Establish Public STEM Labs in Montgomery County

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Petitioning Montgomery County Executive and County Council for Public STEM Labs in Montgomery County

We, a group of students in Montgomery County, along with the undersigned supporters of this petition, propose that public STEM labs be established in various locations in Montgomery County to promote and facilitate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. We also propose that a combined public STEM lab/public library be built in Clarksburg as a pilot test to address its unmet needs for educational resources and rapid population growth.

STEM education is essential to help the United States remain a world leader in the 21st century in the wave of globalization and information-based economy. STEM education sparks interests in the STEM fields and prepares the next generation of innovators. While the new innovative products created by the innovators help sustain our economy, STEM workers generally have a higher income.

STEM education in school is important. However, the burden of STEM education also rests on families and communities. Parents and communities can provide help and resources to encourage children to pursue extracurricular activities in STEM fields. STEM learning can be more than a class to finish. It can be informal or family-based, with hands-on and real-life learning experiences. It can also be a community effort, a local or state educational initiative. STEM learning is not just for children; it is also for adults. Adults with STEM literacy in turn can better help their children in learning and develop passion in STEM.

Public STEM labs are ideal educational facilities to help advance STEM education outside the schools. They are accessible to the entire community and any resident in the jurisdiction. The service nature of a public library makes it an ideal candidate for public STEM lab/public library combination. In 2015, San Diego Public Library opened a BioTech Lab, providing access to microscopes, centrifuges, and other molecular biology equipment. Frederick County Public Library is another example of a public STEM lab. Montgomery County is home to many federal agencies and research institutes, such as NIH, FDA, NIST, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and Department of Energy, along with many biotech, healthcare, and information technology firms and universities. They provide a critical mass in STEM forces, STEM career market, as well as STEM environment. Public STEM labs in Montgomery County are an investment for the future and have every reason to exist.

In Montgomery County, Clarksburg is the most rapidly developing community and has the youngest population with very high percentage of school-age children. Several new schools are needed in Clarksburg due to its population explosion in recent years. Clarksburg needs a public library to ease its unmet demand for educational resources. The creation of a Clarksburg Public Library/Public STEM Lab is, therefore, an ideal opportunity for a pilot test of the public STEM labs in Montgomery County. The STEM lab will greatly benefit the community, such as the community student project studying the environmental impact on the nearby Little Seneca Lake. We urge the County Executive and County Council to include the Clarksburg Public Library/Public STEM Lab item in the CIP budget considerations. We invite all students, parents, teachers, and community members to join us in our quest for public STEM labs, which will give equal access to everyone for STEM education. Thank you very much for your support.

Students for Public STEM Labs

Michelle Liang
Waley Wang
Elora Paul-Martin
Spencer Goldberg
Sydney Ozbun
Larson Ozbun
Jordon Lee
Alan Tong
Nandhini Jey
Malini Raghu
Hiloni Butala
Christine Truong
Elena Rivello
Robel Kidane
Grant Chapman
Evelyn Jiang
Rayya Toor



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