Obama Praises Young Scientists, Pledges $240 Million for STEM Education at White House Science Fair

President Obama hosts the White House Science Fair on March 23, 2015. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jack Gruber, USA TODAY)
President Obama hosts the White House Science Fair on March 23, 2015. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jack Gruber, USA TODAY)

President Obama praised an array of student science projects Monday, as well as up to $240 million in private sector pledges for education in what officials call STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Young scientists, mathematicians and engineers are “critical to our future” and will “define the contours of the 21st Century,” Obama told the winners of the fifth annual White House Science Fair.

The president praised winning science projects that included efforts to turn algae into a fuel source, create a new treatment for curvature of the spine, and block hackers and other computer data thieves.

Other projects involve new blood tests to assess heart function, and an artificial intelligence program to speed up the process of finding the right drugs for certain diseases.

The president singled out a group of kindergarten and first-grade girls who developed a page-turning machine — made of Legos — for handicapped people who want to read.

The girls came up with the idea after a “brainstorming session,” Obama said, and the machine is only a “prototype.”

One of the girls asked, “‘Mr. President, have you had brainstorming sessions?'” the president reported. “I said, yes, but I didn’t come up with something as cool as this.”

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SOURCE: USA Today, David Jackson

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