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

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


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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