At the White House science fair yesterday, US President Barack Obama hopped on a bicycle and pedaled to power a water filtration system devised by Kiona Elliott and Payton Kaar from Northeast High School in Florida that is designed to be used during an emergency — the pair was influenced by the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the Associated Press reports. Other science projects included a prosthetic arm made using a 3D printer, pads to help football players keep cool on the field — which Obama called "pretty spiffy," according to the AP — and a fast and cheap way to diagnose pancreatic cancer.
The White House also announced new initiatives to encourage kids to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the New York Times reports. One effort is the creation of an AmeriCorps program that places volunteers with STEM-related nonprofits, while another is a corporate mentoring campaign called US2020 formed by tech companies like SanDisk and Cisco, the Times adds.
In addition, the Times notes, Obama's 2014 budget proposal includes $180 million to increase opportunities from kindergarten through graduate school to participate in STEM programs as well as $265 million for groups focused on STEM education, including school districts, science agencies, and museums, and $80 million for training 100,000 new math and science teachers during the next 10 years.
"This is not the time to gut investments that keep our businesses on the cutting edge, that keep our economy humming, that improve the quality of our lives," Obama said in remarks yesterday.