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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Batelle Scientist To Address Science Workforce Issues

There aren't enough women and minorities in the science and engineering workforce, and a Battelle employee is doing something about it.

Dr. Robert Casillas has been elected to serve as a member of The National Academy of Sciences Committee on Capitalizing on the Diversity of the Science and Engineering Workforce in Industry. His term runs from April of 2008 through October 30, 2009.

The committee, operating under the oversight of the National Academies Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy, will analyze and synthesize all of the most recent data on the subject of diversity in the science and engineering workforce and develop practices to recruit, retain and advance women and underrepresented minorities as they increase their presence in
industry. It will identify and evaluate best practices, draw findings and conclusions and develop recommendations for the corporations that rely on the skills of scientists and engineers and provide guidance to Congress, funding agencies, corporations and industrial leaders.

Women are entering the science and engineering workforce at a rate higher than minorities. Hispanics are the largest portion of the U.S. population after whites, then African-Americans and Asian/Pacific Islanders. These groups will make up more than 50 percent of the nation's workforce by 2050. But only a fraction of these minority populations are represented in the science, technical, engineering and mathematics professional occupations.

Not only is the appointment an honor for Casillas, he says it's appropriate because of his Hispanic heritage. "It's important to me to foster opportunities for others," he says. He serves on Battelle's Multicultural Employee Resource Group and is a member of the Society of
Toxicology and its Dermal Toxicology and Hispanic Toxicologists Specialty Sections.

Casillas, the vice president and manager of Battelle's Biomedical Science and Technology product line, is responsible for a multimillion dollar annual business volume and supervises more than 240 personnel at research locations in Ohio and Maryland. Dr. Casillas' research
specialization is in medical countermeasures against chemical and biological threat agents.

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