White House Unveils $240 Million in New STEM Commitments
President Obama unveiled more than $240 million in new STEM commitments this week at the fifth annual White House Science Fair.
The new private sector commitments are designed "to inspire and prepare more girls and boys — especially those from underrepresented groups — to excel in the STEM fields," according to a White House news release. "With the commitments being made today, the President's "Educate to Innovate" campaign has resulted in over $1 billion in financial and in-kind support for STEM programs."
A new philanthropic effort, led by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Simons Foundation, will launch a Faculty Scholars Program with approximately $150 million over five years. With a focus on diversity, the program will support early career scientists with resources, interactions and mentoring in an effort to empower recipients "to ask new questions, pursue new and exciting research directions and do the types of high-risk, high-reward research that can lead to scientific breakthroughs," according to information released by the White House.
A $90 million effort, dubbed "Let Everyone Dream," will focus on inspiring more individuals from underrepresented groups to succeed in STEM subjects. Components of the initiative will include a media campaign focused on youths and families, expanding STEM opportunities for underrepresented demographics and strengthening ties with higher education. Partners in the Let Everyone Dream campaign include Televisa, Epix, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, 3M, Motorola, City University of New York and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among others.
Other initiatives include:
- A $25 million competition from the Department of Education seeking new media with science and literacy themes to encourage student exploration;
- A commitment from colleges and universities to train 20,000 engineers to take on 21st century challenges; and
- A CEO coalition aiming to expand effective STEM programs to 150 million more students in 2015.
More information about the White House Science Fair is available at whitehouse.gov/science-fair.
Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.