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(Londonderry, NH) – Making sure our students are proficient in science and technology is critical to maintaining our competitive edge in the global economy, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) said today during a visit to Londonderry High School.  Shaheen came to the school to meet with its FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics team, the PVC Pirates.  While there, she discussed her Innovation Inspiration School Grant Program, which would provide long-term economic benefits by giving high school students greater access to non-traditional science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs like FIRST.

“From the cotton gin to the iPod, scientific and technological innovation have been the backbone of American economic prosperity throughout our nation’s history,” Shaheen said.  “This bill will help ensure that spirit of ingenuity continues to flourish, and prepare today’s students to perform the jobs of tomorrow.”

“We are thrilled that Senator Shaheen is taking the time to visit Londonderry High School and acknowledge the exciting work and ingenuity of our FIRST robotics team,” said Londonderry High Principal Jason Parent.  “The PVC Pirates, 2012 Granite State Regional Chairman’s Award recipients, are bound for St. Louis to compete in the international competition, and we are honored to have the Senator recognize their accomplishments and share her remarks on STEM legislation.” 

The Innovation Inspiration School Grant Program will allow high schools to compete for federal grants to support non-traditional STEM education.  It encourages schools to establish partnerships with the private sector, both for material support and to provide mentors who can serve as role models, further enriching students’ learning experiences.

U.S. Senators Mark Begich (D-AK), Chris Coons (D-DE), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), John Kerry (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Harry Reid (D-NV) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) have joined Shaheen as co-sponsors of the legislation.  The bill has been endorsed by diverse groups such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, FIRST Robotics, the New Hampshire Association of School Administrators and the New Hampshire Association of School Principals, as well as companies such as  Autodesk, BAE Systems, DEKA Research, Insight Technology, PTC and SAIC.  STEM education program leaders Dean Kamen (FIRST founder) and Dr. Ralph Coppola (Real World Design Challenge director) have endorsed the legislation as well.