Today is UH STEM Center/Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar Day in the City of Houston.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker will proclaim the honor today during a ceremony at Houston City Hall.
The proclamation is sponsored by Houston City Council Member Melissa Noriega. It honors the University of Houston center dedicated to improving scientific literacy and encouraging young people to enter the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), as well as the center’s leader, former astronaut and current Cullen College of Engineering Professor Bonnie Dunbar.
Dunbar joined UH at the beginning of this year to lead the STEM Center. The center’s stated goal is to move the United States’ K-12 education system in science and mathematics to a leading position by global standards and to encourage more U.S. citizens to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
To achieve this, the center serves as the coordinating point for the university’s STEM policies and programs, including UH’s various educational outreach programs.
These include highly successful efforts run by the Cullen College for high school students, such as G.R.A.D.E Camp, a summer engineering camp for 8th to 12th grade girls, and STEP Forward Camp, which targets 11th and 12th graders from under-represented communities.
The STEM Center also serves as a coordinating point for UH efforts to educate teachers in the sciences. Among these are Cullen College-run summer research programs for high school science and math teachers as well as a the GK-12 “Innovations in Nanotechnology” Program, which places college graduate students in classrooms from kindergarten through high school to teach science and engineering concepts.
In an interview about her appointment to head the STEM Center, Dunbar stressed how important such programs are to the health and vitality of the country.
“Developing a pipeline for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics will play a major role in the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy, and is a critical component to helping our nation win the future,” Dunbar said. “To address the grand challenges of this great country, we need the new ideas, new companies and new industries created by STEM careers. This has been historically – and will be in the future – the key to great progress in the United States.”