President Obama’s Science Advisor Kicks-Off USA Science & Engineering Festival

Holdren X-STEM 2014

White House Office of Science & Technology Policy Director Dr. John P. Holdren kicked off the 3rd USA Science & Engineering Festival at the Washington Convention Center on April 24, 2014, in Washington, DC.

Today in Washington, DC, OSTP Director John P. Holdren helped launch what promises to be one of the geekiest events to land inside the Beltway – the 3rd USA Science & Engineering Festival, a massive celebration of science, innovation, and imagination.

Before an audience of hundreds of DC-area high school students at the Washington Convention Center, Holdren kicked off three-days of public activities, exhibits, and events by calling on students to “think big” about how science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) can be used to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges. He reminded students that pursing STEM studies can open doors to some of the most fulfilling, high-paying, and impactful career opportunities around and spoke on behalf of President Obama about the importance of STEM to keeping America on the cutting edge of innovation and discovery.

This weekend, on April 26th and 27th at the Washington Convention Center, students, families, and geeks of all ages can come get inspired to research, innovate, and make at the 3rd USA Science & Engineering Festival. The free expo will include more than 3,000 hands-on activities and 150 live stage performances – all focused the power and promise of STEM.

Exhibits at the Festival will address such questions as: What is the universe made of? What does science have to do with extreme sports? And how would you survive a zombie invasion?

It will feature well-known STEM superstars, as well as explorers, astronauts, athletes, and experts in fields like robotics, genomics, advanced manufacturing, and 3D printing.

And the Obama Administration is getting in on the STEM action too. In addition to participation by Dr. Holdren, NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan, NIH Director Francis Collins, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg and leading scientists from more than 50 government agencies and Federal labs will participate in the Festival. And Federal agencies will share their wares by demonstration the impressive STEM they use in service of ensuring the health, prosperity, and sustainability of our Nation. Federal exhibitors include:

  • At the Health & Medicine Pavilion with the National Institutes of Health find out how researchers are advancing science with new 3-D printers that transform digital files into physical objects, see your brain in action, measure your lung capacity, or become a forensic detective.
  • At the National Defense Pavilion you can defy gravity, learn about night vision goggles, design bridges, or discover prosthetics with the U.S. Army, design boats and airgliders with the Navy, or explore telescopes with the Air Force.
  • Learn how the State Department keeps us safe with visual recognition technology, biometrics, or drug testing to identify counterfeit medicines.
  • Explore underwater remote-controlled vehicles or simulate a hurricane with NOAA.
  • Discover a wearable technology fashion show, meet extreme weather chasers, or check out some “animal selfies” with National Science Foundation-funded scientists.

And we at the White House couldn’t resist getting in on this excitement: a special feature at the NASA booth will feature the White House Pastry Chef, Bill Yosses, who will connect cooking to space, inspired by NASA's Kepler mission to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars!

The Festival’s co-founder, Larry Bock, explained, “Science is amazing…that’s our message to kids and adults attending the Festival. Staying competitive as a nation means we have to encourage more kids to think about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).”

We couldn’t agree more.

To learn more about the USA Science & Engineering Festival, visit or watch the video at

Our Federal STEM experts and many others, look forward to seeing you this weekend!

Danielle Carnival is a Senior Policy Advisor at OSTP

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