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FCW : August 30, 2014
People 16 August 30, 2014 FCW.COM Department as a senior policy adviser to the assistant attorney general in 2009. After serving in several roles at Justice, she came to the White House as a policy specialist in the Of ce of the Vice President in 2012, then moved to OSTP in 2013 as a senior adviser to the CTO. Much of her job involves com- municating with the criminal jus- tice and legal communities about how they can better use technol- ogy. Overmann said leaders often don t understand how technology can be integrated into the poli- cymaking process, so she helps spread that message. "Communicating with the criminal justice community [and] the intelligence community, and communicating with all the agen- cies and people we work with in order to really generate impact- ful social policy --- technology is a core part of that," Overmann said. "And that has not been part of the conversation for long, [so] it s something they re not familiar with." And that s where Overmann said Park has been particu- larly effective in deploying his team --- by sending them out to eliminate the fear of technology. Graubard s background, on the other hand, is rooted in technology. Furthermore, as a rst-generation American, the only woman in the rst IT class she took in college and then the only woman at OSTP, she is used to being a trailblazer. Considering the challenges and problems that OSTP deals with on a daily basis, building a team with a diverse set of skills was a no-brainer. Whether it s dealing with climate change, open-Internet policy, the human brain or cyber- security, OSTP staffers must be equipped to deal with a variety of situations and stakeholders. Graubard was part of the OSTP team that recently explored how technology can help victims of sexual assault on college campuses. "I [attended] American University, my background is IT and international business," Graubard said. "I never thought at some point in my career that I would be talking to victims of rape and sexual assault about what technology could do to help them." 'Women love hard problems' In recent years, the push to get more women to pursue careers in technology elds has gained momentum. Advo- cates like Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, support groups like Tech LadyMa a and Women in Technology, and nation- al policy efforts aimed at achieving gender equality in those elds are starting to bear fruit. However, Danielle Car- nival, a senior OSTP policy adviser and neuroscientist, said women should be moti- vated by more than pay and job security. There s also the fun factor of working in sci- ence and technology elds. "I spent ve years learning as much as I could about how the brain works," Carnival said. "That s a cool job. I want more girls to be able to grow up and say I want to do that. " Meyer, another senior adviser to Park, is an active advo- cate in the women s technology community. About three years ago, she and friend Aminatou Sow co-founded Tech LadyMa a, a listserv supporting women who work in tech- nology-related elds. Based on her experience inside and outside the White House, she said women are embracing technology. "Women really want to work in tech," Meyer said. "They love it. They love it because they love hard problems that are being solved for the American people." So why, then, do the numbers often tell a different story? According to the National Science Foundation, women earned 18.4 percent of engineering degrees and 43.1 percent of mathematics and statistics degrees in 2010. However, that progress seems to be slipping with regard to computer sci- ence: Women received 29.6 percent of bachelor s degrees in computer science in 1991, compared to 18.2 percent in 2010. The women of OSTP are serious about seeing those numbers change. "People are making a lot of money in this industry, and if women don t get on that train, they are going to miss out," Graubard said. "There s going to be a major wealth gap generated, and that is something I think about a lot as a Hispanic, rst-generation American woman." "It would be really easy to just sit back, but we can t take for granted that the numbers will take care of it." Nicole Wong
September 15, 2014
August 15, 2014