House Passes Rep. Stevens’ Building Blocks of STEM Act

July 23, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1665, the Building Blocks of STEM Act, a bipartisan bill led by Rep. Haley Stevens (MI-11), the Chairwoman of the House Science Subcommittee on Research and Technology. The Building Blocks of STEM Act is the first bill Rep. Stevens introduced as a Member of Congress, and it is Rep. Stevens’ first bill to pass the House of Representatives.

The bill instructs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to more equitably allocate funding for research with a focus on early childhood. The bill also directs NSF to support research on the factors that discourage or encourage girls to engage in STEM activities, including computer science.

The Building Blocks of STEM Act is a bipartisan, bicameral bill, introduced jointly by Rep. Stevens and Rep. Jim Baird (R-IN) in the House of Representatives, alongside U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) in the Senate.

Click HERE to see the full text of the bill.

 

“I am thrilled that the House of Representatives voted to pass the Building Blocks of STEM Act,” said Congresswoman Haley Stevens. “This bill will help ensure that our children are prepared to thrive in the 21st century economy by directing public resources to study opportunities for early childhood STEM education and strategies to encourage girls to engage in STEM & computer science. Women and girls everywhere need to know that they can succeed in the STEM fields, and that our country and our economy won’t succeed without them. Let’s keep advocating, encouraging, and mentoring the diverse next generation of STEM leaders.”

“I’m proud to partner with my colleagues in the House and Senate on this important bipartisan legislation. As one of only two members of Congress with a PhD in science, I understand how important it is to start children off on the right foot, by teaching STEM concepts and principles at an early age,” notes Representative Baird. “Equally important is ensuring that we get more girls involved in the STEM fields, so that we have as many people as possible contributing to the knowledge base of our society. Hoosiers know that to grow as a nation, we need everyone involved.”

“As a school superintendent, I understand the importance of introducing STEM education to students at an early age. The earlier students have an opportunity to engage with STEM concepts, the more likely they are to develop an academic interest in these topics. I applaud Congresswoman Stevens for helping promote early childhood STEM education,” said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, Superintendent of the Oakland Schools Intermediate School District.  

“Now more than ever, we must work to break down barriers so that all girls have access to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and computer science,” said Kimberly Churches, Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). “The bipartisan Building Blocks of STEM Act will strengthen early childhood STEM education and lead to more effective policies and practices to increase the number of women in our STEM workforce.  AAUW thanks Representative Stevens for her attention to this important issue and looks forward to working with her and the rest of the Members of House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on this important bill.”

“Increasing girls’ exposure to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is critical to maintaining America’s competitive advantage in the global economy,” said Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “By increasing federal support for research and programming that engages girls in STEM, the Building Blocks of STEM Act brings us closer to realizing the benefits of a more diverse and representative STEM workforce that can advance our country’s technological, economic, and security interests. As the single largest girl-serving, girl-led leadership program in the country, Girl Scouts' is proud to support Congresswoman Stevens’ and we applaud passage of this legislation.”

Background on Congresswoman Stevens’ Advocacy for Women and Girls in STEM:

  • In June, Congresswoman Stevens voted to advance the STEM Opportunities Act and the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act through the Science Committee.
  • In May, Congresswoman Stevens was named to Putman Media’s 2019 Class of Influential Women in Manufacturing along with 27 other manufacturing leaders from around the country.
  • In April, Congresswoman Stevens delivered a passionate floor speech in support of the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act, a bill that would awards the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress’s highest civilian honor, to Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, Christine Darden, and all the women computers, mathematicians, and engineers at NASA.
  • In March, Congresswoman Stevens’ sent a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to express her concern with gender disparities in research grant awards and request a response detailing the actions that the NIH is taking to address this gap.
  • In February, Congresswoman Stevens invited recently retired science teacher Jean Bueller to be her guest at the 2019 State of the Union address.
  • Before serving in Congress, Congresswoman Stevens launched a STEM education program that introduced 200 middle school and high school students to digital manufacturing concepts.

###