The SURF Program is an opportunity for NIST laboratories to encourage outstanding undergraduate students to pursue careers in STEM fields —science, technology, engineering, and mathematics— at a time when studies indicate that STEM skills are crucial in driving innovation, even as businesses report that finding qualified STEM talent is challenging.
As part of NIST's SURF Program, selected students have an opportunity to work one-on-one with NIST scientists and engineers, with a goal to expose emerging prospective professionals to cutting edge and world class research. The program also serves to promote the pursuit of graduate degrees in STEM, through a unique research experience that supports the NIST mission.
At the SURF event, Cooper tied the STEM industry to ANSI's mission, encouraging emerging professionals to utilize skills gained through STEM education. "STEM students are problem solvers, and whether public or private sector, it's good time to have the STEM skills that allow you to constructively participate," he said. "ANSI and its members are [also] problem solvers. We develop practicable, consensus standards solutions that solve real-world problems, and whether you take what you have learned to the private sector, or the public sector, our country needs the skills that you have developed through your STEM education."
Cooper noted how last year in Capitol Hill, ANSI held an event on global supply chains that brought together over 150 people to discuss worker safety, anti-bribery, food safety, and clean cookstoves - just a few recent real-world challenges that have standards-based solutions. He also emphasized that there is need for talented people who can develop these solutions—a recurring theme throughout the day's events.
For more on NIST's SURF program, read more on the fellowship website.