WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded more than $1.4 million to Twin Cities Public Television to help increase access to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education through the “Black SciGirls: Investigating a Culturally Responsive Media-enriched Approach to STEM Teaching and Learning”(Black SciGirls) program.

This program aims to promote STEM education with culturally responsive strategies to attract and retain diverse talent in STEM. Through a combination of media, role modeling, and outreach, Black SciGirls helps prepare participants for the STEM workforce.

“As we work to continue Minnesota’s leadership in science and technology research and strengthen the STEM field as a whole, we must invest in the next generation of diverse talent and provide STEM opportunities to students across our state,” said Klobuchar. “This federal funding for the Black SciGirls program will help us do just that by bringing Black girls into STEM at a young age and ensuring they have the support and resources necessary to thrive in the workforce.”

“Black women working in STEM are intelligent, strong, inspiring trailblazers and role models for Black girls in Minnesota and across the country,” said Smith. “This program will highlight representation of Black women who already work in STEM so Black girls can see themselves in the field. It will also help educators learn about anti-racist teaching strategies to better support Black girls in STEM studies. This is very important work to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM.”

As a founding co-chair of the Diversifying Technology Caucus, Klobuchar has long been a leader in increasing access to STEM education. 

In 2017, two of Klobuchar’s bipartisan bills, the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act and the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act, were signed into law by the President. These bills encourage women to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and pursue careers in aerospace through NASA initiatives, and build on existing efforts by the National Science Foundation to increase women’s participation in STEM education and research. 

Klobuchar’s provisions to require the Director of the NSF to consider recommendations from organizations representing underrepresented groups for the STEM Education Advisory Panel, and allow for research to better understand factors relevant to the retention of STEM teachers from underrepresented groups, including women and minorities, were signed into law by the president in the 2017 reauthorization of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act. She was also a strong supporter of the America COMPETES Act of 2007 and the reauthorization of the law in 2010. Klobuchar also introduced the Innovate America Act to promote innovation and increase America’s competitiveness in the global economy.

Klobuchar also led bipartisan legislation with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) to encourage veterans and military spouses to pursue careers in STEM fields that was signed into law in February 2020. 

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