Earlier today, three outstanding students, David Hayden, Hannah Wyman, and Jacen Sherman – winners of the Microsoft Imagine Cup and Kodu Cup student competitions – participated in the second annual White House Science Fair, hosted by President Barack Obama. David, Hannah and Jacen were among only 100 students selected to attend the event, which celebrated students that were winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the U.S.
During the fair, President Obama walked through exhibits of the students’ projects and delivered remarks on the importance of STEM education to the country’s economic future. The President also announced a new $80 million investment to help prepare effective STEM teachers.
Improving STEM education and inspiring more students to pursue STEM careers is an important part of our focus on creating opportunities for young people to help them succeed, make a difference in the world and ultimately help grow the future economy.
David Hayden and his team, Note-Taker, won in the Software Design category at Microsoft’s Imagine Cup 2011 U.S. Finals. The Note-Taker helps low-vision and legally blind students take notes in class as quickly and effectively as their fully-sighted peers. David is legally blind and created the device during his undergraduate years so he could keep up with note-taking in blackboard-intensive math courses.
Hannah Wyman, one of only around 30 students who were chosen to exhibit their projects at the Science Fair, is 11 years old and lives in Leominster, Massachusetts. She was the Grand Prize Winner in the 9-12 year-olds category in Microsoft’s Kodu Cup Last year. She designed a video game called Toxic, where players collect coins and hearts while solving puzzles to help save the environment. Her interest in coding developed from an unusual place – a birthday card from her brother. In order to receive her present, she had to decipher the birthday card message, which was written entirely in bytes. The gift turned out to be a trip to the movie of her choice.
Jacen Sherman is 16 years old and lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. He was the First Prize Winner in the Kodu Cup’s 13-17 year-old category with his game called The Vortex, where players are challenged to save humanity from extinction. In designing his game, Jacen was inspired both by the Kodu programming experience, and by the movie Tron.
After the event, Jacen noted that the day was “awesome!” – an experience he will always remember. In addition to getting to shake President Obama’s hand twice, Jacen got to tour the White House with Hannah and David and meet people from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Unites States Military Academy.
Three students who were winners in Microsoft’s Kodu Cup and Imagine Cup competitions last year, including Hannah Wyman (pictured), Jacen Sherman and David Hayden, were invited to participate in the second White House Science Fair on February 7, 2012.
We congratulate David, Hannah and Jacen for receiving this special recognition today. Celebrating students that excel in STEM is incredibly important and will help inspire more students to get excited about STEM subjects in school. Students like Hannah, Jacen and David are on their way to becoming tomorrow’s innovators and entrepreneurs. We look forward to helping more young people receive these kinds of opportunities and experiences to help them succeed in the future.