PALMDALE – Students from The Palmdale Aerospace Academy took to Capitol Hill recently to advocate for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educational programs.
Members of Team 5012 “Gryffingear” traveled to Washington D.C., as participants in the FIRST (For Inspiration Recognition of Science and Technology) National Advocacy Conference June 14-16. The event brought together robotics teams from all across the nation and mentored students on how to develop a game plan to encourage policymakers to include the expansion of STEM education in upcoming legislation. By the end of the conference, students were able to comprehend the legislative process and visit major monuments, museums, the Library of Congress, House office building and more.
Part of the conference involved providing students with the opportunity to build relationships with their representatives in the Senate and House of Representatives. Students were able to meet with Congressman Steve Knight and representatives from Senator’s Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein’s offices.
Brian Martin, the Robotics Advisor for Team 5012 applauded the students’ work. “They were eloquent and deliberate in their meetings, which were all well received and appreciated by the representatives. They represented The Palmdale Aerospace Academy very well,” Martin stated.
Additionally, students campaigned for the re-authorization of several bills, including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the Franken Amendment, which would provide funding for education programs for underrepresented public schools.
“It is tremendous to have our students going the extra mile fighting for STEM education in our nation’s capital; it says a lot of our students that they take it personally to ensure that STEM stays a priority in education,” stated The Palmdale Aerospace Academy Headmaster Dr. Laura Herman. “Advocating for underserved communities hits us right at home since a lot of our students live in those areas.”