A WVU graduate who currently serves as a policy analyst for President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology will return to Morgantown to share her experience with participants in a summer undergraduate research program.

Gera Jochum will speak at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 23 in Room 112 of Clark Hall as a featured speaker at an event hosted by WVNano Summer Undergraduate Research Program, WVU Honors SURE, and the WVU Department of Biology Research Experience for Undergraduates. Jochum’s talk is free and open to the public.

PCAST is a body appointed by the president comprising the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and up to 45 members from outside the Federal government who have diverse expertise in science, technology and the impact of science and technology on the nation. PCAST provides advice on matters of science and technology policy, especially expert independent advice on maintaining America’s preeminence in advanced information technologies, including high performance computing, cyber security and information assurance, and large scale networking. PCAST helps guide the administration’s efforts to accelerate the development and adoption of information technologies vital for American prosperity in the 21st century.

Jochum’s talk will help participating students learn more about how to apply scientific research to everyday life.

Jochum received her Master’s Degree in 2005 from the Eberly College of Arts & Science; Department of Biology. Richard Thomas, current chair of the department, was her advisor.

“Gera worked with the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) shortly after graduating and then she work with NSF (National Science Foundation),” he recalled. “She ended up going back to the USDA doing research and is now part of the Administration’s PCAST. She works in the White House.”

The event was organized based on the concept that it is just as important to inform students how they can apply knowledge to real world experience as it is to show them how to do research.
Coordinators of the summer series include WVU’s: Michelle Richards-Babb, James Lewis, Mike Shi, Keith Garbutt and Richard Thomas. Scientific research is not confined to just a laboratory. Science can take a student to the realms of academia, industry and as Jochum demonstrates, even to the White House.


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