On Tuesday June 19th, the folks on Capitol Hill were visited by students from two of ASTC’s member institutions: The New Jersey Academy for Aquatic Sciences (NJAAS) in Camden, and the Franklin Institute (FI) in Philadelphia. To increase awareness about the tremendous things happening in science centers around the country, students Chris Hernandez and Priscilla Quintana from the CAUSE program at the NJAAS, and Maya Patton and Chase Roberts from the PACTS program at the FI, participated in a series of meetings with: Dahlia Sokolov of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah (D-PA); U.S. Representative Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ); Theo Merkel from the office of U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA); Peter Nalli from the office of Senator Robert P. Casey (D-PA); and Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ).
Despite the humidity and heat of the typical Washington summer day, the students remained cool and calm as they shared their positive experiences with the policy advisors and delegations from their respective home states. At the NJAAS and the FI, Chris, Priscilla, Maya, and Chase facilitate and lead workshops and summer camps on a variety of topics, including architecture, robotics, and general science for middle-school students. This opportunity to share their passion and teach other students about science is not taken lightly by these bright individuals, which is why they decided to travel down to Washington, D.C. to spread the word about the great practices at their institutions and programs. And there certainly are tremendous things happening in the CAUSE and PACTS programs: both can boast a 100% high school graduation rate of its program participants from areas like Camden and Philadelphia, where STEM education and career development often receive marginal attention.
Following the mission of ASTC’s Youth Inspired Challenge program, to expand the impact of science centers and museums around the world, these students played a pivotal role in channeling the importance and significance of their everyday activities to some of the most influential people in this country. The trip was such a success that ASTC is looking forward to sharing this experience with other Youth Inspired Challenge participants, and hopefully making this trip to the Hill a routine adventure. If your institution is a YIC member and has students who would be interested in coming to Washington, D.C. to share the lessons they have learned, please contact Laura Huerta Migus at firstname.lastname@example.org. If your institution has students who would enjoy this adventure but has not joined the YIC yet (why not??), please contact ASTC and we will set you up immediately.
P.S Check out our video to see what the kids had to say after their unforgettable day!
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