Congresswoman Shea-Porter Attends Undergraduate Research Conference

By Logan Hill
On April 25, 2014

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter dropped by the Whittemore Center Arena on Wednesday to experience the Undergraduate Research Conference. 

The conference, which runs for two weeks, crosses all of the schools and colleges at the University with presentations of research from students in almost every major on campus. Wednesday's event was the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Symposium, where the Whittemore Center became host to an array of scientific research conducted by students from a wide range of fields. 

Shea-Porter flies back and forth to and from D.C. every week to take care of her community at home. Upon arriving at this event, she looked down into the arena and said, "I see some women down there - that's great to see ... when I was a kid, boys did science and girls did home-ec." 

Shea-Porter continued to remark on the fact that only 18.5 percent of the U.S. House of Representatives are women. She made her first stop to the Society of Women Engineers to encourage and congratulate them for their efforts and make a small donation to the Six Flags Raffle that the organization was doing as a fundraiser.

Shea-Porter, a University of New Hampshire alumna, said the event was "really, really exciting," 

"I'm really proud. I love to see how UNH has grown and how they outreach to the community," she said before pausing to mention that the bright young minds presenting their findings and displaying their diligence are the future of our country.

"We can't allow the world to out-compete us; we need to stay at the forefront [of industry]," Shea-Porter said, noting that the field of science holds endless possibilities and saying, "The American way is to innovate - to look ahead, say 'what if?' and to look at all the possibilities." 

As the congresswoman toured the student presentations asking questions and getting to know the students, she kept saying how important it is to invest in our young people, comparing our country's support of higher education and students to the rest of the world and saying that "we're falling behind."

The congresswoman also mentioned an upcoming bill she's introducing that increases the availability of grants to science and science education, and remarked that she believes investing in science is the primary way to move this country forward at the same pace as the rest of the world. 

Stopping at a student project that involved a mechanical buoy-system that generated hydro-power, Shea-Porter said she's "a great believer in renewable energy - we got to the moon and didn't think it would be possible, we need to do the same thing now." She also highlighted her service on the Natural Resource Committee, where energy was always a recurring topic. 

Shea-Porter left the event full of excitement and enthusiasm for America's future, renewed in her belief in our youth and students as the force that builds a better future, and praising science and technology as the evolving field that will help shape industry in this country in a way that will provide more opportunity and development despite the ever-competitive global economy.

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