FIU in D.C. update

With immigration now taking center stage in Washington, D.C., members of the university community continued to advance FIU’s STEM education agenda.

The draft bill released late Wednesday by the Senate’s “Gang of 8” incorporates a measure that would create a new competitive grant program for STEM capacity building at Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) using 12 percent of the revenues from a $500 fee applied to the H1-B visa fees. In addition to other strong DREAM act components of the bill, this STEM fund would help increase the number of underrepresented minority scientists and engineers nationwide, an imperative that FIU is leading in.

Other components of the STEM fund include scholarships for low-income STEM students (60 percent); matching grants for K-12 public-private partnerships (15 percent); and STEM workforce efforts through the Department of Labor (10 percent). Indications are strong that similar provisions will be in the House version.

Proving our own leadership in the STEM arena, one of our very own DOE Fellows, Emma Lopez, led a Congressional briefing on “Promoting an Emerging Clean Energy Economy extending renewable energy incentives” as a part of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Young Latino Leaders Summit.

“Renewable energy is not at the same leveled playing field with fossil fuels in terms of subsidies and tax credits. We hope Congress will work on providing long term policies so that we can continue seeing a growth in clean renewable energy” said Lopez.

HACU Task Force on STEM Education

Also this week, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) governing board endorsed the FIU proposal by Vice President Steve Sauls to create a HACU task force on STEM education, policy and research that would bring together the HSI STEM community and the private sector to ensure adequate resources for underrepresented minorities and attention in upcoming authorization bills. It’s worth noting that 85 percent of FIU’s students are underrepresented minorities (IN STEM FIELDS???) This action comes on the heels of the release of the president’s fiscal 2014 budget. The budget proposes to reorganize and consolidate all federal STEM education efforts across the government.

University City and Vaclav Havel Center for Human Rights and Diplomacy

Also this week were key visits by the University City Coalition to the Department of Transportation as FIU seeks to make the University City vision a reality. Ambassador Palous joined John Stack, director of the School of International and Public Affairs, to discuss the Vaclav Havel Center for Human Rights and Diplomacy at FIU with the Miami congressional delegation.

Funding for the Arts

College of Architecture + the Arts Dean Brian Schriner joined more than 500 advocates from across the country to discuss the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts with members of Congress.

Summertime in D.C.

Will you be interning in Washington, D.C., this summer? Each semester many of FIU’s best and brightest arrive in the nation’s capital to pursue their dreams on Capitol Hill, at federal agencies or in the nonprofit and private sectors. Who better than these ambassadors to share how FIU is Worlds Ahead? If you are a student who will be interning in D.C. this summer, a faculty member who is aware of D.C. student interns or a graduate looking to mentor, please take a moment to complete these information forms.