2014 White House Science Fair

Published on June 2, 2014


by Zoe Willcutts, National Geographic Kid Reporter

On Tuesday, May 27, I had the opportunity to cover the 2014 White House Science Fair as a Kid Reporter. It was amazing meeting all of the young scientists and engineers and thinking, "Wow, these are the people who will find the cure for cancer and who will send future generations to other planets and galaxies."


National Geographic Kid Reporter Zoe Willcutts interviewing Bobak Ferdowsi (aka NASA’s "Mohawk guy").

Bobak Ferdowsi shared his favorite Weird But True fact: After a successful career in science, Isaac Newton went on to become Treasurer where he added ridges to coins so the edges could not be shaved off and counterfeited.


National Geographic Kid Reporter Zoe Willcutts with members of Girl Scout Troop 2612 from Tulsa, Oklahoma, displaying their "flood-proof bridge."

The highlight for me was meeting members of Girl Scout Troop 2612 from Tulsa, Oklahoma: Avery Dodson, age six, Claire Winton age eight, Lucy Claire Sharp, age eight, Miriam Schaffer, age eight, and Natalie Hurley, age eight. These girls designed a "flood-proof bridge" model out of Legos that uses motion sensors to detect when the water level in a river is rising so the bridge rises accordingly.


I asked the "Lego Queens" to tell me one interesting thing about science they had learned. Claire told me she loved that "you can make anything with science." Miriam said she loved that "with science, you can put together just a few things and make a volcano."

President Obama spoke at the event and said, "It reminds us that there's so much talent to be tapped if we are working together and lifting it up. Right now, fewer than one in five bachelor's degrees in engineering or computer science are earned by women. Fewer than three in ten workers in science and engineering are women. That means half our team we’re not even putting on the field. We’ve got to change those numbers. These are the fields of the future."

It was an inspiring day and President Obama reminded us, "We are blessed to live in a country filled with bright, eager young people who love science, love tinkering, love making things, who have the ability to see old problems and grand challenges with fresh eyes."


President Obama addressing student winners of various science, technology, engineering and math competitions at the 2014 White House Science Fair.

Credits: photograph of President Obama's address by Zoe Willcutts; other photographs by NG Staff