President Barack Obama holds a model used to show how polymers expand and learns how sand less sandbags that are the invention of Peyton Robertson, 12, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., work, while touring the 2014 White House Science Fair exhibits on display in the State Dining Room of the White House. Robertson designed a new kind of sandbag to protect against flooding from hurricanes and other disasters. President Obama was celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country
President Barack Obama holds up a model of a flu “bug” as he looks over the flu research display of Eric Chen, 18, of San Diego, California
President Barack Obama poses for a photo with Karen Fan, 17, and Felege Gebru, 18, both of Newton, Massachusetts.
President Barack Obama listens to Elana Simon of New York explain her project about cancer
ABC News: President Obama Unleashes His ‘Inner Nerd’ At White House Science Fair
President Obama today shined the spotlight on 100 students from 30 states whose work in science, technology and engineering he says should inspire others to excel in the field. “As a society, we have to celebrate outstanding work by young people in science at least as much as we do Super Bowl winners,” he said. Obama said this year’s White House science fair put special emphasis on “amazing girls and young women” to encourage more to pursue careers in science. “I have a confession to make. When I was growing up my science fair projects were not as successful as those here,” Obama joked.
He said he killed a bunch of plants in one project; in another, he said mice escaped in his grandmother’s apartment. Obama also got an up close look at several of the exhibits. He tried on a “concussion helmet” designed by one young lady; chatted with three 6th graders about their “app” that helps disabled kids navigate from class to class at school; and viewed a robot designed by Natick, Mass., HS students that helps with icy water search and rescue. Obama tried and tested the robot, and the kids joked that he was now certified in ice rescue. “I love this event. This is one of my favorite things all year long,” Obama later told the crowd.
President Barack Obama poses with John Moore and Lidia Wolf of Chicago after they explained their FIRST robot project
Alan Boyle: Obama Unleashes His Inner Geek (Again) At White House Science Fair
Science education went to the head of the class at the White House on Tuesday, with President Barack Obama announcing a $35 million competition for teacher training programs — and checking out an all-star lineup of science fair projects. “I love this event!” Obama told an audience of students, teachers and VIPs. “This is one of my favorite things all year long.” The president chatted with kids from more than two dozen science-fair teams as he made his way through the State Dining Room. “We’re so proud of you,” Obama told Elana Simon, an 18-year-old from New York who survived a bout with a rare liver cancer when she was 12 and developed a genetic database for patients with the same disease. “Can I just say, I did not do this at 12, 13, or 18. … This is just a sample of the kind of outstanding young talent that we’ve got.”
At one point, he lingered to play catch with a catapult that was built by a group of Massachusetts teens to study basketball shooting technique. “Last time I was here, there was a guy shooting marshmallows … that thing went fast!” Obama said, recalling a science-fair demonstration that went viral in 2012. The president looked up at the ceiling and joked, “That marshmallow might still be there.” Among this year’s announcements was the latest twist in Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign to spark interest in science careers: an additional $35 million in grants, to be awarded competitively to programs that provide preparation and training for STEM teachers. Other newly announced initiatives included: Expansion of the STEM AmeriCorps program, which was launched at last year’s White House Science Fair, to provide learning opportunities for 18,000 low-income students this summer.
Obama: "We’re putting a special focus on all the inspiring girls and young women who are excelling in science." http://t.co/1lCofhloV4
New mentoring programs in seven cities, supported by the public-private US2020 effort. The cities include Allentown, Pennsylvania; Chicago; Indianapolis; North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park; Philadelphia; San Francisco; and Wichita, Kansas. A nationwide campaign called “Aprender es Triunfar,” aimed at inspiring Latino STEM students. A centerpiece of the campaign, launched by NBC Universal’s Hispanic Enterprises and Content, is a new documentary film titled “Underwater Dreams.” A grant from Esri to make its cloud-based advanced mapping software available for free to more than 100,000 elementary, middle and high schools as part of the White House’s ConnectED Initiative. A series of interactive online lessons to help more students learn the math and science behind going to Mars, presented by Khan Academy and NASA.
First Lady Michelle Obama smiles after being introduced during Topeka Public Schools Senior Recognition Program in Topeka, Kansas
KCTV5: Michelle Obama Urges Topeka Seniors To Help Break Barriers
To mark the 60th anniversary of a landmark school desegregation decision, first lady Michelle Obama traveled to Topeka on Friday to address graduating high school seniors. First lady Michelle Obama said that young people who’ve grown up with diversity must lead a national fight against prejudice and discrimination because after six decades, the Brown v. Board of Education ruling against school segregation is “still being decided every single day.” Obama is participating in “senior recognition day,” in which she spoke to 1,000 seniors from Topeka’s public schools during an event at Landon Arena. “It’s really an honor. I’m glad to see her here,” Topeka High senior Corrie Barnes said. “We never have people really professional to come down here.” The White House noted that Topeka is home to the historic case that outlawed racial desegregation and declared education “must be made available to all on equal terms.” Her speech came the day before the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in the Brown case, which takes its title from a federal lawsuit filed by parents in Topeka.
She noted that her special assistant, Kristen Jarvis, is the grandniece of Lucinda Todd, a leader with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Topeka in the 1940s and 1950s, the first parent to sign onto the lawsuit challenging the city’s segregated schools. She said Todd, who died in 1996, is an example of people who “choose our better history.” “Every day, you have that same power to choose our better history — by opening your hearts and minds, by speaking up for what you know is right, by sharing the lessons of Brown v. Board of Education, the lessons you learned right here in Topeka, wherever you go for the rest of your lives,” Obama said in remarks prepared for delivery. Jasmine Drone was excited about the address. “My sister graduated last year and she’s like, ‘I don’t remember who spoke,’ and that was just last year. It’s an honor because I’m going to remember this,” Drone said. Lauren Sherwood, who was picked to introduce Obama, concurred, saying having a first lady in Topeka is an honor. “If anyone would overshadow my graduation, I think first lady Michelle Obama would be the person to get away with that,” Sherwood said. “So I’m perfectly content with that.”
First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during Topeka Public Schools Senior Recognition Program in Topeka, Kansas
Brad Cooper: Michelle Obama Challenges Topeka Grads To Fight Inequality
Our water fountains aren’t segregated. Our movie theaters aren’t segregated. And our schools aren’t segregated. But in many ways we are still a separate-but-equal country, First Lady Michelle Obama told graduating seniors from five Topeka high schools Friday night. “Our laws may no longer separate us based on our skin color, but there’s nothing in our Constitution that says we have to eat together in the lunch room or live together in the same neighborhoods,” Obama told a full house at the 8,000-seat Kansas Expocentre. “There’s no court case against believing in stereotypes or thinking that certain kinds of hateful jokes or comments are funny. Many school districts, she said, are withdrawing efforts to integrate their students and communities are becoming less diverse as people flee cities for the suburbs. “As a result, many young people in America are going to school with kids who look just like them,” Obama said. “And too often, those schools aren’t equal, especially ones attended by students of color, which too often lag behind with crumbling classrooms and less experienced teachers.”
“Too many folks are still stopped on the street because of the color of their skin, or they’re made to feel unwelcome because of where they’re from, or they’re bullied because of who they love.” The Brown decision, she said, isn’t about the past. It’s about the future. She called on students to battle deep-seated prejudices that persist years after the civil rights movement swept across the country. “Graduates, it’s up to all of you to lead the way and drag my generation and your grandparents’ generation along with you,” she said. “When you meet folks who think they know all the answers because they’ve never heard any other viewpoints, it’s up to you to help them see thing’s differently.” Students were moved by the speech, especially Lauren Sherwood who introduced Obama on Friday night. “It’s absolutely insane. I can’t believe it just happened,” the Topeka High School student said afterward. “It will be hard for anything else in my life to top this.” Sherwood called the address “everything you could have hoped for in a graduation speech plus more.” “I had a little tear in my eye because it was just beautiful,” she said.