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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Science at the White House

President launches marshmallows.

President Obama hosted his second Science Fair at the White House today, recognizing students from across the country for their innovation and contributions in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

President Obama reviews a robot that plays soccer.  White House photo.

Joking that their were robots running around the house, the president said, "I still don't know how they managed to get through the medal detectors".

Among the science fair creations was a robot dubbed "Skype on Wheels" created by fourteen-year old  student Benjamin Hylak of West Grove, Pennsylvania. His bot is made out of a trash can with a computer monitor on top.  The robot was invented to help nursing home patients connect with family their family members.

"This is what we should be talking about", said President Obama.

The president, natually, tried out one of the science projects - a marshmallow compressor, launching a marshmallow across the room that eventually landed against the wall near the entrance to the Red Room.

"Secret Service is going to be mad at me about this" he said.



Other students participating at todays Science Fair included:
The Paul Robeson/Malcolm X Academy student team from Detroit, Michigan, competed in the Michigan Regional Contest of the National Engineers Week Future City Competition for the second year in a row.  Lucas Cain Beal, Jayla Mae Dogan, and Ashley Cassie Thomas, all aged 13, were part of a team that won the Excellence in Engineering Award at the 2012 Michigan Regional Competition focused on designing a city around the theme of "Fuel Your Future: Imagine New Ways to Meet Our Energy Needs and Maintain a Healthy Planet."   After being named Best Rookie Team in 2011, the students had to overcome losing their school to a fire.  Despite the adversity and having to merge with another school, the students were energized to take on the Future City challenge again, saying “(Future City) helps me make a better city to live in.”

Building an Award-Winning Robot and Learning Entrepreneurial Lessons.   Morgan Ard, Titus Walker, and Robert Knight, III, 8th grade students at Monroeville Jr. High School in Monroeville, Alabama won high honors at the South BEST robotics competition.  BEST teams mimic industry by designing and developing a product and delivering it to market, including a marketing presentation, engineering notebook, trade-show style exhibit booth and robot competition.   Through the experience, these middle school students not only learned the innovation and engineering  necessary to develop an award-winning robot, but the marketing and business  skills that spark true entrepreneurial spirit.
Student “Making” and Starting Small Business to Sell his Invention.   Fourteen year old Joey Hudy fromPhoenix, Arizona is already a Maker Faire veteran.  He invented an Extreme Marshmallow Cannon and an LED Cube Microcontroller Shield, which he has exhibited at Maker Faires in New York, San Francisco, and Detroit.  He received 2 Editors Choice Awards from Maker Faire, and has started a small business selling the microcontroller (Arduino) shield kits on several websites.  As the World's Largest Do-It-Yourself Festival, Maker Faire is the premier event for grassroots American innovation.

Developing a Portable Disaster Relief Shelter. Jessica D’Esposito, Colton Newton and Anna Woolery from Petersburg, Indiana are representing the Pike Central High School InvenTeam, one of fifteen schools selected nationwide.  They won a grant from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop a lightweight, portable disaster relief shelter, designed to be complete with a water purification system and a renewable energy source to power an LED light, which could be used after disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, or tornadoes to house people who have been displaced.

Young Women Rocketing to Nationals.  Janet Nieto and Ana Karen of Presidio, Texas were members of the Presidio High School Rocketry Team that competed as a National Finalist in the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) in 2009, 2010, and 2011.  Gwynelle Condino, a 7th grade student at Lucy Franco Middle School, also of Presidio, Texas, is the leader of her TARC team this year.  All three girls have successfully competed in a number of rocketry challenges and have attended the NASA Student Launch Initiative Advanced Rocketry program.

Team of Girl Scouts Seeking Patent on Prosthetic Hand Device Which Enables a Young Girl to Write.  A group of middle school-aged Girl Scouts from Ames, Iowa, including Gaby Dempsey, Mackenzie Gewell, and Kate Murray developed a patent-pending prosthetic hand device, winning them the inaugural Global Innovation Award at the FIRST LEGO League competition, beating out nearly 200 other submissions.  Their invention was in response to the need of a little old girl in Duluth, Georgia, enabling her to write for the first time although she was born without fingers on her right hand.  Their patent pending BOB-1 has earned the girls the Heartland Red Cross Young Heroes Award, scholarships at Iowa State University College of Engineering, recognition on the Floor of the Iowa and the US House of Representatives, and the title of finalists for the 2011 Pioneer Hi-Bred Iowa Women of Innovation Awards.

Teenage CEO Inventing Dissolvable Sugar Packets to Reduce Waste.  Hayley Hoverter, a 16 years old student from Downtown Business Magnet High School in Los Angeles, California, won first place at the 2011 Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship's National Challenge for her idea for patent-pending ecologically conscious dissolvable sugar packets.  Hayley, now CEO of Sweet (dis)SOLVE, started her business as a part of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE's) business plan competition.

The Obama administration plans to invest $80 million to help prepare effective STEM teachers. The President’s upcoming budget will request $80 million for a new competition by the Department of Education to support effective STEM teacher preparation programs, such as those that allow students to simultaneously earn both a STEM degree and a teaching certificate, and provide undergraduates with early and intensive experiences in the classroom honing their skills.

A new $22 million investment from the philanthropic and private sector to complement the Administration’s efforts: After the President issued his call to action to recruit and prepare 100,000 effective STEM teachers, over 115 organizations, led by Carnegie Corporation of New York and Opportunity Equation, came together to form a coalition called “100Kin10” to help reach the President’s goal.

Fourteen of those organizations include Carnegie, Google, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr., Bill & Melinda Gates, Freeport McMoran, and Michael and Susan Dell Foundations who are announcing a $22 million fund to invest in STEM teacher preparation and support. In addition, other 100Kin10 partners are making over 100 individual commitments.

The National Math and Science Initiative will prepare 4,000 new STEM teachers from 31 UT each sites by 2015.  Teach for America will recruit 11,000 STEM Corps members by 2015 and connect other qualified applicants to additional STEM teaching opportunities while Donors Choose will inspire 50,000 citizens to sponsor projects in math and science classrooms over the next two years, delivering $15M in critical classroom resources and helping 600,000 students nationwide.  The very popular interactive Google will share its talent management practices to help find, grow, and retain outstanding STEM teachers by partnering with districts and organizations for comprehensive reform and hosting talent academies with administrators and decision-makers.  In addition, California State University will prepare 1,500 new math and science teachers annually through 2015, half of whom will teach in high-need schools for at least three years and 10% of whom will earn dual certification, addressing the needs of hard-to-staff schools.  The University of Chicago will create a framework for organizing the learning that results from “100Kin10” investments and coordinate research among the partners.

A complete list of partners, and their commitments, is available at www.100Kin10.org.

Also participating in today's Science Fair were Bill Nye, the Science Guy, and the administration's EPA director Lisa Jackson.

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