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“We believe that middle schoolers make a critical decision as to whether they will stay with or step away from science and math courses in high school,” says Paula Golden, Executive Director of the Broadcom Foundation.
In order to impact decision making by middle school students at this pivotal point in their lives when career paths are set in motion, Broadcom Foundation teamed up with the Society to create the Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars). The competition is for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students who compete at Society-affiliated science fairs throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Students are nominated to compete in the national competition, which Broadcom Foundation believes will inspire students to stay engaged in science and math as they go forward.
The Broadcom Foundation board has generously provided over $6 million in philanthropic support to the Society as the sponsor of Broadcom MASTERS through 2016 because they know how important it is to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers. Golden says, “Broadcom is a young, highly innovative company that relies on the intellectual capital of brilliant engineers who have enabled the company to rise as a Fortune 500 company in less than 20 years. Companies like Broadcom have both a vested and national interest in seeing more young people enter the science and engineering fields.”
Paula adds that Broadcom is excited to work with the Society as Broadcom CEO Scott McGregor was a Semifinalist in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, a program of the Society, and Paula herself spent her middle school years engaged in project-based learning with “Things of Science,” mail-order science kits that the Society produced from 1943-1989. Now they are on the other end, fostering a program that will help today’s youth stick with science and math in order to reach their potential. The focus on middle school students is especially important as Broadcom’s co-founder, Henry Samueli, became excited about engineering when he built a vacuum-tube short-wave radio in seventh grade. Paula says that she hopes “middle school students participating in science fairs around the country will strongly consider pursuing math and science into high school and beyond.”