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Larson to join landmark gathering of STEM leaders

News from SKC STEM Program

PABLO – Mary Larson, Director of the Salish Kootenai College STEM Academy, was recently invited to attend the first-of-its-kind State-Federal Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education Summit hosted by The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on June 25-26, in Washington, D.C. 

Larson replied, “I feel honored to represent the state of Montana, Salish Kootenai College and the National Institute of Health SEPA grant at this important STEM Education Leadership Summit in Washington D.C.”

According to the OSTP, the State-Federal STEM Education Summit will convene a diverse group of State STEM leaders, including officials from governors’ offices, K-20 educators, workforce and industry representatives, State policy experts, and non-government organization executives. These attendees will participate in the development of a new Federal 5-Year STEM Education Strategic Plan in compliance with America COMPETES Act of 2010.

“This event is the first time an administration has asked for this level of state input when developing a federal STEM education strategy,” said Jeff Weld, senior policy advisor and assistant director for STEM education at OSTP. “Top-down approaches to STEM education can often yield wonderful ideas, but it’s at the State and community level where the momentum happens. State leaders know best what kinds of programs will work in their communities, and where they need the power of the federal government to help drive success in this field. STEM education is critical to preparing our students for the jobs of the future. We must do everything we can to ensure that federal, state, local, and tribal governments, communities, educators, and private industry partners are united for the long-term success of our nation.”

Alongside OSTP in planning and carrying out this summit are the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Smithsonian Institution. STEM leaders from all 50 states, as well as U.S. territories and tribes, will attend the summit to illuminate and advance state-federal STEM alignment.

In 1976, Congress established OSTP to provide the President and others within the Executive Office of the President with advice on the scientific, engineering, and technological aspects of the economy, national security, homeland security, health, foreign relations, the environment, and the technological recovery and use of resources, among other topics. OSTP also leads interagency science and technology policy coordination efforts, assists the Office of Management and Budget with an annual review and analysis of federal research and development in budgets, and serves as a source of scientific and technological analysis and judgment for the President with respect to major policies, plans, and programs of the federal government.

The National Institutes of Health awarded Salish Kootenai College a Science Education Partnership Award grant that aims to increase the number of American Indian high school students prepared for college in academic majors within the STEM fields. The SKC STEM Academy provides college classes in biology, chemistry, statistics, and scientific research, affording junior and senior high school students credits in both high school and college to jump start their college careers.

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