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Friday, July 10, 2009

Why a middle school science fair in Boyle Heights is important to national security

The Science Fair at Hollenbeck Middle School last March attracted 218 entries and found students trying to impress judges with projects bearing titles like "The Velocity of Filling Spheres" to "How Does Asthma Affect Lung Capacity?" This typical looking science fair, is now part of a pilot program in Boyle Heights that is funded by the Department of Defense. Why is the Pentagon financing this pilot-program at Hollenbeck Middle school and several other Boyle Heights campuses schools?

The purpose of the program, called Stem-Up, is to attract more young people living in low income and minority neighborhoods into science, technology, engineering and math (or STEM). Organizers and supporters of the program told EGP News that getting more Latinos from Boyle Heights and elsewhere to join the ranks of scientists, engineers and mathematicians is vital to national as well as economic security. Said Councilman Jose Huizar"

“If you look at the places where most of our young people are being educated, it is in places like Boyle Heights—large urban public systems that this country depends on for the future of its workforce. It’s not only a moral issue, it is an economic issue, it’s a national security issue,” he said.

Read more about the program, which is organized by a Los Angeles nonprofit dedicated to attracting more Latinos into the science and technology fields, at the EGP News.

Photo from the StemUp.org

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