July 12, 2011
Nearly 2,800 Undergraduate and Graduate Students Sign Petition Asking Congress to Sustain Investments in STEM Research and Education
Nearly 2,800 students pursuing a Ph.D., Master's, or bachelor's degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) have signed a letter to federal lawmakers encouraging sustained investments in the nation's scientific research, education, and training programs.
"Throughout the 20th century, sustained investments in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics helped build our nation's economy and improved quality of life for people around the world," states the letter. "If the United States is to remain a global leader, both economically and scientifically, we must sustain and reinvest in STEM research and development."
"As future scientists and educators, federal funding is important to us all," said Rachel Meyer, one of the co-authors of the letter. "While addressing the nation's budget challenges is essential, now is not the time to sacrifice investments in science." Meyer is a doctoral candidate at the City University of New York, and Student Representative on the Board of Directors for the Botanical Society of America.
The petition was sent to Representatives who serve on the Appropriations Committee. The committee is currently working on legislation to fund federal science agencies and research programs for fiscal year 2012. On 13 July, the committee is scheduled to consider legislation to fund the National Science Foundation (NSF). NSF is a major supporter of basic research at America's universities and colleges. In many fields, such as biology, computer science, mathematics, and the social sciences, NSF is the primary source of federal funding.
"Science is a proven driver of economic growth in the United States," said American Institute of Biological Sciences President Dr. James P. Collins. "Federal support for research and science education is vital for job creation and economic recovery, and for continued advancements in human health, national security, agriculture, energy, and environmental stewardship. The views expressed in this letter are a real credit to the foresight of these thousands of students."
The letter was signed by residents of all 50 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, and Guam. The students are pursuing degrees across a wide range of scientific disciplines, including biology, geology, chemistry, physics, linguistics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering.
The letter is the result of a joint effort between student members of the Botanical Society of America and the American Institute of Biological Sciences.
A copy of the letter is available online at www.aibs.org/public-policy/sciencestudentsletter.html.