WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation released a statement applauding news of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant totaling $499,797 awarded to the University of Nevada Reno (UNR).

“I applaud NSF for awarding UNR this grant to fund research on recruitment, retention and career preparedness approaches for increasing diversity in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math,” said Senator Rosen. “This research will help to bring a diverse class of students into the study of STEM subjects, and open countless doors for students from all backgrounds to succeed in STEM.”

“We are incredibly thankful for this grant that will fund research into bringing more diversity to STEM learning and education,” said Marc Johnson, Ph.D. President of the University of Nevada Reno. “With better understanding of the barriers and challenges that prevent women, students of color, and low income students from entering STEM fields at normal rates, we can take concrete steps to overcome the gaps in representation in STEM.”

BACKGROUND: Earlier this year, Senator Rosen introduced the bipartisan Building Blocks of STEM Act alongside Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Deb Fischer (R-NE). The bill would create and expand upon STEM education initiatives at the National Science Foundation (NSF) for young children, including new research grants to increase the participation of girls in computer science. This bipartisan legislation passed the Senate Commerce Committee earlier this year. In the House, Congresswoman Haley Stevens (D-MI) and Congressman Jim Baird (R-IN) – respectively, the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology – have introduced companion legislation to the bipartisan Rosen bill.

Studies have found that children who engage in scientific activities from an early age develop positive attitudes toward science and are more likely to pursue STEM expertise and careers later on.