White House hosts first SoSTEM conference


The panelists prepare for the questions posed by the students.

Yesterday, the White House held its first ever State of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (SoSTEM) event, following President Obama’s State of the Union address, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

The event was moderated by John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The panel featured administrations officials, Todd Park, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, and Lori Garver, Deputy Administrator of NASA.

Special guests on the panel also included Peter Hudson, co-founder and CEO of iTriage, Bobak Ferdowsi, flight director of the Mars Curiosity rover, and sophomore Jack Andraka from North County High School, the winner of the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

A majority of those in attendance were students ranging from grades 6-12. The event was mainly held in a Q&A format, so that high school student journalists and other students interested in STEM fields could ask questions of any of the panelists.

Most of the questions posed dealt with initiatives the government is taking to increase interest in STEM and collaboration between students and the government.

Several Jefferson students were present at the event in addition to tjTODAY and Techniques reporters. Seniors Alec Brenner, Nalini Singh, Kyle Angelotti, Marilyn Arwood and Emily Kelly as well as freshman Juliana Bain were invited to the event and had a chance to ask questions.

“It was nice to hear how so many important people are concerned with the direction we’re taking STEM research and how that pertains to our generation,” Singh said.