Dr. Heithaus goes to Washington

D.C. Weekly Update: As Congress passed a continuing resolution funding the government until Dec. 11, FIU’s research was center stage at an agricultural hearing on Capitol Hill and touted with the introduction of a bill to fund University Transportation Center programs.



FIU dean testifies before House Committee on agricultural research

FIU’s College of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael Heithaus testified before the House Committee on Agriculture in a hearing titled “Research Innovations from Our Nation’s Agricultural Colleges and Universities” Sept. 29. The Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research hosted the hearing and was interested in Heithaus’ take on building greater capacity at Hispanic-serving institutions through the Hispanic-Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACUs) programs.

“Hispanics represent 50 percent of all farm laborers and supervisors, but only 3 percent of those doctoral recipients in the biological, agricultural, environmental and life sciences are Hispanic. We are leaving a lot of talent untapped,” Heithaus said.

Before the hearing, the dean briefed members of the Florida Delegation on FIU’s leadership on agricultural research in South Miami-Dade. These topics include:

For a video excerpt of his testimony, click here

To view tweets about the hearing, click here

Curbelo introduces bill in support of University Transportation Center programs

In light of transportation challenges and aging infrastructure, South Florida Congressman Carlos Curbelo, along with Congressman Dan Lipinski of Illinois, introduced a five-year funding authorization of the University Transportation Center (UTC) program amounting to $72 million dollars. This proposed funding of the UTC program provides consistency to the universities that contribute a great deal to the technological development of transportation projects across the country.

FIU’s UTC program, mentioned by Curbelo as a model of success, is focused on Accelerated Bridge Construction and is being led by Atorod Azizinamini, who will be recognized by the White House later this month.

FIU professor begins service on Presidential Advisory Council

FIU’s Dr. Aileen Marty began her service on a Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria last week.  Marty is one of 15 nationally renowned experts to serve on the council.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a growing health issue in the United States that has seen no signs of slowing down. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic-resistant infections are associated with 23,000 deaths and 2 million illnesses in the United States each year. Marty’s experience as an infectious disease physician will be critical in fighting this epidemic.

Marty also joined FIU’s Federal Relations team for the screening of “The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper” at the White House.

Members of Congress, CEOs and others gather for trade symposium

The Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) held their annual Trade and International Affairs Symposium Sept. 30. FIU’s College of Law Dean Alex Acosta served as a speaker on one of the panels at the event.

Also this week, FIU met with the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) to discuss potential avenues for partnerships in order to empower Hispanic leaders to excel within their respective fields.

Panthers spotted in D.C.

Also in Washington this week:

  • Breny Garcia, Assistant Vice President of Institutional Relations
  • Kenneth Jessell, Chief Finance Officer
  • Elizabeth Bejar, Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Evan Northup, Major Gifts Officer for FIU Libraries
  • Gabriel Rodriguez, Alumnus, President, A Customs Brokerage

For more on FIU’s role in D.C. or to see what the office is involved with this fall, stay connected with FIU in D.C. on Facebook and Twitter:

Twitter: @FIUdc

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Website: FIU Federal Relations

Email: Federal@fiu.edu