At a White House-sponsored science fair on Tuesday, President Obama lauded participating students for their excellence in fields like science, math and technology, and emphasizing his belief that it's equally important to recognize students with scientific achievements as it is the Super Bowl-winning football team.
"If we are recognizing athletic achievement, we should also be recognizing academic achievement and science achievement," he said. "If we invite the team that wins the Super Bowl to the White House, then we need to invite some science fair winners to the White House as well."
Meeting with a group of about 100 students at the White House, Mr. Obama examined the students' creations -- which ranged from a Skype robot on wheels to a dissolvable sugar packet.
"It's not every day that you have robots running all over your house. I'm trying to figure out how you got through the metal detectors," said Obama. "I also shot a marshmallow through an air gun which was very exciting."
The young scientist who made that happen is 14 year old Joey Hudy, inventor of the "Extreme Marshmallow Cannon and LED Cube Microcontroller Shield."
Mr. Obama also announced a new pledge, made by the private sector, led by the Carnegie Corporation, to provide $22 million to train 100,000 new science and math teachers.
He also said he would be unveiling a budget next week that will help meet the ambitious goal of 1 million more American graduates in science, technology, engineering or math in the next 10 years.
The president praised the students for "getting America in shape to win the future, you are making sure we have best, smartest, most skilled workers in the world so that the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root right here."
"You're making sure we'll always be home to the most creative entrepreneurs, the most advanced science labs and universities. You're making sure America will win the race to the future," he said.
Later in his remarks, Obama made a plea to the news media to pay more attention to "STEM" matters- science, technology, education and mathematics education. "This is what will make a difference in this country over the long haul. This is what inspires me."