By Dana Bennett, PhD, President of Nevada Mining Association
STEM education has been a hot topic in the education community for years. Intuitively, we all know that education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math is critical in the high-tech, twenty-first century economy. What may be less apparent, however, is the pivotal role mining and miners play in the high-tech world.
Mining fuels the high-tech economy. Without a healthy mining industry, a company like Tesla can’t build a single battery, much less one of its sleek electric cars. Without the critical minerals Nevada produces, smartphones wouldn’t even rise to the level of “paperweight.” From lifesaving medical equipment to drones to renewable energy, Nevada miners work every day to feed our demand for sleeker, faster, more powerful machines.
Many still perceive mining to be an “old” industry, picturing a grizzled prospector and a rusty pickaxe as his tool, but today’s mining industry is the vision’s exact opposite. Hardworking men and women show up at Nevada mines every day equipped with equipment and knowledge exemplified in STEM education. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are tools of our industry.
Advanced sciences like geology, physics and chemistry tell us where to explore for minerals and how to extract them. All manners of advanced technology allow us to do the work we do every day as efficiently and – most importantly – as safely as possible. Engineers of every stripe build and maintain mines, and monitor every last detail. And just as minerals form the underpinnings of our 21st-century lifestyle, math is the topic that knits all the work we do together.
A strong STEM education is critical to our workforce and to our growth as an industry. That is why we are proud to partner with the Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation, and Technology this December to promote these important subjects in our schools. NVMA staff and members will spend this month touring the state and visiting classrooms to promote these subjects that are critical not just to our industry, but to our very way of life.
The Nevada Mining Association named Dana Bennett as its first female president last December. Before moving to the Nevada Mining Association, she had been the Northern Nevada regional director for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.She has a background rich in historical knowledge as well as experience as a lobbyist and as a research analyst. Bennett is a Nevada native. She received her bachelor’s degree from Boise State University, her master’s degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton and her PhD from Arizona State University; all are history related. She has published a number of books, including “All Roads Lead to Battle Mountain,” and owned a historical research firm.