STEM Scholars Share Science Projects at the White House, Broadcom MASTERS Represent

It’s not every high schooler who can put a visit to the White House on his or her college applications.

But when Broadcom MASTERS alumni Jessika Baral, Jack Andraka and Mabel Wheeler get cracking on those admissions essays, they’ll have an unforgettable experience from which to draw.

The three students, who have all participated in Broadcom Foundation’s MASTERS science fair competition, this week paid a visit to the White House and shared their award-winning science projects with the country’s Commander-in-Chief.

“The science fair projects of today could become the businesses of tomorrow,” President Barack Obama said to the crowd of more than 100 students and their parents on Monday.

MASTERS alum Jessika Baral next to her project about improving peripheral vision at the White House Science Fair.

Andraka, 16, of Crownsville, Md., Baral, 13, of Fremont, Calif, and Wheeler, 13, of Orem, Utah, presented their research, which included pancreatic cancer detection, enhancing peripheral vision and the degradation of polymers, in the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s third White House Science Fair.

Read the Broadcom Foundation Press Release

The President addressed more than 100 students, science educators and business leaders in attendance about the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to our country’s economic future.

From the White House press release:

“When students excel in math and science, they help America compete for the jobs and industries of the future,” President Obama said. “That’s why I’m proud to celebrate outstanding students at the White House Science Fair, and to announce new steps my Administration and its partners are taking to help more young people succeed in these critical subjects.”

President Obama has made it part of his mission to raise awareness about STEM education through a variety of initiatives, including support for the state-level push for Next-Generation Science Standards and an investment of more than $22 million aimed to help better prepare some 100,000 math and science teachers.

That gels with the mission of Broadcom Foundation’s MASTERS competition, which promotes innovation and STEM learning through national and international science fairs for middle school students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

“With the states focusing on adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards, President Obama’s celebration of project-based learning through competitions like the Broadcom MASTERS is critical to their successful implementation,” Broadcom Foundation Executive Director Paula Golden said.

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Here’s a bit more about the three Broadcom MASTERS participants who attended the event:

Jack Andraka was recognized as one of the top 300 semifinalists in the 2011 Broadcom MASTERS for his project “A Comparative Study of the Toxicity of Nano and Bulk Metal Oxides on Vibrio fischeri and Daphnia magna.” He was also awarded first place for his new method to detect pancreatic cancer at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2012.

Jessika Baral won the Marconi/Samueli Award for Innovation at the Broadcom MASTERS 2012 for her project “A Novel Way to Strengthen Eye Muscles and Enhance Peripheral Vision.”

Mabel Wheeler won a Rising Star award at the Broadcom MASTERS 2012 for her project on the “Impact of Sunscreen on the Degradation of Polymers.”

To keep up with the White House Science Fair, use hashtag #WHsciencefair on Twitter or view the live feed on YouTube.

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