Congressman Wolf Speech

Hello everybody, thought I would share something that I heard today.

This summer I’ve been working at Aurora Flight Sciences in Manassas, VA. I was offered the job when the president of the company, the father of one of our sophomore students, approached me at VCU this year (moral of the story: FIRST leads to greater things). This morning a groundbreaking ceremony was held for Aurora’s new hangar and one of the speakers was U.S. Congressman Frank R. Wolf (10th district, VA).

The general topic of his speech was America’s decline in students pursuing Math/Science/Engineering career’s and how this may impact America’s innovative edge. He cited statistics about the number of engineers graduated each year in various countries (China, India, etc.) and poll results taken amongst the leaders of “high tech firms” (what does that mean exactly?) about the direction U.S. technologic innovation was heading. The general conclusion was that the U.S. is either stagnant or in decline. He talked about the need for projects students can look up to, as the past generation of engineers looked up to Apollo, and mentioned the mars missions, specificially the Mars Flyer (which was conviently right next to him :D). He concluded by saying that the government had to take big steps to encourage students to go into engineering. Sound familiar? To me he sounded as though he were channeling a certain denim-clad individual.

He also talked about his bill to provide interest free loans to students going into math, science, and engineering.

So what’s my point? I found it heartening that our elected officials, for whatever reason, are talking about and working towards (whether they realize it or not) goals almost identical to those of FIRST.

I plan to write him a letter and another to my own district’s elected officials.

I must admit I don’t know much about the current state of government funding for FIRST outside of the NASA grants, but it seems as if more awareness of the program amongst the individuals who decide how are taxpayer money is spent couldn’t hurt.