Verizon Business to Participate in '2009 Global Marathon For, By and About Women in Engineering'

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - For the third consecutive year, Verizon Business is participating in the National Engineers Week Foundation's Global Marathon For, By and About Women in Engineering, a 24-hour virtual event that strives to educate and inform women worldwide about opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

This year's event, themed "Connecting Women to Engineer a Better Future; Because Dreams Need Doing," will begin at noon Eastern time on March 11 and end at noon Eastern time on March 12. Sponsored by Agilent Technologies, the Motorola Foundation and the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, the event, now in its fifth year, is a combination of live Internet chats and teleconferences, accessible to anyone around the globe. 

Judy Spitz, Verizon Business senior vice president and chief information officer, will close the Global Marathon with a 45-minute session airing at 11 a.m. Eastern time on March 12.  Verizon Business also is supporting the Global Marathon through infrastructure support for conference bridges and net meetings.

"According to a National Science Foundation study, men outnumber women 3 to 1 in all sectors of science and engineering careers in the U.S.," said Spitz. "First and foremost, the Global Marathon provides a forum to share information about opportunities in science and engineering for women; but just as important, the event raises the awareness of this critical issue."

The Global Marathon brings together speakers from a variety of technology backgrounds, who discuss in 30- or 60-minute increments a range of topics related to women in technology and engineering. The complete schedule of speakers and how to access their presentations will be posted at www.eweek.org.

The event will begin in North America, then "follow the sun" for 24 hours through five other regions - Mexico/Latin America, the United Kingdom/Europe, India, China and Africa/Middle East - before returning to North America for the closing.

The closing session, to be presented by Verizon Business, will feature prerecorded highlights of a day-long event to be held at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J., on March 9. Approximately 200 middle-school girls from the Girls Inc. of New York City program at the Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women will attend the event, which is intended to raise the girls' awareness about science and technology. 

Also on March 9, the girls will attend a special showing of highlights from "INNOVATE: Engineering Change," a documentary that will air on public television beginning April 1. This special is a production of Creative Expansions Inc., presented by KCTS-Seattle Public Television and distributed by American Public Television.

The documentary takes viewers behind the scenes of the work of a diverse group of scientists and engineers who have developed turbines designed to generate electricity from moving water. The documentary profiles the group's pilot project in New York City's East River. All of the team members will attend the Verizon Business event on March 9 to describe their experiences with the turbine project and answer the questions of the middle-school girls, who will also attend. 

Following the video and discussion, Spitz will invite the girls to write an essay on a famous female scientist and her contribution to society. A webcast, posted to Verizon Foundation's Thinkfinity Web site, will highlight the winners and their essays. 

"As a global company, Verizon needs engineers from all regions of the world, and we recognize the U.S. is not the only country suffering from a lack of women interested in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," said Spitz. "The Global Marathon provides a unifying event available around the world that works toward recognizing, recruiting and retaining women in technical careers."

In addition to the Global Marathon's 24 hours of virtual programming, the National Engineers Week Foundation is sponsoring a global text-messaging contest. Participants can take the perspective of an engineer or scientist and describe "The Dream You'd Do" in 40 words or less, then post their entries on the Global Marathon Web site. Those taking part worldwide in the Global Marathon can vote for their favorites. The winning entries (one per region) will be announced March 16, and each winner will receive a mobile phone.

The Verizon Business IT Diversity Councils, located in multiple countries, will promote the Global Marathon in their local areas. The purpose of the Diversity Councils is to educate and promote a corporate culture of diversity and inclusion.

[NOTE: Verizon Business invites the media to attend the Verizon Business event at the Liberty Science Center, 222 Jersey City Blvd., Jersey City, N.J., from 10 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., Monday, March 9.  Parts of the event will be videotaped for the closing of the 2009 Global Marathon For, By and About Women in Engineering, March 11-12. If you're interested in attending and speaking with event coordinators, contact Lynn Staggs, c-lynn.staggs@verizonbusiness.com or 918-590-2403.]

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