DPS Students Meet President Barack Obama During White House Science Fair

Students from O.W. Holmes Elementary-Middle School and Paul Robeson, Malcolm X Academy had the chance to meet and shake hands with President Barack Obama on Tuesday, February 7th, as the President hosted the second White House Science Fair.

The event celebrated the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country.

The President viewed exhibits of student work, ranging from breakthrough research to new inventions, followed by remarks to an audience of students, science educators and business leaders on the importance of STEM education to the country’s economic future.

Students from O.W. Holmes Elementary-Middle School and Paul Robeson, Malcolm X Academy were invited to attend the event and showcase their research STEM projects. All DPS students were able to meet the President.

“It was really fun!” said Suzan Shalhout, 12, of O.W. Holmes Elementary-Middle School. “I never thought I’d meet the president. I only thought I’d maybe see him from far away. But I never thought I’d be able to talk to him and shake hands with him. He said ‘Keep up the good work’ to me.”

The DPS projects featured at the White House included:

Paul Robeson, Malcolm X Academy

“Detroit Students Imagining the Energy Efficient City of the Future”. The Paul Robeson, Malcolm X Academy student team competed in the Michigan Regional Contest of the National Engineers Week Future City Competition for the second year in a row. Lucas Cain Beal, Jayla Mae Dogan, and Ashley Cassie Thomas, all ages 13, were part of a team that won the Excellence in Engineering Award at the 2012 Michigan Regional Competition focused on designing a city around the theme of “Fuel Your Future: Imagine New Ways to Meet Our Energy Needs and Maintain a Healthy Planet.” After being named Best Rookie Team in 2011, the students had to overcome losing their school to a fire. Regardless, the students were energized to take on the Future City challenge again in 2012, saying “(Future City) helps me make a better city to live in.”

“This project is significant to our students because it shows them by creating a walking neighborhood, you can engineer a community where crime has decreased, safety increases, and poverty is decreased as well,” said Robeson Teacher Derek Sale. “The field of engineering has provided a means for them to develop a better city in the way they wish it to be and the way they see it needs to be.”

O.W. Holmes Elementary-Middle School

Suzan Shalhout and former teacher Connie Atkinson also attended the White House Science Fair. Shalhout, a 7th grader at O.W. Holmes, and Atkinson were sponsored by the Star Base program from Selfridge Air Force Base in Michigan for their 2011 GLOBE project. The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program is a worldwide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science and education program. Each year, students from K-12 schools and universities from multiples states present projects that they developed using their own inquiry-based research utilizing geospatial technologies. Shalhout’s project, “Water, Water, in the Ground, Who is the Cleanest One Around?” was presented on April 12, 2011 at the SATELLITES Conference in Perrysburg, Ohio. She used GLOBE Hydrology Protocols to test tap water in various communities in Southeastern Michigan to determine which ones are the safest for residents to drink.

The President hosted the first-ever White House Science Fair in late 2010, fulfilling a commitment he made at the launch of his Educate to Innovate campaign to inspire students to excel in math and science.  As the President noted then, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you’re a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.”

During the 2012 event, the President also announced key steps that the Administration and its partners are taking to help more students excel in math and science, and earn degrees in these subjects. The second White House Science Fair celebrated over 100 students from over 45 states, representing over 40 different competitions and organizations that work with students and inspire them to excel in STEM. More than 30 student teams had the opportunity to exhibit their projects this year, almost twice as many as the first White House Science Fair.

This entry was posted in News and Press Releases, Student Showcase.
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