Office of Science and Technology Policy Blog
- Posted byon January 27, 2014 at 7:29 PM EDT
Joey Hudy shot to fame in 2012 when, at 14-years-old, he attended the White House Science Fair where the President took a turn using the contraption he had made - the “extreme marshmallow cannon”. Joey then handed the President a card with his credo: “Don’t be bored, make something.”
We are also excited that Joey, Tyrone, and some of America’s top STEM doers, innovators, and thinkers will continue the celebration of all things STEM on the day after State of the Union, by participating in the second annual State of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (“SoSTEM”) event at the White House. At SoSTEM, more than 100 DC-area middle- and high-school students will have an opportunity to hear from and ask questions of John P. Holdren, President Obama’s Science Advisor, Todd Park, US Chief Technology Officer, and an awesome lineup of science and technology all-stars, to include:
Joey Hudy (Anthem, AZ ) is a self-described “Maker,” part of a growing community of young people, adults, and entrepreneurs who are designing and building things on their own time. Joey first shot to fame in 2012 when, at 14-years-old, he attended the White House Science Fair where the President took a turn using the contraption he had made -- the “extreme marshmallow cannon” – and launched a marshmallow across the East Room. Joey then handed the President a card with his credo: “Don’t be bored, make something.” Now 16, "Joey Marshmallow" has continued to live by his motto, appearing at Maker Faires all across the country. Joey, a proponent of STEM education, is determined to teach other kids about how they can make and do anything they want. Joey lives in Anthem, Arizona with his mom, dad, and older sister, and attends Herberger Young Scholars Academy on the campus of Arizona State University. Earlier this month, he started as Intel’s youngest intern, a position Intel CEO Brian Krzanich offered him on the spot at his Maker Faire exhibit. Joey will be seated in the box with the First Lady, Dr. Biden and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, at the State of the Union Address this Tuesday.
- Posted byon January 23, 2014 at 2:10 PM EDT
OSTP Director John P. Holdren congratulated the General Services Administration's Challenge.gov team for its selection as recipient of the Innovations in American Government Award from the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University on January 23, 2014, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Cristin Dorgelo)
This award further highlights our excitement about the innovations being unleashed by public prizes and challenges, and the value of these solutions being developed by citizen solvers to address tough problems.
Since its launch in September 2010 by the General Services Administration (GSA), Challenge.gov has become a one-stop shop where entrepreneurs and citizen solvers can find public-sector prize competitions. The website has been used by nearly 60 Federal agencies to source solutions to over 300 incentive prizes and challenges and to engage more than 42,000 citizen solvers.
In celebration of the award, stakeholders from across the Federal Government as well as the nonprofit and private sectors, gathered at GSA headquarters in Washington, DC, this morning for a ceremony which featured remarks from OSTP Director John P. Holdren, GSA Administrator Tangherlini, Harvard University’s Stephen Goldsmith, and Innovation Awards committee member Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. The ceremony also showcased examples of innovative citizen-developed solutions, including a display featuring a flexible astronaut glove designed by an entrepreneur in response to a challenge from NASA in 2009—along with a host of other prize-winning gadgets.
- Posted byon January 22, 2014 at 3:08 PM EDT
Data about the Earth have long been vital to our Nation’s progress. Thomas Jefferson looked to Lewis and Clark to collect and bring back weather, water, and other data from their expeditions, and used those data to guide the development of frontier settlements and spur economic growth.
That tradition continues today on a global scale, as the United States and other nations collect and share high quality data about the Earth that can help save lives and grow the economy. Data about weather systems, crops, and ecosystems, for example, help growers plan for planting and harvesting, help speed relief to disaster victims, and provide accurate information to decision makers and resource managers in every region of the country.
Many nations around the world invest in the collection of data about the Earth, using a diverse array of sophisticated scientific instruments, and storing data that are collected in many different formats. Cooperation among partner nations is critically important to ensuring that scientists, researchers, decision makers, and innovators can extract the best value from these large and diverse datasets—wherever they may originate.
The United States works to achieve this goal by collaborating closely with international partners as part of the Group on Earth Observations, or GEO.
Last week, at a series of meetings in Geneva, the United States marked its founding role in establishing GEO a decade ago—which today comprises 90 members and 77 participating organizations—and celebrated an important milestone as GEO’s charter was renewed for another 10 years.
- Posted byon January 17, 2014 at 12:45 PM EDT
Today, OSTP’s Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs, Patricia Falcone and Joining Forces Executive Director, Colonel Rich Morales, are visiting Aberdeen High School in Aberdeen, MD, celebrating that school’s designation by the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) as NMSI’s “School of the Year.”
Aberdeen High is one of the Nation’s many schools with a high proportion of students whose parents are in the military—in this case, serving at the U.S. Army base at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG). These children often face unique academic challenges, in part because their parents tend to move so frequently. That’s why, in 2010, OSTP and the White House Joining Forces initiative worked with NMSI to bring NMSI’s Comprehensive Advanced Placement (AP) Program to schools that serve large numbers of military families. The Program provides enhanced teacher training and mentorship, extra time on-task for students, Saturday study sessions, and incentives for students and teachers, all aimed at boosting success in AP courses—which can give students a significant advantage as they head to college.
NMSI’s Aberdeen program launched in the 2012-2013 school year and made an immediate, impressive impact. The average increase in passing scores on AP math, science, and English exams was 137 percent—19 times the average increase nationally—and helped earn the school NMSI’s coveted “School of the Year” award.
OSTP asked two students to briefly describe their experiences in the Aberdeen program. Some excerpts:
At White House College Opportunity Event, New Commitments Announced to Help Low-Income Students Succeed in STEM FieldsPosted byon January 17, 2014 at 10:19 AM EDT
At yesterday’s event on College Opportunity, the President and First Lady called for a sustained all-hands-on-deck effort to increase college opportunities for low-income and disadvantaged students in America. The event included remarks from the President, the First Lady, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, as well as the announcement of more than 100 new commitments from college and university leaders, foundations, non-profits, and others in support of this critical goal.
A key focus of yesterday’s College Opportunity event was the importance of helping more low-income and disadvantaged youth succeed in critical science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. As noted in a 2012 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), less than 40% of students who start college enrolled in a STEM field complete with a STEM degree. For low-income and disadvantaged students, the numbers are even lower.
- Posted byon January 14, 2014 at 12:01 PM EDT
Yesterday, the Office of Science and Technology Policy released a Request for Information to give the public an opportunity to inform the Administration’s approaches to supporting the development and use of learning technologies.
Advances in the science of how learning happens—and in technology to enhance learning—have the potential to transform education, not only in K-12 but in higher education, life-long learning, and workforce development. Imagine, for example, if learners in the United States had access to technologies that:
- Dramatically reduced the large and persistent gap in vocabulary size between children from wealthy and poor households;
- Helped middle- and high-school students outperform their international peers in math and science;
- Gave non-college-bound students an industry skills certification or set of cognitive skills (e.g., literacy, numeracy, or the ability to understand and use charts, graphs, and diagrams) that are a ticket to a middle-class job, increasing their employability and their annual incomes by $10,000 to $20,000 or more in less than a year; and
- Were as effective as a personal tutor and as engaging as the best video game, and improved the more students used them.
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