Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren was in western Massachusetts today where she offered words of encouragement to teenage girls taking part in a summer science and technology education program and attended a swearing in ceremony for a new federal judge.
Briefly addressing about 50 teenage girls who are participating in a collaborative program of Holyoke Girls Inc. and UMass Amherst, the state’s senior U.S. Senator pointed to herself as an example of what the girls can achieve with the right amount of support and encouragement.
"There was a time in my life when I didn't think there was going to be much ahead of me," Warren told the girls. " When I got a chance I took hold of it. I had a lot of help from girls and teachers along the way, and I ended up in the U.S Senate. You can do the same thing," she said as the audience cheered.
The Eureka program introduces girls to science, technology, engineering and math. They participate in laboratory experiments on the UMass Amherst campus under the supervision of faculty and graduate students, who volunteer for the program.
" This is not only about the future for these girls. These girls are our future," said Warren.
The four-week summer session of the program is coming to end. Gov. Deval Patrick visited the Holyoke program two weeks ago.
Warren said hearing the girls talk enthusiastically about how much they enjoyed their experiences at UMass made her more determined to address the student debt crisis – an issue Warren has championed since going to Washington last year.
Holyoke Girls Inc. Executive Director Suzanne Parker said this is the second year of the Eureka program.
"People recognize there is a huge need to inspire girls, especially girls of color, to pursue science, technology, engineering and math careers. The partnership we have with the University of Massachusetts makes his program special."
UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said the university is an eager partner in the program.
"Our faculty are very much engaged in reaching out to communites. Holyoke, with school performance being what it is, is an inviting target."
Warren also attended a swearing in ceremony in Springfield for U.S. District Court Judge Mark Mastroianni. The nomination of the former Hampden District Attorney to the vacant federal bench in western Massachusetts was confirmed by the Senate two months ago. Mastroianni started hearing cases in late June.