STEM on the Hill

 

On April 26th, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the STEM on the Hill Event as a Youth Cyberjournalist. The event was only 4 days after the April 22nd March for Science/ Earth Day, where science enthusiasts across the world united to act as advocate for the future of science and technology and push for the implementation of policy to promote scientific education and research. Having participated in the Washington, DC event as a speaker, I met countless individuals from diverse backgrounds and fields of science united together to champion a cause they believe in. I witnessed the birth of a revolution.

Outside the Russell Senate Office Building, where the event took place (left), and posing in front of the posters of the event outlining the organizations presenting (right).

From the perspective of a high school student, STEM on the Hill was an opportunity to witness the development of a similar partnership between scientific organizations and representatives in the Senate. As a Cyberjournalist, I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Peter Eckstein, 2015-2016 President of IEEE USA, about his experiences attending the STEM on the Hill event over the years. He talked to me about the culture he tries to foster: that of a family, where diversity is celebrated and inclusion is ccommonplace.

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Youth CyberJournalists with and Senator Peters.

The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the presentation of the George E. Brown Science Awards for Science, Technology, and Engineering Leadership. The award, presented each year to a Senator for advocating for the advancement of STEM research efforts to benefit humanity, was presented this year to Senator Gardner and Senator Peters for their joint effort in passing the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act of 2016. Although Senator Gardner was unable to attend, Senator Peters’ speech emphasized the fact that science is a bipartisan issue, and that it is everyone’s responsibility to promote scientific advocacy in the interest of future generations.

Following the awards I talked to leaders from companies and organizations such as Intel, American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Kelvin Droegemeir, the former Vice-Chairman of the National Science Board, and the presenter of the George Brown Awards. He echoed the same message of advocacy as Senator Peters with the unique perspective as a scientist involved with policy.

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Picture with Dr. Droegemeir following the award presentation.

Overall, the event gave me immense hope for the future. Meeting individuals in prominent positions of organizations and government committees who are committed to diversity and the future of science has made me realize that science and research is worth very little without being able to speak out in support of it. I now know that whatever scientific field I study in college, I hope to pursue a minor in policy and continue to be involved with scientific advocacy.

 

Picture with fellow CyberJournalist and TJ Student Meron (left), and with the podium with the Senate Seal (right).

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