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Cyclists Hit the Road for STEM Education

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SOURCE AFCEA International

Ride raises awareness as well as funds for AFCEA Educational Foundation scholarships and grants.

FAIRFAX, Va., July 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The facts speak for themselves. A study by the National Math + Science Initiative (https://www.nms.org/), a public-private partnership, revealed that in 2013, only 44 percent and only 36 percent of U.S. high school graduates were ready for college-level math and science, respectively.

In 2013, the AFCEA International Cycle for STEM 2013 team cycled from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., raising $45,000 for scholarships and grants. This year, the goal is to raise $75,000.

These numbers are staggering, so last year the AFCEA Educational Foundation decided to help do something about them. To raise funds and awareness of the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, AFCEA International staff members organized Cycle for STEM (www.afcea.org/events/cycleforstem/14/index.asp), a six-day adventure from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. Pedaling 335 miles, 10 cyclists raised more than $32,000 for STEM scholarships and grants that support both students and STEM teachers.

The journey continues July 13-19 when 15 cyclists will hit the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal Towpath again, and more than two dozen cyclists join them along the way. So far, the team has raised approximately $45,000; the goal is to hit the $75,000 mark.

"STEM education is crucial to future innovation," says Sean McGowan, director, member and chapter services, AFCEA International, and one of the event's organizers and riders. "While interest and involvement in STEM fields continues to fall in the United States, the cost of higher education continues to rise. Cycle for STEM is just one way we can address both of these issues."

Another organizer and participant, Terry Rogers, manager of events, AFCEA, agrees. "It's a win-win-win event. We raise awareness of STEM education. We help students as well as teachers in the STEM education pipeline by raising the funds they need. We love to cycle for exercise. There's no down-side here," he says.

Several of AFCEA's chapters also have decided to take up the cause this year. Members of the Kaiserslautern Chapter will hold a Cycle for STEM ride in August from Bonn, Germany to Ramstein AFB, and the ArkLaTex Chapter is organizing a ride in September from Shreveport, Louisiana, to Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Follow the riders on Facebook (www.facebook.com/cycleforstem), Twitter (@cycleforstem) and Tumblr (cycleforstem.tumblr.com).

To contribute to the Cycle for STEM team, information is available online (http://www.afcea.org/events/cycleforstem/14/donate.asp).

AFCEA International, established in 1946, is a non-profit membership association serving the military, government, industry, and academia. For more information and to join, visit www.afcea.org.

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