A question from a 9-year-old kicked off President Obama’s latest initiative to improve STEM education.

“Do you have a child science adviser?” Jacob Leggette asked Obama at the 2016 White House Science Fair. “A child science adviser can give you feedback on how kids like science.”

Jacob Leggette

“How about we put together a child advisory committee?” Obama said. “It could help us shape advances in STEM education.”

John Holdren, assistant to the president for science and technology, asked for student input and received more than 2,500 ideas about STEM education from students across the United States.

These 11 students were invited to the White House on Friday to share their ideas with Holdren; Charles Bolden, administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); France Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation; and former astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly.

  • Logan Beatty, 14, from Land O’Lakes, Fla., who is interested in the undiscovered species in the ocean.
  • Sage Foreman, 12, from Goodyear, Ariz., who said that businesses should do more to promote STEM education.
  • Anahi Gandara-Rodriguez , 15, Denver, who is prototyping a “smart” cane for blind people.
  • Tylar Hedrick , 14, Nampa, Idaho, who is interested in competitions that seek to solve real-world problems through technology.
  • Alexis Leggette, 5, Baltimore, who wants more opportunities for girls to become scientists and inventors.
  • Jacob Leggette, 9, Baltimore, who wants to help to close the digital divide.
  • Jamie Milota, 17, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who has taught coding to middle and elementary school students.
  • Alex Poret, 16, Sparta, N.J., who has assisted with medical research at Rutgers University.
  • Alana Rieg, 14, Manhattan Beach, Calif., who is interested in improving transportation systems for environmental sustainability.
  • Khristian Ward, 10, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., who wants to build rockets and become a space engineer.
  • Peng Zhou, 17, Cleveland, who was on the robotics team that won the world championship this year.
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Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Federal IT and K-12 Education.