Magazine article Science News

The White House Hosts Student Researchers

Magazine article Science News

The White House Hosts Student Researchers

Article excerpt

One hundred U.S. students got to discuss science and engineering with President Barack Obama.

The White House invited these middle school and high school students to honor their individual or team research--and to showcase the developments by nearly half of them. During a photo opportunity, the president even shook hands with a prosthetic arm designed by one young engineer.

Also on hand to meet the young researchers: the president's science advisers, members of Congress and leading science communicators.

It all took place at the third White House Science Fair, on April 22. Held on the 43rd anniversary of the first Earth Day, it hosted students from more than 40 states. They represented 45 different competitions and organizations that seek to inspire students to excel in science, technology, engineering and math--the so-called STEM fields. Fourteen of the honorees had taken part in at least one of the major science competitions run by SSP.

The president hosted the event on the South Lawn of the White House and in the State Dining Room. After touring the students' projects, Obama launched into a small speech by noting that "in my official capacity as President, this stuff is really cool."

The president's remarks mentioned 16-year-old Jack Andraka and the novel test he designed to detect pancreatic cancer.

"Not bad," the president noted, "for a guy who is just barely old enough to drive."

Not bad, indeed. Andraka's efforts garnered more than a half dozen awards at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2012, including the $75.000 top prize.

Sara Volz, 17, from Colorado Springs, Colo., also got an extended shout-out from the president. This Cheyenne Mountain High School senior had also competed in challenges sponsored by SSP. The president noted that "One reporter asked her, 'Exactly what is growing under your bed that's going to save the planet? …

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