The White House is seeking the advice of some of the country’s youngest scientists through Thursday’s launch of a kid science advisers program, which allows students to submit their thoughts and ideas on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.
“Today I can announce that we are launching a Kid Science Advisers campaign,” President Barack Obama said at the National Medals Of Science and Technology and Innovation Awards Ceremony. He emphasized the importance of highlighting STEM heroes for children to inspire them to get involved in scientific fields.
“One of the things I find so inspiring about these young thinkers is that they look at all these seemingly intractable problems as something that we can solve,” Obama said at this year’s White House Science Fair. “There is a confidence when you are pursuing science. They don’t consider age a barrier. They don’t think, well, that’s just the way things are. They’re not afraid to try things and ask tough questions.”
The idea to ask kids about their own science education stemmed from 9-year-old inventor Jacob Leggette, who convinced 3-D printer companies to give him free printers in exchange for his input on their usability by children. The toys he made with those printers led Leggette to the 2016 White House Science Fair, where he asked the president whether he had appointed a child science adviser yet.
“You should,” Jacob told Obama. “A child science adviser can give you feedback on how kids like science.”
The form on the White House website asks students what their favorite thing about STEM is and what idea they would pitch the president if given the opportunity.
“The president has been a champion for engaging young people in science and technology since he first took office because he recognizes that the future of our country depends on the innovations and advances of today’s students,” the blog announcing the program said.