U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen told an engineering classroom full of girls on Monday the important role they will play in the STEM-related jobs of the future.
She took the opportunity of the visit to also underscore the important role women in the U.S. Senate took last week to end the 16-day government shutdown and raise the nation’s debt ceiling at the 11th hour.
The Democratic senator spent a part of Monday afternoon at Dover High School, where Shaheen was previously a teacher, to visit the all-girls exploratory engineering class taught by Jennifer Cove.
Shaheen visited the class to promote educational investments in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as a way to develop a homegrown, high-skilled workforce for the future.
Earlier this year, Shaheen introduced legislation that would boost access to STEM education for students. The Innovation Inspiration School Grant Program would establish a grant program within the Department of Education that school districts can apply for to support STEM efforts.
The senator told the girls that New Hampshire will have 43,000 engineering-related jobs that need filling by 2018.
“You keep at engineering and and the jobs are all there waiting for you once you graduate because we’re going to need your skills and for young women it’s a great opportunity.” she said.
This is the first academic year that the course has been offered to girls only, and, according to school administrators, the class is the first of its kind in the region.
While extolling the virtues of women in STEM-related jobs, the senator also extolled the virtues of women in politics, specifically the role she felt they took in helping end the political crisis in Washington, D.C., involving the shutdown and debt ceiling.
Shaheen was among a negotiating team of 14 U.S. senators who crafted a deal that not only brought at end to the 16-day government shutdown but raised the debt ceiling just before the nation went into default. The team also included Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, also of New Hampshire.
She cited the comments of a male colleague: “He said, well you know one of the things about having women as part of the group is that the whole dynamic changes. And he said he thought people were more collaborate in that they tried harder to come to some agreement.”
She added: “My experience has been that when women are at the table, whether it’s your kitchen table at home or in a board room or in a classroom that things are different. They’re not necessarily better or worse, but they’re different. And so you often have different outcomes and often they’re very collaborative and cooperative. People work together. And I think that’s a really positive thing.”
Here are two videos from her Dover High School visit:
Shaheen on the need for STEM education
Shaheen on the role of women in ending the government shutdown
Paul Briand is an editor for the Live Free or Die Alliance, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that encourages the discussion and analysis of New Hampshire politics and policies.