NEWTOWN, Conn. — A bill authored by U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5th District) to promote careers for young women and girls in the aerospace industry has passed the House in a nearly unanimous vote.
The Women in Aerospace Education Act aims to enhance K-12 education initiatives in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The bill passed the House this week by a vote of 409-17.
“This bill rolls out a ‘welcome mat’ to women in aerospace,” said Kelley T. Johnson, founder and president of Doors to Explore Inc. in Newtown. "It’s important that young women have early access to research opportunities early in their career. ... Cultural stereotypes and gender bias often discourage women from considering all the career options available to them. This bill raises the visibility of aerospace as a viable option through research experience.”
Doors to Explore provides an online resource to help high school and college students learn more about STEM, health, and business careers.
“It’s a fact that girls who have women science teachers are more likely to consider a career in science. And teachers who are exposed to real-life science are better able to kindle interest in science among their students," Esty said. "My bill will help to ensure that more STEM teachers will enter classrooms with firsthand knowledge of how aerospace technologies are strengthening America’s future.
“I’m committed to helping young women across the country who would thrive from mentorship from female STEM teachers.”
Under existing law, Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship grants are used by universities to cover the cost of STEM-degree students who go on to teach in rural or lower-income school districts.
Esty’s bill would encourage universities applying for Noyce grants to incorporate aerospace engineering working and learning experiences at the National Laboratories and NASA Centers into their teacher training experience. These teachers, once certified, will then enter classrooms with first-hand knowledge of the impact aerospace projects have on our lives and share that inspiration with their students.
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