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Subcommittee Examines How to Increase Students’ Interest in Math & Science, Prepare for 21st Century Economy

Mar 29, 2007
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Responding to the need to keep U.S. citizens competitive in a 21st Century economy, the Science & Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Research and Science Education led the final hearing to examine priorities for the National Science Foundation (NSF). Chairman Brian Baird (D-WA) and members of the Subcommittee today heard from key stakeholders in the scientific and technical communities regarding core activities and policy initiatives for NSF.

“If this country is going to be able to compete in a 21st century global economy, we must reinvigorate our efforts to increase opportunities for young people to study, and pursue careers in, math and science,” said Chairman Baird. “In order to support these efforts to develop a diverse and well-prepared workforce, we must invest in programs and policies that are of the highest quality.”

Witnesses at today’s hearing included Dr. Phyllis Wise, Provost, University of Washington, Seattle; Dr. Catherine T. Hunt, President, American Chemical Society; Dr. Margaret Ford, President, Houston Community College System – Northeast; Dr. Carlos Meriles, Assistant Professor of Physics, City College of New York; and, Dr. Jeffrey Welser, Director of the Semiconductor Industry’s Nanoelectronics Research Initiative.

“Universities have a duty to educate and prepare the students who come to their doors in a way that makes them responsible scientists and engineers,” said Dr. Wise, Provost, University of Washington, Seattle. “Those who are not destined for these careers also need to be scientifically literate. But our joint duty doesn't start or end with the students at our doors. Our nation needs to claim every resource, every talented student without regard to family income or social status or cultural background. Every kid needs a fair chance to become excited by the prospect of science or engineering or mathematics as a career.”

“Finding ways to reward creative thinking characteristic of young researchers is critical to ensure that NSF continues to produce the many unanticipated applications of fundamental research,” said Ranking Member Vernon Ehlers (R-MI).

The National Science Foundation is unique among the federal government’s scientific research agencies in that it supports science and engineering across all disciplines. Each year, NSF supports an average of about 200,000 scientists, engineers, educators and students at universities, laboratories and field sites all over the United States and throughout the world.

Read more about the hearing.

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110.050

110th Congress