Wednesday, October 28, 2020
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1 Md. & 2 IL students at White House Science Fair


Without a doubt, the most amazing science project this year was an automatic page turner, built with Legos by a group of 6-year-old Girl Scouts from Tulsa, Okla., and presented at the fifth annual White House Science Fair on March 23.

WASHINGTON, DC — President Obama poses with a group of 6-year-old Girl Scouts who designed a page turner to help people who are paralyzed or have arthritis. (Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

The girls said the project was the result of a brainstorming session, and then one of the girls asked President Barack Obama, who honored the young scientists in an East Room ceremony, “Have you ever had a brainstorming session yourself?” Mr Obama quickly answered, “Health care,” the New York Times reported.

Coverage of the White House Science Fair was also provided by the Associated Press, here via the Wall Street Journal

Among the presenters were one student from Maryland and two from Illinois.

Trisha Prabhu, 14 (Naperville, Ill.)

Trisha Prabhu learned about research showing that the human brain’s decision-making region is not fully developed until age 25 and got inspired to help teens rethink how they treat others. She developed a computer program called “Rethink” that alerts users when an outgoing message contains language that is potentially abusive and hurtful. Preliminary analysis showed that adolescents who use the “Rethink” system are 93% less likely to send abusive messages than those who are not warned about the consequences of their actions prior to sending a message.

Lily Born, 11 (Chicago, Ill.)

Lily Born saw her grandfather, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, struggle to use a regular cup, spilling his drink in the process. Inspired to find a solution, Lily used moldable plastic to develop a prototype that was more stable and comfortable to use. The Kangaroo Cup can be used by individuals who suffer from muscular control issues, as well as young children. With the help of her father, she launched a crowdsourcing campaign and eventually raised enough funds to help bring the Kangaroo Cup to market. She launched product directly to the market on the crowdfunding sites Indiegogo and Kickstarter, where she successfully pre-sold more than 10,000 cups.

Sierra Seabrease, 15 (Baltimore, Md.)

Sierra Seabrease, a Baltimore high-school sophomore, transformed an old, deserted piano into a fully functioning jukebox that pulls songs from an ever-changing Spotify playlist. Sierra’s “Jukebox Piano” has helped her discover a personal passion for interactive technology. Sierra continually updates both the appearance and functionality of the Jukebox Piano. Most recently, she used LEDs, a microphone, and other technology to create interactive lights that correspond to the music being played. Sirerra is a founder of and active participant in the Makerettes, a group that aims to expand the role of young women within the larger Baltimore tech community.

For more information about the presenters, visit the White House blog entry, here.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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