Students Recognized For Work In STEM Fields
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and other senior agency
officials joined President Obama in honoring student science fair
winners from across the country at the second annual White House
Science Fair Tuesday in the East Wing of the White House. The event
highlighted student achievement and excellence in science,
technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.
In November 2009, the president announced his "Educate to
Innovate" campaign and emphasized the importance of encouraging
students to pursue STEM studies and careers. NASA has developed a
wide variety of education programs that use the inherent excitement
of space exploration and science to inspire students and generate
interest in STEM. "Programs like this science fair help students
develop critical skills and get hands-on experience that will serve
them and our nation well in the future," Bolden said. "These
talented students are tomorrow's science leaders, and their skills
will be critical to helping us make an American economy built to
Joining Bolden at the event were NASA's Associate Administrator
for Education Leland Melvin and Associate Administrator for Science
John Grunsfeld. Both Melvin and Grunsfeld also are veteran space
shuttle astronauts who frequently use their flight experiences as
catalysts for engaging students' interest in space and science.
NASA Chief Technologist, Mason Peck, NASA Chief Scientist Waleed
Abdalati, and Paul Hertz, chief scientist for the agency's Science
Mission Directorate, also attended the fair and met with student
Among the winning science experiments displayed at the White
House today were two that related directly to NASA's mission,
including entries from a girls' rocket team and a FIRST Robotics
alliance. The "Young Women Rocketing to Nationals" team featured
Janet and Ana Karen Nieto of Presidio, TX, who are members of the
Presidio High School Rocketry Team that competed as a national
finalist in the Team America Rocketry Challenge in 2009, 2010, and
2011. Gwynelle Condino, a 7th grade student at Lucy Franco Middle
School in Presidio, is the team's leader this year.
"A Winning Robotics Alliance, with Astronauts Cheering Them On"
team was comprised of John Drake of Schaumburg, IL, Sean Murphy of
Atascadero, CA, and Eric Bakan of San Jose, CA. They represented
the winning alliance of the 2011 FIRST Robotics Competition
Championship and were mentored by engineers at NASA's Ames Research
Center in Moffett Field, CA.
Two other NASA-related education programs also were represented
at the event. Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the
Environment (GLOBE), is a hands-on, primary and secondary
school-based science and education program where students, teachers
and scientists worldwide collaborate on investigations of the
environment and the Earth system. Participants work in close
partnership with NASA and other federal agencies.
The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) was launched
in June 2010 by the National Center for Earth and Space Science
Education, in partnership with NanoRacks, LLC. Student teams in
grades 5-12 propose microgravity experiments for flight in a
research minilab that may be flown to the International Space
Station. SSEP is enabled through a space act agreement as part of
the International Space Station's use as a National Laboratory.