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2022 STEM Advocacy Conference

Updated: May 14, 2022

By Siri Doddapaneni

Front row (left to right): Francesca Vidal, Bavishya Bachu, Mary Schinzel, Claire Cenovic, Sidra Miller, Siri Doddapaneni. Back row (left to right): Gabby Boles, Maya Savory, Josh Randolph, Akshay Mehta, Kidman Ip, Molly Clark, Jack Cenovic

On March 23, 2022, a group of JuSTEMagine representatives journeyed to the Nebraska Capitol Building in Lincoln, Nebraska to advocate for STEM education in schools, while some met with senators virtually. They worked together to advocate for LB1112, the Computer Science and Technology Education Act, a bill that requires high school students to take a semester of a technology course in order to graduate.

LB1112 was a bill introduced by Senator McKinney in January of 2022. Formally, it explains that “districts would require students to complete at least one five-credit high school course in computer science and technology prior to graduation.”

This type of education involves skills related to computer literacy, informational technology, and computer science that would allow students to be prepared for the 75% of 21st-century jobs that require STEM skills, and lets students join the technology workforce in Nebraska instead of migrating to bigger states such as California. The bill also requires each district to provide an annual status report to the state Department of Education, which will have to adopt measurable academic content standards for technology education. Originally, the senators voted 33-0 to advance the bill to select file.

Prior to the actual advocacy date, the team participated in two training sessions to get ready for the day of. Training sessions took place on March 15 and March 20 and included presentations from several guest speakers including Alan Wang, the CEO of Prairie STEM, Brandi Bollinger, from the REC Foundation, Steve Hyer, from the Student Association of STEM Advocacy, and Colby Coash, from the Nebraska Association of School Boards. The second training session also included a Kahoot! game about the Nebraskan government so students could become familiar with it.

On the day of the conference, the students arrived at the Capitol building by 9 am and were immediately met by a tour guide to visit and look around the Capitol. The group claimed a spot in the rotunda, right outside the floor, to use as their home base. Groups of four to five students left at various times to meet with different senators in their offices and converse with them about LB1112. In the afternoon, former President Jack Cenovic, former Vice-President Riley Hawkins, former Director of Curriculum Maya Savory, and current President Claire Cenovic held a press conference detailing the beneficial effects of the bill and why STEM education is crucial. Some of the students also put together a display board for a table where visitors can learn more about JuSTEMagine. The favorite activity of the students and the senators was driving a VEX robotics robot chassis constructed by robotics coach Mrs. Rise and robotics team 1028Z, which was also recorded by several news stations.

The results of the advocacy conference were tremendous and the product of immense work by the team of Legislative Advocacy and Jack Cenovic, leader of the Legislative Advocacy team.

LB1112 passed through the legislature on April 12 and was approved by the governor on

April 18. All the senators the groups talked to voted “yes” for the bill’s passing. Those senators included Senators Matt Williams, John Arch, Tony Vargas, Megan Hunt, John McCollister, and Brett Lindstrom. The bill goes into effect in the 2024-25 school year. Thank you to all who participated in the advocacy conference this year; your hard work and dedication paid off!

Special thanks to Mrs. Rise for driving the Advocacy team to the Capitol in the rain and chaperoning and also to Jack Cenovic and Sneha Selvaraj for coordinating this event.

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If you would like to participate in future JuSTEMagine advocacy events, contact JuSTEMagine at

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