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Photo of Cora Marrett

Dr. Subra Suresh
National Science Foundation

Welcome to NSF and to NSF Day,
Remarks and Congratulations
PAEMST Awardees
at the Hilton Hotel
Arlington, VA

December 15, 2010

Photo by Sandy Schaeffer

Thank you, Joan [Ferrini-Mundy].

On behalf of the National Science Foundation, it is a great pleasure to welcome you this morning to the nation's annual celebration of our premiere pre-college math and science teachers.

You have heard NSF characterized as being "Where discoveries begin." And your teaching excellence has been described as being what produces "tomorrow's discoverers," from childhood through high school. So, you clearly are "at the beginning of the beginning," so to speak.

During the last half century, U.S. scientists and mathematicians laid the groundwork for the explosion of technological advances that describe our everyday, taken-for-granted lifestyles. Try imagining a world without the Internet, cell-phones, magnetic resonance imaging technology, optic fiber to the home, web browsers, search engines, Doppler radar, barcodes, and myriad other ubiquitous and essential outcomes of fundamental research. Oh, yes, some of us can remember life before these innovations, but somehow, we can no longer imagine living without them.

For 60 years, U.S. federal funding of basic research has supported the science and engineering know-how that spawned knowledge from which the multiplicity of solutions, connections, and complications of modern life have come.

The important role that science played in World-War II, the Cold War that followed, and the launch of Sputnik established the need for a permanent U.S. science agency.

NSF's original $151,000-budget of 1951 is dwarfed by today's nearly $7-billion budget. NSF now funds a sizable portion of the nation's fundamental research.

In an increasingly science- and technology-based world, the necessity for more can only grow.

Today's need has expanded to address the growing economic competition in the world's marketplace. By funding and nurturing discovery, we build a continuous path for innovation in the private sector.

We face many global innovation competitors today. That condition will only intensify as the century plays out. We must remain flexible, agile, and adaptively competitive.

And that process begins with you, the honorees. We are here to recognize your achievements and to learn from you.

In doing so, we also express our appreciation for the thousands of your colleagues who share your commitment to excellence in teaching the children of the nation.

  • Your classrooms cradle the future of our nation.

  • Your vision fuels the aspirations of the coming generation.

  • Your passion guides our children on their journey of inquiry and exploration.

The award that each of you receives is the highest recognition that can be bestowed on a teacher of pre-college mathematics or science. You are among the select group of some 4,000 teachers who have been so honored.

It is my pleasure, now, to introduce the next speaker, Dr. José-Marie Griffiths, who is here representing the National Science Board, the oversight body that governs NSF.

Dr. Griffiths was appointed to the National Science Board in 2006 and chairs the Committee on Science and Engineering Indicators, a major NSF publication that documents every imaginable aspect of research -- its funding, workforce, and education, as well as the science knowledge and attitudes of Americans, and associated global economic factors.

Dr. Giffiths completed her undergraduate degree in physics with honors from the University College London in London, England in 1973. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in information science there in 1977. She is presently Vice President for Academic Affairs at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Dr. Griffiths has held two previous presidential appointments, one to the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee, appointed by President George Bush; and the other to the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, appointed by President William Clinton.

Her accomplishments have been recognized by several prestigious appointments and awards, including being elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Please welcome Dr. Griffiths.