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Michele Lezama Appointed Executive Director of The National GEM Consortium

(PRWEB) October 12, 2005 -- Ronald E. Goldsberry, PhD, President of The National GEM Consortium (GEM), independent contractor for Deloitte Consulting and former Global Vice President and General Manager of Ford Motor Company, announced that Michele Lezama will begin her tenure as the organization’s next Executive Director on October 17, 2005. Lezama is an experienced executive and nationally known advocate for historically underrepresented ethnic groups to attain post-secondary education
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 and advanced careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

 “  American governmental spending on research and development in the physical sciences and engineering has slipped from 0.  
The transition to Lezama’s leadership coincides with a new strategic direction for the organization as it prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary June 28-31, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois. She is charged with growing revenue, improving organizational effectiveness, and increasing the number of GEM Fellows selected annually for awards from the organization’s graduate fellowship programs. Specific and significant outreach to the Hispanic American and American Indian communities to increase applicants from these populations, as well as supporting strategic recruitment of African Americans applicants, is also important for Lezama to operationalize in response to the nation’s changing demographics and need for native born technical talent.

“I am honored to serve as the next Executive Director of GEM. As a past GEM Fellow, and an active participant in increasing diverse representation in the STEM fields, I am passionate about working with a dynamic team of industry and academic leaders to provide the nation with tomorrow’s leaders in engineering and science. I look forward to working with our partners to achieve the new strategic direction of the Consortium,” Lezama said. Part of that strategic direction includes a major role in the national debate on STEM education
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 and advising policy makers, industry, and educators on how the U.S. can retain global leadership in technological innovation.

Lezama quoted, “Fewer Americans are earning doctoral degrees in science and engineering and the statistics bear that out: 25,509 doctorates awarded in 2001 versus 27,243 in 1996. American governmental spending on research and development in the physical sciences and engineering has slipped from 0.25 percent of the GDP in 1970 to 0.16 percent in 2003. Meanwhile, China is steaming in the opposite direction. China nearly doubled its output of science and engineering PhDs during the same period. And in the six years between 1997 and 2002, national and local governmental spending on research in China doubled, to approximately $9.9 billion. These trends must be reversed to ensure the United States continues to be a supplier of technical innovation.

“GEM must partner with relevant organizations to ensure that every student with math and science aptitude receives the encouragement and financial resources to pursue advanced degrees in engineering and science fields. As Hurricane Katrina made clear to the world, we must work together to ensure that all American children have the opportunity to pursue an education
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 and contribute to the international workforce. It is our mutual responsibility to ensure that GEM, and others, identify and educate talent from America’s untapped communities, to solve this global crisis,” she concluded.

Lezama comes to GEM after serving five years as Executive Director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), where she is credited for significantly increasing the organization’s operational efficiency, programmatic efforts, and financial reserves. Prior to NSBE, she was Director of Satellite Scrambling Operations at Home Box Office (HBO), a Time Warner Company, and four years at Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), a Viacom Company, as the Associate Director of Broadcast Operations and System Integration. Prior to her media technology career, Lezama was a systems engineer and financial planner at IBM. She earned her BS in Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University and both her MS in Industrial Engineering, as a GEM Fellow, and MBA in Finance and Accounting from Columbia University. She is married to Ricardo Lezama and the couple has two daughters.

“Michele’s track record truly speaks for itself, and executive management is extremely pleased she has chosen to join us in creating a new GEM. We have brought on board someone with a passion for our mission, proven relationship management and leadership skills, innovative thinking, and a degree of fearlessness. The United States needs GEM and the capacities our programs grow by educating African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and American Indians in science and engineering. GEM is poised to step onto higher education’s national stage. Michele is the person who can lead us there,” said Goldsberry.

The National GEM Consortium is directly addressing the critical short fall in the production of American engineering and scientific talent, termed “the quiet crisis”, by providing graduate fellowships in engineering and science to highly qualified individuals from communities where human capital is virtually untapped. With over 2700 alumni from ethnic groups historically underrepresented in technical disciplines and a membership base of more than 140 employer, university, and U. S. government laboratory partners GEM is uniquely positioned to address our country's need for innovative technical talent. Founded in 1976 the nonprofit corporation is headquartered at the University of Notre Dame, in Notre Dame, Indiana.


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