Inspiring Future Scientists Will Have to Wait
It seems like Congress cannot agree on anything these days, even something as non-partisan as creating a national science laureate. The Science Laureates of the United States Act of 2013 (H.R. 1891) would create a national position similar to the poet laureate model. This laureate would raise the public profile of the scientific community by bridging the gap between scientists and the general public, as well as share scientific developments to inspire and educate the public. This bill was scheduled for consideration last week, but was pushed aside.
AAUW endorsed this legislation because it aligns with our mission of supporting programs that can help break through barriers for women and girls in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. According to the AAUW research report Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, women are severely underrepresented in STEM fields, and barriers to women’s participation in STEM start showing up in K–12 education with the negative messages girls receive in school about their abilities in science and math. The laureate would be a national role model who could educate and help inspire our next generation, including young girls, to pursue careers in STEM fields.
The United States has relied on STEM innovation for all kinds of scientific developments, from improving quality of life through medicine to streamlining businesses to developing military technology. But to further advance, we need a national science laureate to help inspire our nation and encourage girls and boys to consider a STEM career pathway. Urge your representative to support a science laureate by calling the Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121.
This post was written by AAUW Public Policy Intern Ashlyn Holeyfield.