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Forrest earned her PhD in condensed matter physics from the University of Houston in 1998. She was a postdoctoral researcher from 1998 to 2000 in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at UCLA, when her husbands new job took him to NASAs Johnson Space Center. The move and the demands of caring for her two young children has kept Forrest out of the research lab, and she instead has worked as a physics lecturer at the University of Houston for the past five years.