SHAHEEN CALLS FOR INCREASED SCIENCE AND MATH EDUCATION

Visits local robotics competition team and sees demonstration

February 11, 2011

(Claremont, N.H.) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) spoke today about the importance of science and math education in keeping the American economy competitive, and discussed her legislation that would make extracurricular STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities more broadly available in American schools. Her remarks came during a visit to the local Claremont FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics competition team.

"Students who participate in the FIRST robotics competition are a wonderful example of young people tackling challenges through a combination of science and creativity," Shaheen said. "This is how we stay competitive in today's global economy and position our economy to grow for years to come. Programs like these are an investment in the future of our young people-and our nation."

Students demonstrated their robot project to Shaheen, and Shaheen spoke with local school and business leaders. FIRST works to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills through an annual robotics competition.  It was founded in 1989 by New Hampshire entrepreneur Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway.

"I am so delighted that Senator Shaheen has demonstrated her very real support of FIRST Robotics. Having this new team meet Senator Shaheen adds to the excitement of their participation," said Jacqueline Guillette, Superintendent of Schools for SAU 6 (Claremont, Cornish, and Unity).

"FIRST events such as the Robotics program celebrate our mission and inspire young people to become future technology and engineering leaders.  We are proud and excited to play a part in this invaluable educational experience for our local students," said Kim Vacca, Red River Executive Projects Manager. The Red River Technology Foundation is one of the sponsors of the Claremont FIRST team.

Team mentor and Red River Lead Software Engineer Kevin Stone adds, "While working with the students, it quickly became apparent that the team members were eager and motivated to learn all of the necessary skills to design, build, and program a robot that could hold its own at the upcoming FIRST competition." 

Senator Shaheen introduced the Innovation Inspiration School Grant Program in the last Congress to give high school students across the country access to non-traditional STEM programs, including robotics.  The legislation also provides students an opportunity to be mentored by professionals in those fields.  She plans to reintroduce the legislation this year.

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