Deputy Secretary Dennis F. Hightower Kicks Off Fifth NOAA Education and Science Forum
WASHINGTON – Deputy Secretary of Commerce Dennis F. Hightower, congressional representatives and heads of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will join the hundreds of scientists and students November 12 to 14, 2009 at Howard University in Washington, D.C., as the university, in conjunction with the NOAA Educational Partnership Program, hosts the Fifth Bi-Annual Education and Science Forum.
Nearly 500 college and university students and instructors, representatives from federal and local government, private industry and the general public will convene to present and view research on atmospheric, oceanic and environmental sciences, engineering and technology that support NOAA’s mission.
Hightower, whose department includes NOAA, returns to his alma mater to talk about the importance of the agency’s work and the importance of increasing the number of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians from underrepresented communities.
According to the Congressional Diversity in Innovation Caucus, African Americans hold only 4.4 percent of science and engineering jobs while just 3.4 percent are held by Hispanics.
“Howard University has a rich history of scientific discovery, and this partnership with NOAA is key to fostering continued interest and success among young African Americans in science and engineering programs,” Hightower said.
Joining Hightower will be U.S. Reps. Elijah Cummings, Donna Edwards and Eleanor Holmes Norton. The distinguished scientists gathered for the convention will be led by NOAA Deputy Assistant Administrator for Ocean and Atmospheric Research Alexander “Sandy” MacDonald, NOAA Director of Education Louisa Koch and DaNa Carlis of the NOAA National Weather Service.
Under the theme “Building a Community of Environmental Scholars,” participants will explore how the environment increasingly impacts society and the economy and how the science community can better engage and inform the general public of the nation’s environmental challenges.
The Forum is held every two years at one of NOAA’s five Cooperative Science Centers, which are located at Howard University, North Carolina A&T State University, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Florida A&M University and City College of the City University of New York.
The program’s effort to increase the number of scientists from underrepresented communities has yielded great success. For example, Howard University, with $20 million in funding from NOAA and $12 million in other funding, has become the nation’s largest single producer of minority atmospheric scientists, more than doubling the total number nationally.
For more information on how to participate in the forum, visit http://ncas.howard.edu or call 202-865-8678.