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Academy at White House Science Fair

Academy Joins White House Commitment to STEM Education

Published May 27, 2014

Academy at White House Science Fair
President Obama addresses the audience at the White House Science Fair.

President Obama addresses the audience at the White House Science Fair.

At the White House Science Fair on May 27, 2014, the New York Academy of Sciences pledged to positively impact the STEM education crisis through innovative programming that inspires students to see science as an exciting conduit to solve local and global challenges.

"The Academy is committed to inspiring and empowering students in STEM subjects; we believe this is as critical as supporting the world's most accomplished scientists. Current students—the next generation of scientific innovators—will be essential to solving many of the world's most pressing challenges," says Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO, the New York Academy of Sciences.

Why Target STEM?

The world needs a workforce of skilled science and technology innovators to address the most pressing global challenges of the coming century-climate change, food shortages, increases in chronic diseases, energy shortages, and more. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that by 2018, some 75% of occupations will be middle- or high-skilled, with the majority of these jobs requiring an education in STEM subjects. And yet, students are dropping out of STEM at alarming rates, in the U.S. and in countries the world over, from China to South Africa, due to lack of engagement.

How Will We Solve the Crisis?

Enter a new initiative: The Global STEM Alliance, launched by the Academy and its partners. The Alliance is designed to connect students from around the world with each other and scientific role models, through a mix of site-based programs, a collaborative digital platform, and a social learning network.

The initiative will begin with students in the United States, Malaysia, Australia, and the City of Barcelona, with other countries and regions expected to join. Working with sophisticated telepresence capabilities and additional tools from fellow founding partner Cisco, the virtual platform allows students to interact and discuss STEM with counterparts in other countries; participate in mentoring relationships with brilliant, young scientists; elect to participate in cutting-edge science courses, challenges, games, and other activities; learn about a day in the life of a scientist; and seek advice and network with science-minded peers.

Additional members of the Alliance include GALXYZ, a game-based intergalactic science adventure, and Rocket21, an online youth innovation platform, with more to come.

For more information, visit

Academy Board Chair and SUNY Chancellor of Education Nancy Zimpher, Senior Advisor to the President of the United States Valerie Bowman Jarrett, and United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, at the White House Science Fair.

Photo (top): Attending the White House Science Fair, (left to right) Rocket21 CEO Mark Grayson, student Thompson Whiteley, and Academy Board Chair and SUNY Chancellor of Education Nancy Zimpher.