This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0
 

  The Herman Trend Alert

June 8, 2011

Creating Science Superstars

If any country is to achieve long-term success, it must be able to compete on the global stage. Competing successfully on the world stage requires having talented young people. We have reported on numerous occasions how upset we are with the lack of support for education in the United States. This lack of support causes a dangerous vulnerability.

In the face of this situation, the results of a recent study add an additional dimension to this debate: top math and science students in the United States are overwhelmingly the children of immigrants.

Even though only 12 percent of the US population is foreign-born, the study found that 70 percent of the finalists in the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search competition were the children of immigrants.

According to the report conducted by the National Foundation for American Policy, 60 percent of the top science students and 65 percent of the top math students were born to immigrant families. Moreover, 24 of the 28 sets of immigrant parents of 2011 Intel Science Talent Search winners started working in the United States on H-1B visas* and later received an employer-sponsored green card. These findings are bound to add fuel to the hot debate over immigration policy.

For more information click here.

From time to time, we have discussed the valuable, global FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and technology) initiative. The FIRST organization engages young people (ages six through 18) and their mentors and volunteers in solving common problems in a six-week timeframe.

The teams of youngsters build robots using standard “kits of parts" and a common set of rules, then vie in regional and international competitions. Founded in 1989, this impressive program now serves 248,000+ students from more than 10 countries on 22,475 teams, making 20,675 robots. Over 90,000 mentors and event volunteers support them.

The growth of the FIRST organization is most impressive and is a shining example of how society can create “science heroes”, a goal of Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway and FIRST’s founder. http://www.usfirst.org

If the US is to be competitive globally, we will need to tap into “all” the talent we can find.

*employer-sponsored temporary 3- to 6-year visas the US government grants for skilled foreign workers


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