Middle Georgia could become regional tech hub with new Senate Bill

“Having that equipment here means that students would be able to follow the entire research from start to finish.”
MGA classroom

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)—If you’re thinking of going to college for a STEM career, your first choice is probably not a school in Middle Georgia. A bill in the U.S. Senate could potentially change that, because it would double National Science Funding for schools.

Middle Georgia State University Department Chair for Natural Sciences, Dr. Dawn Sherry, says if the bill passes they hope to get access to the funding to buy more high tech equipment. 

“We may get them to a certain point and then they have to send off their samples to a lab to be analyzed,” Dr. Sherry explained. “Having that equipment here means that students would be able to follow the entire research from start to finish.”

The bill also includes a study from two MIT professors who have identified more than 100 U.S. cities that have the potential to become regional tech hubs. One of the cities is Warner Robins. Senator Raphael Warnock says he’s working to make that a reality.

“It just corroborates what we already know with the Warner Robins Air Force Base there,” Senator Warnock said. “The incredible talent that’s in Middle Georgia, they (Warner Robins) would be well positioned for this.”

Senator Warnock says Middle Georgians shouldn’t have to move away to places like Silicon Valley or New York to work in STEM or tech careers.

“Getting this bill done will help with the kind of investment and resources that are necessary to keep our talent in Georgia,” said Senator Warnock.

Dr. Sherry says the new bill could help give schools in rural areas a competitive advantage. It could also provide a more comprehensive education for the students who attend those schools.

“This grant money that could come available would help to level the playing field and open up for particularly expensive items. Science is expensive so that could really increase opportunities for these students,” Dr. Sherry said.

Senator Warnock says two different versions of the bill passed in the house and senate last year. The Conference Committee is working to combine those bills. The senator says he’s hopeful the final version will pass before the end of the work session.

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