Massachusetts Governor says STEM education and persistence are key to success

The road to success may be paved with hurdles, but facing adversity should not be a barrier to achievement, says Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

Speaking Friday at the 2011 National Urban League’s Youth Leadership Summit at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena to nearly 300 teens from across the United States, Patrick stressed the importance of staying positive when life presents challenges, and praised the value of education, saying “it is the single most high-impact investment government can make for a stronger society.”

Patrick’s remarks came at the end of the weeklong youth summit at Northeastern entitled, “Education: The Foundation for Every Occupation.” The event took place in conjunction with the 22nd Annual National Urban League Conference, held in Boston for the first time in more than three decades. Summit participants  came from 37 U.S. cities, including Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Houston, and Washington, D.C.

Undergraduates working at Northeastern as part of the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program, had the opportunity to meet Governor Patrick who praised the value of combining classroom studies with experiential learning, and called co-op “the best deal in America.”

Mel Bernstein, vice provost for research at Northeastern, discussed the university’s use-inspired research efforts, citing the recent collaboration between state and university partners to create the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Cluster in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The program seeks to catalyze joint research efforts in the STEM fields of computer and network science, while boosting economic development in the central part of the state. Going forward, Bernstein noted, Northeastern expects to engage in similar public-private partnerships in the area of cybersecurity.

As part of the summit, attendees took part in various activities organized by Northeastern’s Center for STEM Education in more than a dozen laboratories and research centers across campus.

Summit attendees represent the next generation of leaders who will shape the future through STEM education, noted Richard Harris, Northeastern’s director of multicultural engineering program.

Patrick touted his administration’s investments in education, innovation and infrastructure, which he said has helped Massachusetts maintain its status as a leader in education and high-tech jobs amid the financial crisis.

“We are about trying to leave a better Commonwealth than we found,” Patrick said. “That’s what a community is about – seeing in our state our collective best interests and our collective best tomorrows.”