Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pennsylvania Students at White House Science Fair

from the inbox:

Today, President Obama will host the White House Science Fair celebrating the winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions. The White House Science Fair fulfills a commitment the President made at the launch of his Educate to Innovate campaign in November 2009 to move American students from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next decade.

“If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you're a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too,” the President said in November.

The White House Science Fair kicks off a week that culminates with the USA Science and Engineering Festival on the National Mall and in 50 satellite locations, poised to engage more than a million people nationwide.

At the White House Science Fair, President Obama will view exhibits of winning student projects, ranging from breakthrough basic research to new inventions, and will deliver remarks congratulating these students on their diligence, desire to tackle hard problems, and drive to invent and discover.

The President will also announce his personal appearance on the upcoming December 8, 2010 episode of Discovery Channel’s MythBusters, a popular television show which uses science to determine the truth behind urban legends.

Additionally, the Administration and leading companies are taking further steps to advance STEM education, which include expanding the tools of invention so that more students can directly be the “makers of things.” This includes efforts by DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), an agency that has supported key technological breakthroughs, to place 3D printers in 1000 schools and an initiative by Autodesk to make new easy-to-use design tools freely available to students, and a viral video competition by leading Fortune 500 companies to show the rewarding jobs students can get if they achieve in math and science.


President Obama has identified STEM education as necessary for laying the new foundation for America’s future prosperity. Presidential leadership on the issue has already made a difference. The President made STEM education a priority as part of the Administration’s $4 billion Race to the Top (RTT) competition. States were encouraged to develop a comprehensive strategy to improve achievement in STEM subjects, to partner with local institutions, and to broaden participation of women and underrepresented minorities. As a result, the winning states are undertaking decisive actions to embed improvements in STEM education into their overall educational plans.

These efforts by Governors, State Superintendents, industry, foundations, and science and engineering professionals to work together with students, parents and educators demonstrates the power and potential of the of the “all hands on deck” approach that the President has called for. The “Educate to Innovate” campaign has resulted in over $700 million in financial and in-kind support for STEM programs.

Pennsylvania students involved:

Best Rocketry Students in US and Abroad. Jordan Franssen and Nathan Bernhardt hail from Lancaster, Pennsylvania and represent Penn Manor High School’s rocketry team. They won both the Team America Rocketry Challenge and the Transatlantic Rocketry Challenge, giving them the title of best rocketry students in the world. The Team America Rocketry Challenge intends to spark students’ interest in aerospace careers and in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

National Winner of Largest Student Robotics Competition. Evan Ostrow, Ryan Morris, Emily Ostrow, Gina Triolo, and Jennifer Herchek hail from Ambler, Pennsylvania and represent Team #341, Wissahickon High School’s Robotics Program. They won the Chairman’s Award, the highest honor at the 2010 FIRST Robotics Championship for their robot “Miss Daisy.” The FIRST Robotics Competition challenges high-school student teams to build robots from a kit of hundreds of parts, competing against 340 teams.

Student Wins with Research on Bone Implants. Raina Jain, a senior at Freedom High School, hails from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and won first place at the International BioGENEius Challenge for her research. She analyzed whether cells adhere better to rough or smooth surfaces of Bioglass, which could lead to improved bone implants. The International BioGENEius Challenge, the premier biotechnology competition for high school students, enables students to research in biotechnology and design an original independent project.

Congratulations to all those talented young Pennsylvanians!!!

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