President Barack Obama meeting the Intel Science Competition Students at the White House Monday, March 9, 2009. White House photo by Chuck Kennedy
March 9, 2009 – President Obama greeted the high school students being honored for their original research in science and math through the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search awards program. The 40 students, who were chosen from more than 1,600 applicants, were in Washington, D.C. to compete for more than a half a million dollars in scholarships and prizes, including a grand prize of $100,000. This year, the finalists represented 35 schools in 17 states.
Obama met with the students just minutes after signing an executive order overturning the ban on new embryonic stem cell research. One of the student winners, Julia Ransohoff was particularly interested in the order since her project centered on the effectiveness of adult bone marrow stem cells in treating damaged heart tissue following a heart attack. In her work in a lab at Stanford University, she discovered that stem cells taken from female donors triggered more of an immune system response—in which the host attacks the transplanted cells—than stem cells taken from male donors. In other words, donor gender matters.
President Obama told the students that science and math education is vital, and that he intends to provide significant funding and resources to those areas. And, in fact, he said that his daughter Sasha is a science fan. Perhaps a future STS winner?
These brillant students were super-charged after meeting the President, with prospects for careers that will continue to drive innovation and discovery as the engine for growth in the US