The first plenary session of the 2013 AGU Science Policy Conference, Preparing for Our Future: The Value of Science, will be a discussion about the importance of science at a pressing time. Many interesting and significant science issues are presently in the news. President Obama’s proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2014 includes a reorganization of the nation’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Once the world’s leader in STEM education, American students now rank 23rd in math and 31st in science, globally. President Obama’s 2014 Budget would invest $3.1 billion in Federal STEM education programs, a 6 percent increase, which has brought the discussion of the value of science in the United States to the forefront. This opening plenary session will feature two experts who will showcase the value of science for the development of effective policies. These experts will be Cora Marrett and Bart Gordon.
Cora Marrett is the Acting Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), who has served as NSF’s acting Director, acting Deputy Director, and Senior Advisor. Marrett has also held positions as the Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources (EHR), the Assistant Director for the Social for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) directorate (for which she earned the NSF Distinguished Service Award), the University of Wisconsin System’s Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
After 26 years of representing the state of Tennessee in the United States House of Representatives, Bart Gordon joined K&L Gates as a partner in the Washington D.C. office. Gordon served as Chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology from 2007 to 2010, and was also a senior member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. He also served on the House Committees on Financial Services and Rules, on the Transatlantic Parliamentary Dialogue, and on the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Throughout his congressional career, Gordon developed a reputation as the undisputed bipartisan leader in innovation policy in the U.S. Congress as 151 bipartisan bills and resolutions were passed during his chairmanship. He championed the America COMPETES Act in 2007, which promotes federal investments in innovation in order to make the U.S. more competitive, and engineered the passage of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act in 2010 to add provisions such as support for prize competitions. Additionally, he led the effort to enact the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which increased mileage standards, improved vehicle technology, promoted alternative energy research, and improved energy efficiency in a variety of ways.
This plenary session will be live webcast from 8:15 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. on Tuesday, 25 June.
-Sam Brockway, AGU Public Affairs Intern