Upton proposes raising funds for STEM programs through sale of commemorative coin

Christa McAuliffe

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) sought to cultivate support for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs through the proceeds from the sale of a commemorative coin honoring Christa McAuliffe, an astronaut aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger.

Upton on Tuesday introduced the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act, H.R. 5168, which would mint a $1 commemorative coin to recognize McAuliffe, a teacher who perished in the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy. Proceeds would benefit a leading nationwide nonprofit STEM program called FIRST Robotics.

“Michigan has the most FIRST Robotics teams in the country,” Upton said. “Students on these teams grow up to become inventors, engineers, small business owners and community leaders. A few might even end up as the astronauts whose vision extends beyond our world, to new planets and galaxies — just like Christa McAuliffe. It is vitally important that we continue to encourage this type of inventive learning and team building.”

Under H.R. 5168, FIRST Robotics would receive all profits from the commemorative coin after the Treasury recovers minting costs.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), who introduced the bipartisan measure with Upton, said it would support FIRST Robotics’ mission to encourage students to pursue STEM careers.

“We need to encourage this talent and creativity,” Dingell said. “This coin provides a pathway to support these efforts while honoring an individual who inspired generations to enter the STEM field.”