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Science and engineering are ways for student to make an impact, senator says

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

TECHNOLOGY TRAINING

Engines of recovery

Prism, January edition

As the only engineer in the Senate, Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) emphasizes the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education: "Young people today, kids in middle school and high school, want to make a difference. The problem is, they don't view engineering and science as the way to make a difference." So says Kaufman in "One in a Hundred," a profile in the most recent issue of Prism, the magazine of the American Society for Engineering Education. Kaufman, a longtime aide to Sen. Joe Biden, was appointed to Biden's Senate seat when Biden moved up to the vice presidency. In October, Kaufman helped insert into a bill $400,000 for grants for women and minorities in STEM fields. Engineers must be at the heart of any green-jobs expansion; clean-energy technologies such as geothermal, solar and wind power can't exist without them, he says. The 70-year-old Kaufman, described as "cerebral, lean and craggy" in the article, reminisces about when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 in 1957: "All of a sudden, the best students in all the schools wanted to be engineers."

-- Rachel Saslow


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