ARLINGTON, Va., June 6, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Chemical Educational Foundation® (CEF), a national non-profit dedicated to inspiring young learners to pursue science-related education and careers, announced today the 42 participants of the 2017 National You Be The Chemist (YBTC) Challenge®. This year's Challenge contestants qualified from among 55,000 middle school students across 40 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico who participated in the local and state levels of the Challenge program throughout the 2016-2017 school year.
CEF's YBTC Challenge is an academic competition that engages middle school students, grades 5-8, to learn about the importance of chemistry to our everyday lives. Local, State and National Challenge competitions encourage collaboration among industry, schools, educators, and community partners to support early STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.
"As we look to the future of our economy and workforce, STEM education — and specifically chemistry — is a critical part of driving innovation, developing new technologies and discovering unimaginable possibilities in science," said CEF Executive Director Dwayne Sattler. "These 42 students are evidence of what young people can achieve when they are inspired by chemistry. They are our future leaders and innovators. We look forward to hosting them in our nation's capital and celebrating their accomplishments."
By engaging students at a young age in subjects that can lead to STEM majors and careers, CEF is working to motivate the next generation of workers for one of the fastest-growing sectors of our economy. Bolstering chemistry education is critical to reducing the "STEM gap," a sizeable gap between the number of skilled workers and available STEM jobs. By 2018, it is estimated that 1.2 million STEM jobs will go unfilled and experts agree that an early emphasis is critical to cultivating students' interest and developing their skills in STEM.
The 2017 YBTC Challenge culminates this month with a national event in Washington, D.C., where the top 42 students will compete for more than $20,000 in educational scholarship funds and various prizes. Participants and educators will gather at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Monday, June 19, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., as the students battle through thrilling rounds of chemistry questions until a National Challenge Champion is named.
Names, grade level, school and hometown for each of the 2017 You Be The Chemist student participants can be found at https://www.chemed.org/whats-new/. Photos are available upon request to Rossbach@jdafrontline.com.
The Chemical Educational Foundation® (CEF) strives to improve the overall understanding and appreciation of chemistry and inspire future leaders to pursue science-related careers. Last year, CEF's You Be The Chemist® STEM programs reached nearly one million students nationwide. For more information, please visit www.chemed.org.
Contact: Laurie Rossbach
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SOURCE The Chemical Educational Foundation