There is an urgent task confronting American higher education — producing the most talented workers and researchers in what are called the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The increasing globalization of the world's economy (what some have called the "flattening" of the world) and the rising importance of science and technology make this an ever-more important task.

This is one of the most significant challenges facing the United States. Arden L. Bement, Jr. is the director of the National Science Foundation. According to Bement, "America's prosperity, global competitiveness and the well-being of our citizens depend, more than ever before, on a steady stream of new ideas and highly skilled STEM talent." (August 18, 2008) It is essential that our efforts in developing STEM talent focus on a population as diverse as the U.S. workforce is today, and as it will be in coming decades. It is critically important to recruit underrepresented groups, including women and minorities, into the STEM disciplines.

City Tech is a leader in this area. Our efforts in supporting the achievement of underrepresented groups in STEM disciplines have been recognized by foundations and government agencies as a model for others to follow. A key leader in these activities is Dr. Reginald Blake, assistant professor of physics at City Tech.

City Tech has been awarded grants of more than $1,000,000 that will allow us to support advanced, faculty-supervised research of students in STEM disciplines. One NSF grant will fund seminars, summer internships and school-year research assistantships for selected students, who will be the future engineers and scientists of our nation, notes Dr. Blake. A City Tech student will conduct research aboard the NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown, as it sails across the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and the Caribbean in March 2009. On board, students will assist in the study of why and how aerosols are transported from the Sahara Desert across the Atlantic Ocean and towards the U.S and the Caribbean.

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