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Who Inspired You?

In a new video, members of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology reflect on the teachers who inspired them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Ed. Note: Today President Obama announced the launch of Change the Equation, a CEO-led effort to dramatically improve education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), as part of his “Educate to Innovate” campaign.

Years may go by and memories may fade but just about everyone remembers a special teacher they had in the K-12 years who made a big difference—don’t you? A teacher who opened your eyes to something new or beautiful or showed you something about the possibilities of a subject in school that you had not appreciated before?

Those of us who have the privilege of serving on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology were talking about this recently and comparing stories about our own favorite and life-changing teachers, and we had an idea: Why not make a short video in which we could tell our stories, as a means of amplifying a message we were already developing about the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education?

The discussion came up in the course of preparing a new report on STEM education that PCAST released today, and it resulted in the production of the short video you can see below, which was produced by Visualante Media and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. We hope you enjoy getting a peek into the academic beginnings of some of the President’s science and technology advisors, and that it inspires you to do your share—as a student, a teacher, a corporate donor or philanthropist—to reach for the stars and do whatever you can do to strengthen this important backbone of American education.


Jim Gates is a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology