It’s not every day that high school students get the chance to meet a renowned physicist. But Arkansas high school students spent Tuesday listening to Dr. James Gates, a noted African-American theoretical physicist, talk about his career and the importance of a STEM education, TakePart.com reports.

“There are half of million jobs that can’t find Americans to hire because they don’t have the skills level,” he told the packed auditorium at Philander Smith College in Little Rock. “These are the jobs you most want to have in the future.”

Who could fill those? More students who focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) classes in high school and college. Gates is a professor of physics at the University of Maryland in College Park but also serves on President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. In that capacity, he advises Obama on myriad topics including the increasing need for STEM education in the United States…

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