WHite HoUse SCience FaiR? WHaaa? This month has been crazy!! Robogames 2013, TWO Science Fairs, and an interview with Bill Nye and Levar Burton... in the same week?! HOLY MOLY!!!
Just a few weeks ago, I got a call from the White House staff, and they invited me to go to their 3rd ever science fair! Last year, Joey Hudy got chosen to go for making awesome kits, and got to show off his big orange marshmallow cannon. This year, MAKE magazine and Cognizant nominated me to come! The most insane part was that I only got one week warning, my school 6th grade science fair was on the same day as the white house one, and we’d have to leave on the last day of Robogames!!! OH NOEsS!!
Luckily my dad helped organize and put together a fundraiser on gofundme, and we raised the full goal amount in less than a day thanks to all the awesome people who donated and helped get the word out! WOO hoo!
On the Thursday before the Science Fair, I left to San Mateo to compete in Robogames 2013 with my WaterColorBot paint pen plotter (fill wrap-up post coming later). After an exciting couple days at Robogames (and winning a silver medal!), I boarded a plane to Washington DC, with my robot and project board all wrapped up in my awesome custom made carrying box. I was SOOOO excited!!
We got to our hotel at 2am, slept ‘till 6am, got dressed all fancy, then left for the White House! (Not much sleep. :P)
When we got there, I was checked by security and led to the room where I was supposed to set up in. I didn’t have much stuff to assemble, so I had a ton of time to figure out exactly how I would do my demo, and what the heck just happened. Craziness!!
After about an hour, some people started to come by and I showed off my WaterColorBot. My demo worked with a Raspberry Pi as the computer, and connected to the iPad with a WIFI adapter that my dad help me make into an access point. After all of the other kids set up and looked around, we went outside and had some lunch and talked with lots of important people. After lunch settled down, I got interviewed by Levar Burton and Bill Nye!! Oh My Gosh!
At 12:30, the science fair officially opened to the rest of the staff and VIP’s that got invited. I talked to a BUNCH of cool people and really had some fun talking with them all about how the bot works, how I came up with the design, and how I think it'll be perfect for girls my age to get into engineering with once we make it into a kit. I also talked lots and lots about other things I liked doing, plus all about my show.
I hadn't had much sleep, but even though I'd been standing and talking for hours, I was totally pumped. It's hard to describe, but getting up there and talking about something awesome that you know pretty well, that people really want to hear, and have interesting questions about, is a lot of fun, and you wouldn't think so. But it is.... and I knew I had to hold out for the POTUS!
When it was time for the president to come in, all the regular people were moved into the entry hall. He then came in, said hello and started talking to the first booth. After a few teams/groups had talked with the president, I was next! He walked up, said hello and shook my hand. We talked, and then he held up my watercolorbot painted picture of the white house logo the press, and lots of camera shutters went off. He then talked with me a bit and drew something on the iPad for the bot to draw, “GO STEM!”. At the end he shook my hand again!! I was thrilled!
Meeting the president was so incredible and exciting! I had a TON of fun in Washington DC and I really hope to go there again. Even though I got to meet the president, I’m still just regular old me, and I think any kid my age could get to be where I was, if they just don’t give up and keep going at their crazy ideas. Even if nothing new happens because of my trip, I’ll be sure and keep my friends at the White House forever.