From Our Office Director
Children Are Our Future
Part of that future includes the next generation of youth working on the country’s most pressing issues in energy, not to mention making the other scientific and technological breakthroughs we’ll need for a safer, healthier, and happier life.
To help plant the seeds of science excitement early in life, we have events like the upcoming Bradbury Science Museum’s Family Day series that starts in June (see article in this issue), Expanding Your Horizons (also in this issue), and the SuperComputing Challenge (we’ll cover this next month). Those are just some of our current science education activities; we have a host of other complementary programs that take place throughout the year. (For a complete list, go to http://community.lanl.gov/source/orgs/cpo/education_programs/lanl_education_programs.shtml)
Speaking of youth and current activities, May sees the launch of the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund (LAESF) campaign. It’s vitally important that students who aspire to higher education not be limited by an inability to pay for it—regardless of the field they wish to pursue. While the primary donors for the scholarship fund in past years have been Lab employees, this year the fundraising has become more inclusive, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation (the program adminisrator) is reaching out to the entire community to support LAESF scholarships. Over the last 13 years, these scholarships have been awarded to high school seniors from all over Northern New Mexico. (http://www.lanlfoundation.org/). Three of this year’s top winners represent Rio Arriba, San Miguel, and Santa Fe counties.
So, do these early science education programs work? Based upon quantitative and qualitative research, we believe the answer is yes, students are excelling. Take for instance this year’s Platinum scholarship winner, Estevan Trujillo, who hopes to help inspire other Hispanics to study engineering as he pursues his own engineering degree and career. Then there’s Scott Carlsten. He’s a sophomore at Los Alamos High School and recently received a $25,000 Distinguished Award of Excellence from the EnergySolutions Foundation scholarship fund. Scott participated in earlier years in the Mathcounts® and DOE Science Bowl® activities supported by the Lab. His current goal is to study theoretical physics at Stanford University.
We also know of cases where those who started out in Lab-sponsored STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities are now back to introduce a new generation of youngsters to the programs that meant so much to them as former students.
That, in and of itself, says something very positive about our youth activities.