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Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger

Representing the 2nd District of Maryland

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New competition will inspire students to pursue STEM

Feb 26, 2013

Today, the House is expected to pass bipartisan legislation creating a new academic competition for students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. It offers a creative solution to promote interest among young people in fields where we could soon see significant workforce shortages.

As Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am deeply concerned that our country is quickly falling behind others in STEM fields. The U.S. only graduates 25,000 scientists and engineers each year, compared to more than 1 million in China.  Here in Maryland, we only graduate 4,000 STEM students a year, despite the fact that our state generates more than 6,000 STEM jobs annually.  
This isn’t just an economic threat, but a security threat.  For example, we need to produce STEM professionals who can serve as cyber warriors against hackers who are increasingly targeting American businesses and even our power grids, military computer networks and banking system.
The competition created under H.R. 77 will be held annually in each Congressional district. Students will submit entries to their Representatives, who will determine winners. You can learn more about it here. I look forward to supporting this bill and continuing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on other outside-the-box ways to encourage students to pursue STEM careers.