. Distinguished scientists, university leaders and corporate executives from across the country attended the workshop.

“I’m enormously impressed by what’s going on at FIU to expand access to STEM fields,” Holdren said. “This place is in the lead, putting into practice science and technology advancements, and taking these advancements and STEM education to scale.”

Researcher participates in White House BRAIN summit

Dr. Angie Laird in front of White House

Angie Laird in front of White House

In D.C., Angie Laird, a cognitive neuroscientist and medical physicist in the Department of Physics at the College of Arts & Sciences, was invited to the White House’s BRAIN Summit held Sept. 30; she promoted many new commitments FIU has made toward cognitive neuroscience research.

“Recent developments in the field of neuroscience were discussed,” Laird said, “but most importantly, the new opportunities institutions should be taking advantage of, particularly in the domain of neurotechnology.”

Environmental and Agricultural research advocacy

United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Rep Joe Garcia, Dean Michael Heithaus.

United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Rep Joe Garcia and Dean Michael Heithaus.

Interim Dean Michael Heithaus, College of Arts & Sciences, and researchers met US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and had a chance to highlight our engagements in South Dade and advancements detecting diseases in crops.   Dean Heithaus also met with staff from the White House Council on Environmental Quality at the Miami Beach Climate Summit to review FIU’s long history of research on the Everglades, and new partnership with the City of Miami Beach on Sea Level Rise.


FIU receives award for promoting internships

President Rosenberg, along with John Stack and Shlomi Dinar of the School of International and Public Affairs, received an award on behalf of the State of Florida from The Washington Center, recognizing FIU and USF as strong internship partners in 2014. Alumna and State Senator Anitere Flores ’97 was also honored as a special partner and contributor and internship grantor in the state level. They were joined by several successful interns and alumni. Earlier that day, Rosenberg was a panelist at Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute’s Annual Trade Symposium, on the subject on STEM education and its important role as a driver in global competitiveness.

President Rosenberg, Christian Gonzalez (FIU alumnus), State Senator Anitere Flores, Pamela Pamela (current Federal Relations intern) and Miami-Dade Republican Party Chairman Nelson Diaz.

President Rosenberg, Christian Gonzalez (FIU alumnus), State Senator Anitere Flores, Pamela Pamela (current Federal Relations intern) and Miami-Dade Republican Party Chairman Nelson Diaz.

Hispanic Heritage focuses on educational success

At the congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s annual Policy Conference, Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta connected with FIU staff and emphasized how much she loves FIU! Elizabeth Bejar, VP of Academic Affairs, was invited to present on FIU’s Hispanic education success and our increase in six year graduation rates (LINK to GSI)at the launching of Excelencia’s Hispanic-SERVING Institutions Center for Policy and Practice.

Panthers spotted in D.C.:

– Dean Mike Hampton and Jessica Siskind of the Chaplin School of Hospitality Management, visited alumni throughout D.C. including Ashley Abed at Linda Roth and Associates

– Katerina Bryant at the Association of American Medical Colleges

– VP of Research Andres Gil, VP of Governmental Relations Steve Sauls, and researchers including Selcuk Uluagac, Associate Dean of Medicine Carolyn Runowicz, and Himanshu Upadhay, attended the State University System Researchers Summit.

– David Skipp and Pedro Botta were in town for The Washington Center event.

– Alumnus Hector Mujica, Google Hispanic markets, visited The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute

In total, 17 Panthers visited D.C. this week.

For more information on FIU’s role in D.C. or too see what the Office of Governmental Relations is involved with this fall, stay connected on Facebook and Twitter (@FIUdc).


Telephone: 202.624.1404

Comments are closed.