Henry Samueli, me, Ira Flatow and
Brian Kelly. Photo credit: U.S. News & World Report
On April 5, I had the privilege to be
inducted into the U.S. News STEM Leadership Hall of Fame, along with Ira
Flatow, host and executive producer of Science Friday; Henry Samueli, co-founder
and chief technical officer of Broadcom; and James E. West, professor of
electrical and computer engineering at Johns Hopkins University. As part of the
annual U.S. News STEM Solutions Presents Workforce of Tomorrow conference, U.S.
News & World Report honors leaders in education, industry and other sectors
that are advancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
of all ages must have opportunities to access STEM learning and be inspired. The National Science Foundation (NSF) aims to prepare children to take on the technology jobs of tomorrow with
innovative, evidence-based approaches that teach students, from elementary school
to the graduate level, computer programming, computational thinking, critical
thinking, problem-solving and other skills.
NSF’s Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers
(ITEST) has supported numerous innovative projects to give K-12 students the
knowledge and skills to pursue STEM careers. These projects involve
partnerships with industry, hands-on experiences and careful research. One
project, for example, focuses on emerging agricultural technologies like
transparent soil (a hydrogel that behaves like soil), a near-peer and
college-focused mentoring model, and interactions with scientists. Children
learn to build and code Raspberry Pis (small, affordable computers that
students can use to learn programming) to share their data with agronomists and
is exciting to see that our continued investments in STEM education will be
what keeps us a global leader in innovation in the years to come.