WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, released the following statement applauding the National Science Foundation (NSF) for awarding a grant totaling $882,699 to the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) to foster an interest in STEM education among a diverse group of middle school students and motivate them to pursue STEM careers.

“As a former computer programmer, I have firsthand knowledge of the many opportunities and career paths that are available to Nevadans through STEM education,” said Senator Rosen. “I’m proud that UNLV has received this grant funding that will help foster an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math for Nevada’s middle school students. UNLV’s Vegas STEM Lab will be able to introduce students to engineering used in the entertainment and hospitality industry. The project aims to reach a diverse group of students and expose them to the career opportunities here in their hometown. These are the kind of opportunities that set young people up for success in the 21st century.”

BACKGROUND: This Innovations in Development project, entitled Cultivating Tomorrow’s Engineers through the Entertainment & Hospitality Landscape, aims to foster the development of STEM identity among a diverse group of middle school students and, in turn, motivate them to pursue in STEM interests and careers. Vegas STEM Lab, led by a team of investigators from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, will employ a mix of online and on-site activities to introduce students to engineering methods in the context of the entertainment and hospitality (E&H) industry that is the lifeblood of Las Vegas. The Lab will help youth overcome prevailing beliefs of STEM as boring and difficult, boost their confidence as STEM-capable individuals, and expose them to the exciting STEM careers available in their hometown. UNLV engineering undergrads will serve as near-peer mentors to the middle school students, guiding them through Lab activities and acting as role models.

Last Congress, Rosen’s bipartisan Building Blocks of STEM Act was signed into law. This legislation created and expanded upon STEM education initiatives at the National Science Foundation (NSF) for young children, including new research grants to increase the participation of girls in computer science.

Last Congress, Senator Rosen also co-sponsored the 21st Century STEM for Girls and Underrepresented Minorities Act, a bill which would fund STEM education to encourage female students, students of color, LGBTQ students, and students with disabilities to pursue careers in STEM fields.

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