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  • Rob DeMalo

The 2021 EIA National Conference Presents “Women in the Industry”

Creating history welcoming TIME’s “Top Young Innovator” Gitanjali Rao as keynote presenter

The 2021 Environmental Information Association (EIA) National Conference comes to Philadelphia – well not exactly as planned. The traditional conference and exhibition recently announced this year’s event will be virtual but still have the same high level of technical information generation, collection and dissemination as in years’ past.

Presented by the EIA Women's Committee, “Women in the Industry” is a comprehensive look at the roles, position, advocacy and attitudes of women in the environmental health and safety industry. The three-day event being held March 29th to 31st is perfectly timed with the close of Women’s History Month. Yet, history is not always synonymous with the past nor with being old.

Not only will this year’s “Women in the Industry” be the first of its kind, but the EIA is also proud to have its youngest ever keynote presenter, Gitanjali Rao, recognized as America's Top Young Scientist and the recipient of an EPA Presidential award for inventing her device "Tethys"—an early lead detection tool. Honored as Forbes “30 Under 30 in Science” in 2019 and TIME’s “Top Young Innovator” and "Kid of the Year" for her innovations and STEM workshops she conducts globally, Rao is the inventor of “Epione”—a device for early diagnosis of prescription opioid addiction using genetic engineering, and "Kindly"—an anti-cyberbullying service using AI and Natural Language processing.

“While I am extremely excited to be the 2021 EIA Conference Chairperson, I cannot take credit for securing Ms. Rao as our keynote, however having her as part of this year’s event is truly an honor,” says Robert J. DeMalo, Principal with IEC. “At 15, while I was still riding bikes and playing baseball, she has truly changed the world. My hunch is she hasn’t quite finished.”

Although disappointed that the 2021 event will be virtual this year and DeMalo won’t be able to show off his hometown region, he can confirm Philadelphia will host the live conference in 2023.

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