Obama promotes math, tech aid at science fair
by Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press
May 27, 2014 02:25 PM | 1058 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
President Barack Obama speaks with some of the 2014 White House Science Fair kids behind him, Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Obama was celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Barack Obama speaks with some of the 2014 White House Science Fair kids behind him, Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Obama was celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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President Barack Obama talks with Elana Simon, 18, of New York City, about her cancer research project that is part of the 2014 White House Science Fair exhibit on display in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Simon, at age 12, was diagnosed with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, a little-known form of cancer that affects the liver. After surviving the disease, she now helps scientists research the genetics behind it. Obama was celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Barack Obama talks with Elana Simon, 18, of New York City, about her cancer research project that is part of the 2014 White House Science Fair exhibit on display in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Simon, at age 12, was diagnosed with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, a little-known form of cancer that affects the liver. After surviving the disease, she now helps scientists research the genetics behind it. Obama was celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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President Barack Obama talks with Elana Simon, 18, of New York City, about her cancer research project that is part of the 2014 White House Science Fair exhibit on display in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Simon, at age 12, was diagnosed with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, a little-known form of cancer that affects the liver. After surviving the disease, she now helps scientists research the genetics behind it. Obama was celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Barack Obama talks with Elana Simon, 18, of New York City, about her cancer research project that is part of the 2014 White House Science Fair exhibit on display in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Simon, at age 12, was diagnosed with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, a little-known form of cancer that affects the liver. After surviving the disease, she now helps scientists research the genetics behind it. Obama was celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama drew attention to girls' science and engineering accomplishments Tuesday as he announced new teacher training competition as well as mentoring efforts to improve and diversify the nation's technological workforce.

The president pointed out that men outnumber women studying and working in science and that women earn fewer than one in five bachelor's degrees in engineering and computer science.

"Half our team we're not even putting on the field," he said, after touring exhibits at the annual White House Science Fair. "We've got to change those numbers."

Obama announced a new $35 million Education Department competition to train the best math and science teachers. He also announced an expansion of AmeriCorps to help teach science and math courses to 18,000 low-income students this summer, and national science and math mentoring projects in Chicago; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Allentown, Pennsylvania; Indianapolis; the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina; and Wichita, Kansas.

He noted that he often greets champion athletes at the White House, most recently the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. But he said accomplished students deserve such honors, too.

"As a society, we have to celebrate outstanding work by young people in science at least as much as we do Super Bowl winners because super-star biologists and engineers and rocket scientists and robot builders, they don't always get the attention that they deserve, but they're what's going to transform our society," he said.

Among the displays are a "concussion cushion" designed by a 19-year-old Maria Hanes of Santa Cruz, California, who aspires to be the first female collegiate head football coach. Two Massachusetts high school students, Olivia Van Amsterdam and Katelyn Sweeney, exhibited a rescue robot. Eighteen-year-old Elana Simon of New York, a high school senior and cancer survivor, described how her illness prompted her to become interested in cancer research.

And Peyton Robertson, a 12-year-old from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, wowed Obama with two inventions -- "sandless" flood retention sandbags and retractable bicycle wheels.

"If you can buy stock in Peyton," Obama said chuckling, "you should do so now."



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