The White House is renewing their effort to publicize National Lab Day, the May 12 kickoff of a nationwide ongoing effort to connect scientists and engineers with local schools for hands-on learning experiences. National Lab Day’s latest spokesperson—First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama.
At the 20th Annual National Science Bowl, the First Lady emphasized the Administration’s oft stated commitment to science education:
“My husband and his administration want to ensure that every single child in this country gets a good education, particularly in math and science.
“Next week’s National Lab Day is a great example of what this might look like -- this kind of investment. The President has highlighted his grassroots effort, which brings together scientists like Secretary [of Energy Steven] Chu, organizations representing teachers, scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and local volunteers to work with young people in fun hands-on learning.
“These students are going to be with us, they’re going to launch rockets, construct miniature windmills, and learn by doing and not just by listening.
“We want to bring more hands-on learning like this to students by also modernizing science labs and supporting project-based learning, and expanding advanced courses in schools throughout the country.
“We want to create more opportunities for under-represented groups as well, particularly women and girls. We want them to have the confidence; we want all our young women to have the confidence and the support to take on the study and to succeed in the study of science, math, engineering and technology.
“And we want to build communities of support for all the teachers who make these subjects come alive for our students.”
The White House also featured National Lab Day on the front page of the www.whitehouse.gov website for several days, linking to an Office of Science and Technology Policy blog post about a New York area National Lab Day event.
The President called on the nation’s scientists to participate in National Lab Day in February as reported in FYI #3.
Organizations like the American Institute of Physics, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Physical Society have urged their members to meet the President’s challenge.
Earlier this week, the House passed House Resolution 1213 “Recognizing the need to improve the participation and performance of America's students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, supporting the ideals of National Lab Day, and for other purposes” by a vote of 378 to 2. Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA) and Ron Paul (R-TX) provided the nay votes.
Scientists, engineers, professors, and university students interested in participating in National Lab Day can connect with local schools and teachers by registering at www.nationallabday.org.