Letter: Science — you know, for kids | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Science — you know, for kids

As someone with an engineering and physics education and a Master of Business Administration degree, and having spent many years in corporate America, I can attest to the need not just for a better understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics but for critical thinking, as well, in all career paths. Learning the scientific method teaches kids and adults to think critically about what they are told in education, business, government and life.

The Buddy Program served 1,098 youth and families in 2014, 70 percent of them with household incomes of less than $50,000 per year, which is below the “living wage” of $56,000 required to live here. They don’t have extra cash to spend on tinker toys, erector sets or 3-D printers. The Aspen Science Center wants to turn the Old Power House into a place where kids and adults can explore their passions through hands-on, experience-based learning.

I have a Little Buddy. He’s great! He is 11 and has a single mother who works incredibly hard at three jobs to support them. So he is often left to fend for himself after school until late at night. He spends his time in the library, which is better than other options, but much of that time is surfing YouTube for “funny cat videos,” as he says. Imagine if instead he could spend that time at the Aspen Science Center’s Old Power House following his creative instincts: playing with building systems, creating video games instead of playing them, designing projects and then actually building them with 3-D printers, computers and electronics. Imagine how differently his life would turn out. The next Thomas Edison or Marie Curie could be living here in Aspen and never reach full potential.

Bars, performing-arts centers, office space to encourage new businesses, TV studios — these things are all great. But we have them in different forms already. We don’t have a hands-on science center for families. This is what the Aspen Science Center wants to create at the Old Power House. We need this. I believe this so strongly that I joined the board and Science Council of the Aspen Science Center shortly after moving to Aspen.

The city will be hearing public comments on the proposals for the Old Power House at City Hall on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. If you believe that hands-on science learning is needed in this valley, please lend your support.

David Houggy

Executive director, Buddy Program

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