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NSF Congressional Highlight

NSF-Funded Educators Harness Engineering to Inspire Students

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and NSF's Joan Ferrini-Mundy speak at Hill event

June 21, 2013

Rep. Eddie Bernice JohnsonOn June 12, 2013, leaders in engineering education briefed congressional staff on innovative research-based tools for education funded by NSF's Directorate for Education and Human Resources.

U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas gave opening remarks and stressed the importance of having skilled teachers in the classrooms to our educate students. Joan Ferrini-Mundi, assistant director of NSF's Directorate for Education and Human Resources, highlighted research-tested methods of successful school practices to combine pedagogy and content in the classroom.

Other speakers included Mo Hosni, vice president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Education; Christine Cunningham, vice president of Boston's Museum of Science; and Leigh Abts, research professor at the University of Maryland. The speakers collectively stressed the importance of engineering in education before a standing-room-only crowd in the Rayburn House Office Building. They also each shared descriptions of their NSF-supported work that makes engineering more accessible and understandable, particularly important to underserved populations.

Cunningham highlighted "Engineering Is Elementary," a project she founded and now directs. The program incorporates engineering concepts into elementary curricula and teacher professional development. Abts brought attention to Advanced Placement Engineering and the need for all of us to take part in the design processes all around us. These projects all underscored the recently released, state-led, next-generation science standards ("NGSS") regarding engineering concepts and the design process as an integral part of inspiring and improving student performance.

Discussion and questions were moderated by Stephen C. George, editor in chief of Discover Magazine. The Hill briefing was co-sponsored by Discover Magazine and ASME.