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Support For Discovery Communications, Inc.

Rep. Sherwood L. Boehlert

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Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the House Committee on Science, I am an avid supporter of programs that encourage the youth of America to push the limits of innovation and originality in science. One such program is the Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge.

Created in 1999, Discovery Communications, Inc., designed the Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge as part of the solution to America's chronic underachievement in science and math. The annual national contest responds to evidence that academic performance and interest in science among American students declines dramatically as students become older. This is particularly evident during the middle school years.

For these reasons, the Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge identifies and honors America's top middle school student who demonstrates the best skills in leadership, teamwork, and scientific problem solving. More than 6,000 middle school students have entered the challenge since its inception in order to compete for the title of ``America's Top Young Scientist of the Year.'' Since 1999, scholarship awards for the students have totaled more than $400,000 and challenge winners have participated in science-related trips to far-off places, including the Roslin Institute in Midlothian, Scotland, and the El Yunque rain forest in Puerto Rico.

On September 17, 2003, Discovery Communications, Inc., announced the 40 middle school students who have advanced to the finals of the Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge. Selected from more than 1,700 entrants, the ``Final Forty'' represent an elite group of young Americans who demonstrated exceptional creativity and communications skills in original science research projects. To commemorate the centennial of the Wright Brothers' first flight, this year's finalists will compete in a multitude of experiments involving the science of flight. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on October 22, 2003.

The finalists for the 2003 Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge are: Jeffrey Luttrell of Tempe, Arizona; Tyler Kirkland of Tucson, Arizona; David Edwards V of Tucson, Arizona; Bobby Fisher of Laguna Niguel, California; Jacob Rucker of Del Mar, California; Dana Feeny of Woodside, California; John Reid of Redlands, California; Samantha Bates of San Carlos, California; Patrick Saris of Newbury Park, California; Justin Koh of Bakersfield, California; Taylor Simpkins of Costa Mesa, California; Scott Presbrey of Fort Myers, Florida; Peter Borden of Fort Myers, Florida; Bran Yancey of Miami, Florida; Sravya Keremane of Gainesville, Florida; Sarah Gerin of West Palm Beach, Florida; Joseph Stunzi of Watkinsville, Georgia; Bryce Melton of Terre Haute, Indiana; Anthony Burnetti of Derwood, Maryland; Ethan Roth of Kansas City, Missouri; Elena Ovaitt of Weston, Missouri; Austin Minor of Lee's Summit, Missouri; Rachel Clements of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Leah Crowder of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Michael Klein of Atlantic Beach, New York; Ryan Lee of Hamilton, Ohio; Bogna Brzezinska of Upper Arlington, Ohio; Lorren Kezmoh of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Katie Sloop of El Paso, Texas; Daniel Steck of San Antonio, Texas; Aron Trevino of San Antonio, Texas; Luis Lafer-Sousa of San Antonio, Texas; Elizabeth Monier of Boerne, Texas; Ian Cummings of Clearfield, Utah; Spencer Larson of Springville, Utah; Ryker Watts of Alpine, Utah; Zachary Hopkins of Highland, Utah; Jennifer Gutman of Wheeling, West Virginia; and Erica David of Pinedale, Wyoming.

At a time when science and technology plays such an enormous role in our lives, I believe it is imperative that we continue to support and nurture the next generation of young scientists. I would like to congratulate these students for their dedication and hard work in the name of science and wish them all good luck during the 2003 Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge.