— Panel discussion on engaging women and minorities to pursue science and technology education and careers to include Grant Imahara of Discovery Channel’s MYTHBUSTERS —
— Event also will feature student presentations from the winners of the 2013 Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge —
Silver Spring, Md. – Discovery Communications and STEMconnector® today announced the first-ever STEM Diversity Symposium on Capitol Hill to discuss the accomplishments women and minorities have made in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as the importance of encouraging more women and minorities to pursue STEM studies and careers. The symposium will take place on Wednesday, November 13, from 10 a.m. to noon in the Cannon House Office Building’s Cannon Caucus Room.
Held in conjunction with members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the symposium will feature remarks by leaders in Congress on diversity in STEM, including U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono, and a panel discussion and question and answer session moderated by Debbie Myers, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Science Channel.
The panelists are: NASA astrobiologist and geologist Dr. Jennifer Eigenbrode; electrical engineer and Discovery Channel’s MYTHBUSTERS personality Grant Imahara; astrophysicist Hakeem Oluseyi of Science Channel’s OUTRAGEOUS ACTS OF SCIENCE; Cindy Moss, Director of STEM Initiatives for Discovery Education; and E. Anne Sandel, Executive Director, Surface Warfare for the Naval Sea Systems Command at the U.S. Department of Defense.
“As children we all have an amazing sense of wonder about the world that is largely rooted in science. But somewhere along the way many of us lose that spark of interest in math and science because we’re told it’s not for us,” said Debbie Myers, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Science Channel. “Discovery Communications and Science Channel are committed to diversity in STEM because it’s a driving force in keeping that spark alight.’”
“Diversity is the essence of this nation, as within five years 51% of those who are under 18 years old will be minority youth,” said Edie Fraser, CEO of STEMconnector®. “STEMconnector® is proud to partner with Discovery Communications in this congressional session with all attendees and participants committed to using and seeing diversity as the advantage that it is.”
“The importance of STEM education cannot be underestimated as many of the things that we take for granted every day, such as smartphones or even the Internet, sprang from some kind of STEM background,” said Grant Imahara, electrical engineer and Discovery Channel’s MYTHBUSTERS personality. “I am so greatly honored to be able to contribute to this panel because I feel that it is our duty to give today’s kids the push they need in the right direction and inspire them to pursue careers in STEM. America needs the next generation of great thinkers and inventors, but without a strong STEM initiative, that won’t happen, and this panel is a positive step towards securing our future.”
“There is no doubt that the future of the global economy will be increasingly based in the STEM fields. While our nation is proud of our entrepreneurs and scientists, other countries are catching up. That’s why it is imperative we invest in STEM education and training opportunities to ensure our students are ready for the jobs of the future. Mahalo to Discovery Communications and STEMconnector for promoting the representation of women and minorities in critical STEM fields,” said U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono.
“As co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, one of our priorities this year is focusing on the recruitment and retention of girls and women in STEM careers. If we’re going to out-innovate and out-educate the rest of the world, we’ve got to open doors for everyone,” said U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler. “Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. We need to continue to encourage women, minorities, and others who are underrepresented in STEM job fields to pursue courses where they can gain the necessary skills for the careers of tomorrow. I appreciate the work Discovery Communications and STEMconnector® are doing to encourage young people to engage in STEM.”
“We need to see more of our classrooms filled with students engaged and excited in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. I applaud Discovery Communications and STEMconnector for highlighting the accomplishments women and minorities have made in STEM, and for sharing the belief that preparing our students in these fields is critical to competing in a 21st century global economy. I look forward to working with them and all our stakeholders as we continue to expand access to STEM education in all our communities,” said U.S. Representative Donna Edwards, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues.
“STEM fields can open doors for women and minority students,” said U.S. Representative Judy Chu, Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). “With a STEM degree from almost any college, minorities and women can revitalize our economy and produce the competitive new job opportunities our country so desperately needs. That is why you can always count on me to support STEM programs.”
“The political, demographic and cultural landscape of America is changing. As Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training and Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, I believe that America’s vision for the future must be bolder and more inclusive than ever. The participation of women and minorities in STEM is critically important, especially as our nation strives to advance technological and scientific innovations to bolster America’s global competitiveness and improve the quality of life of all Americans,” said Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
“I wish to commend Discovery Communications for their leadership in hosting today’s STEM diversity event. Bridging the achievement gap is not an economic issue, nor is it a minority issue or a gender issue,” said U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “This is a national competitiveness issue we all must work to address for our country’s benefit. Many reports over the past decade have found that it is critical to our nation’s economic leadership and global competitiveness that we educate and train more scientists and engineers. In the meantime, research shows that women and underrepresented minorities, who by 2050 will comprise more than 50 percent of our population, are disproportionately lost at every transition point in their STEM studies and research careers. As a nation, we cannot afford to continue hemorrhaging so much talent.”
In addition to the panel, the event will feature a presentation from student winners of the 2013 Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge. The team from Rockdale Magnet for Science and Technology in Conyers, Georgia, developed a safer and more economical alternative to using Cadmium, a carcinogenic substance.
“Discovery Education believes STEM can be a catalyst for millions of students nationwide, igniting a passion for learning that opens new pathways to colleges and careers and solves some of the tremendous challenges facing our world,” said Bill Goodwyn, CEO, Discovery Education. “With partners like the Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education seeks to engage all students with the dynamic digital content, online learning resources, and world-class science competitions that will fuel an interest in STEM and prepare the next generation of scientific thinkers and leaders to contribute to our increasingly global society. Discovery Education is pleased to support this event and seeks to create meaningful partnerships with critical stakeholders such as the Siemens Foundation dedicated to bringing STEM education to all students.”
“To prevent the United States from falling behind other countries in STEM fields, it is imperative that we work to encourage and inspire a future generation of passionate STEM professionals,” said Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, President of the Siemens Foundation. “Partnering with like-minded organizations such as Discovery Education, the Siemens Foundation is proud to utilize challenges and competitions like the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge as a way to ignite students’ natural curiosity in STEM subjects.”
Since 2008, the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge has tasked K-12 students, under the guidance of an advisor, with identifying an environmental issue in their classroom, school or community and creating a replicable green solution for the chance to earn more than $300,000 in scholarships, savings bonds, school grants, and more. The Challenge is sponsored by the Siemens Foundation and is administered by Discovery Education. For more information, please visit http://www.wecanchange.com/.
The overall event is part of Discovery Communications’ ongoing effort to promote interest in science and technology, including “Connect the Dots,” a national STEM education initiative designed to inspire the next generation of innovators, problem solvers and game changers. More information on “Connect the Dots” can be found at www.discoveryeducation.com/stem.
STEMconnector® is “The one-stop for STEM Information.” With an innovative product-line, STEMconnector® works closely with corporations and other organizations to provide them with a set of tools and resources that support their corporate development, corporate structure and smart STEM investments. For more information, please visit www.stemconnector.org
About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world’s #1 nonfiction media company reaching more than 2 billion cumulative subscribers in over 220 countries and territories. Discovery is dedicated to satisfying curiosity through more than 190 worldwide television networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science and Investigation Discovery, as well as U.S. joint venture networks OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, The Hub and 3net, the first 24-hour 3D network. Across the Nordic region, Discovery owns and operates SBS Discovery Media, a top-three portfolio of television brands that feature leading nonfiction content, as well as locally produced entertainment programs, sports and the best scripted series and movies from major studios. Discovery also owns Discovery Education, the leading provider of educational content and services to schools including an award-winning series of K-12 digital textbooks, and owns and operates a diversified portfolio of digital media services, including Revision3. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.