My father came to America as a refugee. When my brother and I were growing up, my dad constantly reminded us of the importance of our own education because it was something that could “never be taken away”. As a mother and former educator with Teach For America, I firmly believe access to quality, affordable education for all children is critical. After leaving the classroom, I served as President and COO/CFO of a Philadelphia-based nonprofit focused on improving early childhood literacy in underserved communities across the nation.
I used this firsthand experience to draft and introduce the bipartisan READ Act. This legislation would create a grant program allowing states to help teachers access resources for literacy instruction and for identifying at-risk students. I also know that when our teachers are supported, our students benefit. That’s why I cosponsored the bipartisan Teacher Diversity and Retention Act and the bipartisan Supporting Early-childhood Educators’ Deductions (SEED) Act.
Growing up as a Navy dependent and then during my time of service in the Air Force, I understand the unique pressures military families experience in educating their children. I introduced the bipartisan CLIMB Act to permanently authorize popular programs on military installations and at military treatment facilities that help improve childhood literacy in military families by providing age-appropriate books to children during their wellness checks ages 0-5 (twice a year).
As an engineer, I will always look for ways to support STEM and STEAM education and workforce development. The economy of the 21st century requires a workforce with 21st century skills. STEM and STEAM instruction are a key element in helping our students gain the knowledge necessary to become our country’s next innovators and entrepreneurs. To address the STEAM skill shortage, I introduced the bipartisan Mathematical and Statistical Modeling Education Act, which would advance innovative approaches to support and sustain high-quality mathematical modeling education. I am proud to say that this bipartisan bill passed the House by a wide margin.
I also cosponsored the bipartisan Rural STEM Education Research Act to make sure that all corners of our district and our nation benefit from STEM education programs. By investing in STEAM education, our students and workforce will be better prepared for the rapidly evolving needs of the public and private sector in the 21st century.
I am the co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Women in STEM Caucus, which is dedicated to advancing the crucial role that women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine play in boosting our economy, performing cutting-edge research, and furthering our nation’s scientific enterprise.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was proud to help pass the Elementary and Secondary School Relief Fund, which provided federal funds through the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan to support Pennsylvania’s schools and keep our students safe. I also support robust funding for Title I to support students from low-income families, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to provide students with disabilities the opportunity to reach their full potential, and other federal programs to strengthen, expand, and diversify our education workforce. To support students’ mental health, I cosponsored the bipartisan Mental Health Services for Students Act, which would provide funding for school-based mental health programming and outreach.
As our community’s Representative, I am committed to championing policies that promote educational opportunities – from early learning programs to adult literacy programs – for all Americans. I am focusing on increasing access, paying our educators a living wage, and investing in America’s future.