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Congressman Ryan Costello

Representing the 6th District of Pennsylvania

U.S. Rep. Costello visits 2 Downingtown schools to support STEM programs

December 7, 2016
In The News

DOWNINGTOWN >> U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello recently visited two Downingtown schools in support of STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – education.

Costello, R-6, of West Goshen, visited the Technical College High School (TCHS) Brandywine Campus where students asked him to help support their STEM programs with H.R. 5168. Costello attended a ceremony honoring TCHS Brandywine local robotics team “Out of the Box.” At that time, the students presented him with a hard-copy of the bill to read. He signed it.

“This isn’t the official bill signing but I want to let you know that this is something I will plan on co-sponsoring once I get back to Washington,” Costello said during his visit.

He made good on his promise and co-sponsored the bill.

H.R. 5168 proposes to have the Department of the Treasury print a dollar silver coin in memory of Christa McAuliffe, a teacher who was onboard the space shuttle Challenger when it exploded in 1986. A portion of the proceeds raised from the memorial coin would go toward FIRST, a nonprofit organization helping young people discover and develop a passion for science, engineering, technology and math.

Costello said he is proud to co-sponsor the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act because it promotes and supports the importance of STEM education and extracurricular programs.

“The Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act is a great example of how Congress can support and advance STEM education and careers,” Costello said. “Proceeds created from this bill would go towards programs that encourage STEM, like the successful CCIU (Chester County Intermediate Unit) program that I was fortunate to spend time learning more about.”

As a member of FIRST, Out of the Box members were thrilled to gain Costello’s support for H.R. 5168.

“We were so honored to have Rep. Costello take the time out of his busy schedule to come out and be a part of our recognizing TCHS Brandywine for their contributions towards helping out team,” team mentor Jerry Beauchamp said in a statement. “It was especially great that he agreed to co-sponsor the bill which will continue to help young people pursuing STEM related careers.”

Out of the Box Robotics Team 7244 is made up of middle school and high school students from seven schools in Chester County. Since the team is not affiliated with a school, finding a place to practice and build their robots was a challenge during the past two years.

“At one point we needed to go to McDonald’s in order to use their Wi-Fi for our coding and programming components,” said team mentor William Barker.

Beauchamp asked TCHS Brandywine officials to help the team find a place to practice, which they did to continue supporting the school’s STEM programs.

“TCHS Brandywine was extremely supportive and generous in allowing us to use this space,” Beauchamp said. “It has had such a great impact on the team to have a consistent place to meet and have access to all the materials, tools and resources necessary to be competitive in robotics.”

After showing Costello a demonstration of the team’s robot, the team members presented TCHS Brandywine Principal Frank McKnight with two certificates of appreciation. McKnight reaffirmed TCHS Brandywine’s support.

“It is our pleasure as part of the Chester County Intermediate Unit to support the team in any way that we can,” McKnight said. “It’s our goal here at TCHS Brandywine to support STEM activities in our area and we are glad to be of help.”

Costello toured TCHS Brandywine and the Downingtown STEM Academy. He talked with STEM freshman and sophomores, of the Downingtown Area School District, during an assembly. Rep. Costello noted he has been a strong supporter of STEM legislation in Congress that provides pathways for students to study and gain these skillsets.

“Students ability to access STEM education or programs, where they will learn skills that are valuable to employers around the world and to institutions of higher education, is critically important,” said Costello, a member of the STEM Caucus. “I’m proud to advocate for these initiatives that will help equip Pennsylvania students with 21st century tools.”

He encourages students to participate in the annual Congressional App Challenge, which is a competition where students develop a software app.