COLUMBUS, OH– On August 14, U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) held a Community Conversation at St. Stephen’s Community House to discuss developments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. More than 100 constituents attended the event, receiving an update about the positive impact of STEM in Central Ohio and talking with Beatty about related-issues and legislation, as well as other challenges facing Ohio’s Third Congressional District and the nation.
The first segment of the Community Conversation featured a panel discussion of leading educators and practitioners working at the forefront of STEM education. Panelists included Congresswoman Beatty; Maxwell Slater, St. Stephen’s Community House Farm and Operations Manager; Toni Cunningham, Per Scholas Columbus Managing Director; Dr. Lisa Hinkelman, Ruling Our Experiences (ROX) Executive Director; and Mary Jane Pettigrew, Hamilton STEM Academy Vice-Principal.
A lifelong champion of STEM education, Beatty spoke to the standing room only crowd of parents, stakeholders, advocates, and elected officials about its life-changing effects and her ongoing work to guarantee every student is well-versed in STEM.
“We need a highly trained workforce—hardworking individuals from all walks of life—ready for the jobs of tomorrow,” Beatty said at the Community Conversation. “This is essential to ensuring U.S. competitiveness and leadership in a rapidly changing global economy.” Beatty continued, “Unfortunately, our country is facing a massive shortage of workers skilled in these areas. To help fill the void, St. Stephen’s Community House, many other local nonprofits, and stakeholders are working overtime to equip more Central Ohioans with the much-needed tools, expertise, and education to succeed in the 21st Century, and I am working in Congress to make it a reality.”
Beatty introduced the 21st Century STEM for Girls and Underrepresented Minorities Act,H.R. 3119, to expose more students to the STEM fields. If enacted into law, H.R. 3119would provide funding for local school districts to create the necessary infrastructure for enhanced STEM learning early in a student’s academic career. Federal funding would be used to improve professional development for teachers, strengthen outreach to parents, provide mentoring and tutoring programs, expand access to afterschool and summer programs that provide additional enrichment opportunities in STEM, and promote academic advice and assistance in high school course selection that encourages girls and minority-Americans to take advanced STEM classes and become STEM professionals.