Rockefeller hosts National Youth Science Camp luncheon, holds Commerce Committee hearing on federal investments in R&D and STEM education


Morgantown High School Students Mady Duarte and Emma Mathers stand with Senator Rockefeller

Senator Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, reinforced his support for strengthening science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, and federal funding for research and development (R&D).


For the fifth year in a row, Rockefeller hosted the 51st National Youth Science Camp luncheon on July 17, 2014. The National Youth Science Camp is a four-week program based at Camp Pocahontas in Thornwood, West Virginia, that brings together the top two science students from each state along with international students, with the goal of inspiring lifelong engagement and leadership in the STEM fields.


“Math and science are the future of our country. They will lead you to interesting and challenging careers where you will innovate, create, and build. And they are how we as a country will remain competitive,” Rockefeller said in his prepared remarks to the group.


“By participating in this Camp, you are showing your commitment to learning. And while you may not realize it right now, you are taking a step to set yourself up for future success and to help build a smarter, stronger country.”


The camp’s delegates began their four-week camp experience in late June, and have been challenged academically in scientific lectures, studies, outdoor activities in the forests and wildlife areas of West Virginia, field trips, and during this week’s visit to Washington, D.C.


West Virginia’s delegates are Morgantown High School Students Mady Duarte and Emma Mathers.


Later in the afternoon, Rockefeller chaired a hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees science and technology, to examine the federal government’s role in R&D and the nation’s STEM education and outreach initiatives.


“There can be absolutely no question that investing in science and technology, in innovation, and in educating our young people is critical to maintaining our nation’s global leadership. Unless we choose to support science in this country – and it is a choice – I am afraid that the next world-changing innovation will not belong to us,” Rockefeller said in his prepared remarks for the hearing.


Also during the hearing, Rockefeller announced his plans to introduce legislation that would reauthorize the America COMPETES Act. Recognizing the need for long-term investments in science and technology, Congress passed the America COMPETES Acts of 2007 and 2010 to significantly increase key federal R&D budgets; to promote STEM education; and to support the innovation necessary for economic growth.


Rockefeller’s bill would authorize stable and sustained increases in Federal R&D funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), while also addressing STEM and R&D issues at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Further, Rockefeller’s COMPETES bill would also support the commercialization of research products and increased participation in STEM fields, including among women and minorities.


Rockefeller was actively involved in developing and championing both America COMPETES Acts of 2007 and 2010, and has worked on STEM and innovation-related issues throughout his entire Senate career.


Rockefeller has –

Authored the 1995 National Technology and Advancement Act to encourage public-private research agreements;

  • Promoted innovation by extending the research and experimentation tax credit in 1999;
  • Worked as a member of the Science and Technology Caucus to propose significant increases to Federal R&D funding; and
  • Authorized the successful Robert Noyce Teacher Fellowship Program and NSF Math and Science Education Partnerships.

To read Rockefeller’s full opening statement at the Commerce Committee hearing, click here.