Tagged: STEM Education

Committee passes unfinished science bills from 114th Congress and approves cabinet nominees(Credit: NMFS/Southwest Fisheries Science Center)

Senate Commerce Committee Hits The Ground Running

It took only 25 minutes for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to advance 16 bills this week, including several of relevance to the ocean science community. Many of the measures were considered during the 114th Congress, and most had bipartisan support.

Both the House and Senate have passed the the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (S. 3084). The bill will soon be sent to the President's desk for President Obama to sign into law. (Credit: Pete Souza/The White House)

Conferenced American Innovation and Competitiveness Act Lands On The President’s Desk

While students around the country were recalling organic chemistry processes and physics formulas during their end-of-semester exams last Friday, Congress was also at work. Following in the Senate’s footsteps, the House passed the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (S. 3084), a reauthorization of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology Education and Science Act of 2007, or America COMPETES, which was last reauthorized in 2010. The 2016 bill outlines policies for the National Science Foundation (NSF); the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); and other federal science and innovation programs, including science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs.

The STEM Education Coalition discussed the current climate of STEM education for K-12 students. (Credit: opensource.com/Flickr)

Strengthening STEM Education Is Crucial for American Prosperity

Instead of sitting quietly at a desk with a pencil and notebook, schoolchildren are now encouraged to explore virtual ecosystems through an online game, build their own website, or propose and conduct an experiment. Technology and innovation are helping education become more interactive, engaging, creative, and hands-on in the 21st century, and improving literacy in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has become increasing important to prepare the next generation of America’s workforce.

An Argo float is deployed in the Southern Ocean. (Credit: Hannes Grobe/AWI)

Experts Agree: Tackle Obstructions to Ocean Observing

A teacher in Boise checks his weather app and packs an umbrella while a Miami businesswoman decides to work from home because the local news announces her usual route to work is flooded. What do these two have in common? The information they rely on for their daily activities depends on observational data from the ocean. Some ocean observations provide real-time results, but others must be continuously collected for years before significant patterns and changes can be detected and analyzed. Due to the vital importance of observing systems to the benefit of our nation’s economy, national security, and scientific enterprise, the National Academy of Science’s Ocean Studies Board ad hoc observations committee held a two-day workshop to hear expert opinions on ocean observation systems as they draft a report prioritizing imperative ocean variables for climate research.

For universities, research funding from the federal government has declined for four years in a row. (Credit: iStock)

Are Regulations On Researchers Helping Or Hurting?

If you were to ask a graduate student what she expects to spend 42 percent of her time on as a science professor, her response might be research, teaching, or grant writing. It probably wouldn’t be administrative activities, such as documenting personnel expenses, formatting grant proposals, and drafting biographical sketches. This burden, which is a necessity to receive federal funding, was the subject of a recent House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology hearing.

National Science Board sets priorities for the National Science Foundation (Credit: NSF)

National Science Board Touts Merits of Merit Review And Looks To The Future

A former patent clerk named Albert Einstein sketched notes on the theory of relativity in 1905. More than a century later, the long-standing theory was validated when the Laser Interferometer Gravitation-Wave Observatory detected gravitational waves originating from the collision of two black holes. This research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which makes possible scientific discovery from space observations to human genetics to volcanic influence on sea level.

The Defense Department has been planning for climate change for more than a decade. (Credit: U.S. Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tiffini M. Jones)

Navy Sees Future Gaps In Subs

At a hearing in front of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, the discussion centered not only the need to build more submarines but on the technological advances that will be required.