White House opens my eyes to creativity in science | Student Science

Doing Science

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Alumni, Intel ISEF, White House Frontiers Conference

White House opens my eyes to creativity in science

7:00AM, November 23, 2016
Doing Science

By Surabhi Mundada
Senior, Olympia High School
Intel ISEF 2016 finalist

Surabhi attended the White House Frontiers Conference in November. ~~ Photo courtesy of Surabhi Mundada.When I first read the email from Society for Science & the Public inviting me to attend the White House Frontiers Conference, I couldn’t believe it. I read the email over and over again — I thought I must have been misreading or day-dreaming!

Just two weeks before receiving the invite, I was in Washington, D.C. and visited Lafayette Park and the White House. While standing outside, my parents explained that I needed to do something really special to get an invitation from the White House. I was honored to receive this invitation not two weeks after our conversation!

I read the email over and over again — I thought I must have been misreading or day-dreaming!


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The White House Frontiers Conference was co-hosted by President Obama, along with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. It focused on five big "frontiers" of science on the personal, local, national, global, and interplanetary levels, including science, technology, and innovation.

This conference brought together key innovators and entrepreneurs to discuss how science and technology will help the world in all possible levels. They also discussed how to make technological advancements in order to achieve all of these goals.

In the first half of the event I attended the Global track, which focused on scientific work that significantly helps climate change mitigation and achieve a clean energy revolution. It covered a variety of technology, tools, and designs for a climate-smart future.

Hearing President Obama encourage the younger generation to focus on STEM was extremely inspiring.

In the second half of the day, everyone got to attend the Plenary track where we discussed all of the five frontiers and many speakers, including President Barack Obama himself, spoke. I was in the third row and was able to hear President Obama from very close by. Hearing President Obama speak about STEM and encourage the younger generation to focus on STEM was extremely inspiring.

Afterwards, I also had an opportunity to shake hands with President Obama. This was the highlight of the conference for me!

In addition to these incredible experiences, I also had an opportunity to meet and take pictures with the CEO of Fitbit, the Director of the National Science Foundation, and the Director of Virgin Galactic!

It was truly exciting and inspiring to hear about a huge range of innovative ideas from such renowned innovators and leaders! This conference not only opened my eyes to the creativity involved in scientific research, but also showed me that we can and should drive new sets of innovations in whatever field we are working on. The possibilities for helping the world are endless.

This conference showed me that we can and should drive new sets of innovations in whatever field we are working on. The possibilities for helping the world are endless.

Everyone can make a change to lead to a better world. Each and every innovation — regardless of whether it solves small or big problems — can make a difference, leading to positive changes for a brighter tomorrow!

Finally, a big thank you to the Society for Science & the Public for providing and sponsoring such a wonderful opportunity to attend this conference! I had an incredible and memorable experience; one of the best experiences of my life.

I am so grateful that the Society allows students to participate in so many amazing events such as this one. These events provide so many new opportunities to students and greatly encourage the young generation to pursue STEM.

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