By Kacey Fitzpatrick
One of my favorite parts about being a science writer at EPA is getting to learn directly from our researchers. They are often considered experts in their fields and after interviewing them, I’m a little embarrassed by how many times I say, “That’s so cool!” when they tell me about their research.
Recently I got the chance to learn from the next generation of science experts at a local science fair. But this wasn’t just any science fair—it was the White House Science Fair! For the last six years, President Obama has invited the best and brightest young minds to come show off their original and innovative projects at the White House.
These kids came from all over the country and their projects were just as diverse. The subjects ranged from robotics to agriculture to infectious disease and more. One pair of nine- and eleven-year-old sisters even built a spacecraft! Some were tackling issues I’m more familiar with, such as 18-year-old Deepika Kurup who designed a solar-powered technology that rapidly removes bacteria from water. The low-cost solution has the potential to help millions around the world have safe, clean drinking water.
All the projects were very impressive and after learning a little about each one, I found myself saying to a whole new set of scientists, “That’s so cool!”
One of the most exciting parts of the day was hearing from the president. While he joked that the only problem with the Science Fair is that it makes him feel a little inadequate (phew, glad I’m not the only one!) this part stood out to me the most:
All of you are showing the rest of us that it’s never too early in life to make a difference. You teach us about the power of reason and logic, and trying things and figuring out whether they work, and if they don’t, learning from that and trying something new. And you remind us that, together, through science, we can tackle some of the biggest challenges that we face.
I couldn’t agree more! We share that thought here at EPA, where our researchers are using science to tackle the world’s greatest environmental challenges.
Overall, it was an amazing day and I left feeling very inspired by science and all that it can accomplish. And to all the incredible students who participated that will surely be making a big difference in the world someday—if you ever need a science writer, let me know.
About the Author: Kacey Fitzpatrick is a student contractor and writer working with the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. She is a regular contributor to It All Starts with Science and the founding writer of “The Research Recap.”