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October 27, 2013

Shaheen promotes tech studies, robotics in Pelham visit

Shaheen highlights STEM in Pelham visit

PELHAM — Pelham High senior Emily Lamport stood before schoolmates and town leaders Friday and confessed she wanted to become a lawyer before she joined the Pelham High robotics team.

Then it all changed for her.

“I discovered electrical wiring,” Emily said to laughter. “I fell in love. I don’t know why, I just did.”

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who is married to a lawyer and compelled to serve with other lawyers in Congress, smiled and nodded approvingly.

New Hampshire’s Democratic senator visited the high school to promote her legislation that would make federal grants available to school districts to boost science, technology, engineering and math education.

Shaheen let Emily and her robotics teammates know they are on the right career path.

New Hampshire will need about 40,000 graduates in science, technology, engineering and math fields in just four years, she said.

“You’ve got a job almost guaranteed,” Shaheen told the students.

About two dozen students in the robotics program met with Shaheen. They let her pilot their robot around center court and the three-point line in the gym.

Mark Critz, regional director for FIRST robotics, said Pelham will compete in two regional competitions this year, one in Nashua and the other at the University of New Hampshire.

Emily liked the sound of Shaheen’s legislation.

“That’s incredible,” she said.

She intends to pursue studies in electrical and computer systems engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.

Her brother, Matthew, a junior and teammate, said he wants to become a mechanical engineer.

“Robotics has exposed me to the STEM field,” he said, referring to science, technology, education and math.

Another teammate, junior Alison Blanchard, said she wants to pursue art conservation or museum studies, but expects STEM to be a big part of her college experience.

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