Winter 2010

Eye on the Quads

Math activist

Student critic of U.S. science education finds a bully pulpit.

By Benjamin Recchie, AB’03


When Louis Wasserman was a student in Silver Spring, Maryland, the school board announced cuts to many of the programs at his science and math magnet school, Montgomery Blair High School. Wasserman led student protests against the cuts and even spoke before his local board of education, all to no avail. Four teaching positions were eliminated, and the remaining teachers had less time to help students with extracurricular activities such as the school’s well-regarded programming team. “After the county’s reaction to our protests, I can only conclude that our education system just doesn’t see the value in such a program,” he says.

Instead of accepting the loss and moving on, Wasserman, now a second-year in the College, has continued to advocate on behalf of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students and educators everywhere. In August, he was invited to Virginia to participate in the expert panel discussion on preparing the next generation of STEM innovators, part of a workshop convened by the National Science Board (NSB), the governing body of the National Science Foundation. At the workshop, Wasserman presented the NSB with a detailed position paper describing the importance of—and chronic lack of support for—STEM education in America.

Wasserman is still involved with the Montgomery Blair High School Magnet Foundation. But he’s also supporting STEM education in Chicago: he assisted with Splash! Chicago, a one-day enrichment program held on campus in October for high-school students.