House Weighs Annual Contest for Science Students

Posted February 21, 2013 at 12:44pm

Each year, young people send drawings and paintings to their representatives in Congress in the hope of having their work selected for display on the walls of the Cannon Tunnel.

Soon, students across America with other skills might have a chance to earn similar recognition from lawmakers.

On Thursday, House Administration Chairwoman Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., and ranking member Robert A. Brady, D-Pa., announced their interest in launching an annual academic competition for students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

As with the Congressional Art Competition, each House member would solicit entries from students in their districts and select a winner. According to a press release from the House Administration Committee, “entries might include smartphone applications, software programs or crowd-sourcing technologies.”

As STEM research and innovation grows increasingly relevant, the number of young people gaining proficiency in the areas continues to lag. According to a joint statement from Miller and Brady, fewer than one-third of eighth-graders in the United States are “proficient in science and mathematics, and only nine states allow computer science courses to count towards graduation requirements.”

“If America wants to remain competitive in this field, we must encourage and embrace innovation, which is why we are proud to announce the bipartisan academic competition,” they continued.

For the competition to be officially established, the House must first pass a resolution. House leaders support the initiative, and a House Administration Committee spokeswoman told CQ Roll Call that the resolution could be considered as early as next week.