Elite Scholars

Faisal and Hamza Rahimi, co-founders of Triple Helix.
February 21, 2011

GW students are showcasing their academic prowess in a GW chapter of Triple Helix.

In 2009, President Barack Obama launched an “Educate to Innovate” campaign to help propel American students to the top of the science and math fields—and it inspired two GW students to do the same on campus.

Last spring, sophomore Hamza Rahimi and his brother Faisal established a GW chapter of Triple Helix, an international journal that showcases undergraduate voices on pressing science issues.

“It was the idea that the U.S. needs leadership and innovation in the field of science that inspired Faisal and me to start Triple Helix at GW,” says Mr. Rahimi. “A Triple Helix chapter here in the nation’s capital would aid in supporting President Obama’s initiative.”

Mr. Rahimi says the chapter, currently at nine members, recruits students from all disciplines who are interested in researching and writing articles that “analyze critical and leading issues in science from their perspective.”

“We are also interested in creating future leaders in science, business and law who are able to contribute to society,” says Mr. Rahimi, adding that five articles from GW students have been published in Triple Helix’s online journal.

Last weekend, with the support of GW’s Office of the President and Vice President of Research Leo Chalupa, GW hosted national and international Triple Helix leaders from more than 20 chapters, including members from Harvard University, Yale University and the National University of Singapore, at the Triple Helix Annual Conference and Leadership summit.

The organization’s largest annual gathering in conjunction with the American Association for the Advancement of Science Conference, the conference and leadership summit served as an opportunity for members to showcase their research successes, brainstorm improvements and discuss initiatives, as well as network with professionals and academics.

“The conference held at GW had the highest attendance in Triple Helix history with 75 students,” says Mr. Rahimi.

“This conference provided an outstanding opportunity for our students to present their research at a national conference and to network with their peers from other leading universities,” says Dr. Chalupa. “Our participation is important because it underscores the fact that our undergraduates are doing interesting research with their professors in many different fields.”

Four chapter members-- Parth Chauhan, Rohit Patil, Lauren Piccioli and Mr. Rahimi--also presented their research last weekend at the AAAS conference.

A sophomore majoring in political science, Mr. Rahimi also serves as co-founder of the Afghan Student Association and the GW Research Organization. But although he’s a busy student, he says it was important to create a Triple Helix chapter on campus.

“Because of GW’s pivotal location, we feel this organization provides a unique forum that analyzes issues in science from political, social, economic and other interdisciplinary fields,” says Mr. Rahimi. “It instills academic interest in a broad range of topics, inspires scientific curiosity and discovery, and encourages undergraduates to explore interdisciplinary careers that span across traditional boundaries.”

“I’m really enjoying my time here at GW and am taking advantage of all the wonderful internship opportunities, such as clinical research in the Department of Emergency Medicine under Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Jeremy Brown,” he adds.

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