Co-Founder of USA Science Science & Engineering Festival
Seemingly as fast as the speed of technology, another new year is upon us, leaving us to ponder and predict what the next 12 months will bring. You only have to view a recent issue of Popular Science which lists the top 100 innovations that occurred in 2013 to realize that 2014 will undoubtedly continue to belong to those with the courage, talent, vision and tenacity to innovate – especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
So, to all you young students with the desire to be the next Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, J. Craig Venter, Shirley Ann Jackson, Sylvia Earle or Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa — let me propose a New Year’s resolution for you: Dream Big! And have the confidence and perseverance to follow those dreams, despite obstacles and setbacks.
As the late Charles Vest, Ph.D., who as president of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and past president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) knew a thing or two about innovation, said, “We need the brightest minds to solve some of the toughest challenges around the globe — challenges involving energy, water, biotechnology, climate and sustainability, and improving healthcare delivery and national security.”
To attract the caliber and diversity of individuals to tackle these problems, we also need to find new and creative ways to introduce students to the wonders and promise of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), which is why the USA Science & Engineering Festival was founded.
The Festival, and its finale Expo — the nation’s largest celebration of science and engineering aimed at inspiring the next generation of innovators –is once more gearing up to assemble an unforgettable line-up of renowned and diverse innovators to demonstrate an important fact to young students: STEM is not only cool and fun, but vital to improving the quality of life for everyone in countless ways.
Join us April 26-27, 2014 at the Washington, DC Convention Center as the Festival, with Lockheed Martin serving as founding and presenting host, brings some of America’s foremost achievers in STEM –including those in space exploration, biotechnology, nanotechnology, entrepreneurial startups, robotics, green technology, Hollywood special effects, and oceanography – up close and personal for young learners.
Adding to the excitement is the Festival’s all-day X-STEM – Extreme STEM Symposium set for Thursday, April 24 at the DC Convention Center where students, K-12 educators, parents and the general public will gather for an all-day experience of workshops, live demonstrations and other hands-on interaction with leading visionaries in STEM, including:
John Holdren, Ph.D., senior advisor to President Obama on science and technology; Barrington Irving, youngest person (and first African American) to fly solo around the world, and who is now developing the first flying K-12 classroom; Melissa Rhoads, high-powered data analytics strategist at Lockheed Martin who is unlocking new ways to harness big data; Angela Belcher, Ph.D., famed MIT bioengineering visionary; J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., the scientist who led the first sequencing of the human genome; Cynthia Warner, innovator of “green crude” alternative fuel; and molecular biologist Robert Tjian, president of the powerful Howard Hughes Biomedical Institute.
Yes, the future does belong to the Innovator. Now that’s a maxim that the next generation of STEM visionaries can hitch their star to for 2014.