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U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand stresses sciences in visit

By Aleta Mayne on July 5, 2011
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U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand at ColgateShortly after announcing her agenda that she hopes will focus New York State’s manufacturing efforts on clean energy and technology, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) stopped at Colgate to talk to youths about their critical roles in science.

“We can beat our competitors in the race to green energy, and I think all of you will be part of that race because those are issues you care about,” she told a roomful of teenagers who had just arrived for Colgate’s Science and Sports Camp.

The senator’s “Made in America” Block Grant Program Act has been designed to support clean energy technology in an effort to retool struggling manufacturers and aid the state’s economy.

“We want to teach people your age to care about math and science because that’s the future,” she told the teens. “The future for New York is in high tech, biotech, nanotech, energy tech, clean tech, all these growing industries — that’s how we’re going to replace the old manufacturing jobs that we lost.”

Prior to meeting with the campers, Gillibrand toured the Robert H.N. Ho Science Center and met with faculty. In the Robert M. Linsley Geology Museum, geology professor and interim dean of the faculty and provost Bruce Selleck talked about Colgate students’ research and pointed out museum treasures like a whale jawbone found in upstate New York.

Then, physics and astronomy professor Beth Parks showed the senator a mini-solar car that will be one of the projects that camp students will be working on.

For the next two weeks, the adolescents — who came from as nearby as Utica and as far away as Chicago — will delve into scientific research and a variety of sports.

Inviting camp participants to ask her questions, Gillibrand answered queries about her favorite presidents, the challenges in representing New York State, and how she first became interested in politics.

Having been featured just yesterday in the New York Times for her campaign to get more women involved in politics, Gillibrand talked about being inspired by her grandmother, a secretary in the state legislature who rallied other women to get politically involved.

“It taught me an important life lesson that grassroots activism matters, that women’s voices matter, that you should care about who represents you … and I always wanted to serve because of it,” she said.

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