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AWIS in Action! February 2013 - SoSTEM
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AWIS In Action!

 Advocacy & Public Policy Newsletter   ~   February 2013
In This Issue
White House Celebrates Science and Technology
The White House has lavished much attention this February on science and technology. At the beginning of the month, President Obama recognized two dozen winners of the 2011 National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, handing out medals to each after providing opening remarks about the importance of the research enterprise in this country.  That is not a typographical error, they are rather behind on giving out these awards. Nominations may be submitted by anyone, and they are trying to encourage the nomination of more women, minorities, and scientists with disabilities. The National Medal of Science was established in 1959 and is the most prestigious award given for achievements in advancing health, security, prosperity, and general welfare in the United States.
In his annual State of the Union address, President Obama spoke about the incredible return American taxpayers have gotten on their investment in federal research, from the human genome project and Alzheimer’s research to increased battery strength and life and fuel efficient cars. He also spoke about the importance of recognizing the impact climate change based on scientific observation and developing alternative energy sources to reduce pollution and create new jobs.
The following day the White House hosted an event entitled the State of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to bring students from local schools in to ask questions of prominent and accomplished speakers. They included John Holdren, Ph.D., director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Todd Park, the White House Chief Technology Officer; Jack Andraka who at 15 developed a cheaper, more effective test for Pancreatic Cancer, Bobak Ferdowsi, best known to America as the "Mohawk Guy” who was a part of the team which put the Curiosity rover on Mars this past summer; Lori Garver, NASA deputy administrator; and Peter Hudson, M.D., Co-Founder and CEO of iTriage, a mobile app. Although they represented a diverse range of scientific disciplines, rather tellingly, the majority of questions from the kids in the audience were about space and robots. While much else feels depressing in Washington at the moment, the appreciation and enthusiasm for science as well as the thoughtful questions posed by those in the audience give some hope regarding the future of the scientific enterprise in this country.
In This Issue
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