Obama Hosts First Annual White House Science Fair

In an effort to push the importance of STEM education in the United States, President Obama hosted the first annual White House Science fair on October 18th.   The event celebrated the winners of a broad range of student competitions in science, math, engineering, and technology.   The science fair event comes out of the Educate to Innovate campaign launched by Obama in November of 2009 as a public-private partnership to advance STEM education.  The main goal of the campaign is to inspire young people to consider careers in the STEM fields.  During the event, Obama spent some time viewing exhibits of the winning students projects, ranging from breakthrough basic research to new inventions, and then addressed the crowd of students, STEM educators, and business leaders on the importance of STEM education for the nation’s economic future.

An excerpt from Obama’s speech at the October 19th event: “So we welcome championship sports teams to the White House to celebrate their victories.  I’ve had the Lakers here.  I’ve had the Saints here, the Crimson Tide.  I thought we ought to do the same thing for the winners of science fair and robotic contests, and math competitions, because often we don’t give these victories the attention that they deserve…. What happens when a young person is engaged in conducting an experiment, or writing a piece of software, or solving a hard math problem, or designing a new gadget.  It’s in these pursuits that talents are discovered and passions are lit, and the future scientists, engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs are born. ”   Click here to see Obama’s entire speech.

Obama announced that he’s going to be making a guest appearance on the December 8th episode of the Discovery Channel’s, Mythbusters.  This popular television program uses science to determine the accuracy of urban myths. Additionally, Obama discussed the steps his administration and leading companies are taking to further advance STEM education.  This includes efforts by DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) to place 3D printers in 1000 schools and an initiative by Autodesk to make new easy-to-use design tools freely available to students.   Obama also touched upon a viral video competition by leading fortune 500 companies, developed to show the rewarding jobs students can get if they achieve in math and science.

Article by RACCEMS’s Graduate Assistant Katie Monroe at kmonroe6@naz.edu

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