In the United States, the position of laureate--the only national one of which is the poet laureate--is a largely ceremonial position. The poet laureate receives a small stipend of $35,000 a year and is given a platform to promote poetry and literature through readings, appearances, and new projects (some have promoted African diaspora poetry, some have attempted to get poetry and fiction into places like airports and waiting rooms, some have encouraged early education). The proposed science laureate would have a similar duty: Mazie Hirono, the Hawaii Democrat who co-sponsored the bill, described it as "a national role model who can encourage students to learn more about the sciences. By elevating great American scientific communicators, we can empower students--especially girls and minorities--to get excited about science." It would be an unpaid position, to be held by up to three notable American scientists.