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County students to attend STEM Expo in April

The Dahlgren Heritage Foundation, with support from the NSWC Federal Credit Union, is planning to send two busloads of King George County students to the biggest science festival in the country for high school and middle school students.

The Foundation, which is collaborating with the U.S. Navy to establish the Dahlgren Heritage Museum in the former Gateway Welcome Center on U.S. 301, is sponsoring the trip to the 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington on April 28 and 29.  The Festival is sponsored by companies and government agencies that recruit science and technology professionals. Students will have opportunities to learn about careers in science, math and technology, talk with representatives from colleges that focus

on those subjects, and meet professionals in the field, as well as science celebrities.  

Ruby Brabo, Dahlgren District supervisor, and Dr. Robert Gates, former technical director at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head, Md., are working with King George High School and King George Middle School to line up the trip. Both Brabo and Gates are members of the Dahlgren Heritage Foundation board of directors. So far, 56 of the 80 seats are filled. Students interested in this opportunity should talk to their teachers or school principals as soon as possible, since the deadline for signing up is fast approaching.

In sponsoring the trip, said Gates, the Foundation is not only building on the legacy of the Navy base at Dahlgren, but also taking note of the fact that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) will be primary drivers of the future economy and associated job creation. The National Research Council has observed that, increasingly, jobs at all levels require knowledge of STEM.  

Unfortunately, research suggests that many students are not prepared for the demands of today’s economy and the economy of the future.  The data also show that America is falling behind when it comes to engineering and mathematical training in its high schools and its universities.  The United States graduates, on a percentage basis, fewer scientists, mathematicians, and engineers, than any other major developed nation.  China and India, for example, graduate more engineers each year than the U.S. does.

The problem is compounded by the fact that many high school and college students are uncertain about their future career choices and futures, and STEM careers aren’t necessarily a consideration on their list of options.  There can be many reasons for that but, high among them, is unfamiliarity with the varied opportunities that exist.

For more information about the Dahlgren Heritage Foundation, go to dahlgrenmuseum.org.

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