100-pound subway-cleaning robots. Prosthetics good enough to skateboard on. Homemade spacecrafts that can reach the stratosphere.

That last one was made by sisters Kimberly and Rebecca Yeung, ages 9 and 13. They fashioned a small craft out of a weather balloon and Rebecca’s archery arrow shafts. Before releasing it into the sky, they attached a camera, GPS, and a variety of sensors. A small R2D2 to acted as pilot, finally the captain of his own ship.

After seeing a video of the process and flight, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab was impressed enough to reach out. They weren’t the only ones.

President Obama recognized the sisters among 130 young innovators at the White House for his sixth and final White House Science Fair on April 13th. Pioneered by the Obama administration, it represents investment in young overachievers in STEM.

The President explained his motives for the event, saying, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you’re a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.”

Of the 75 students profiled on the White House website, over 40 hail from states involved with STEMx.

The President also announced Oracle’s $200 million investment to support Computer Science education for students across the United States. He called on all students to step up to the greatest challenges facing the nation, from combatting climate change to setting foot on Mars.

The Red Planet is a bit farther than the 78,000 feet covered by the Yeung sisters’ spacecraft, but these innovators will soon be up to the task.

Scroll below for a list of students’ accomplishments.


STEMx member
Kimberly Yeung, 9, Seattle, WA
Rebecca Yeung, 13, Seattle WA
Launched a helium spacecraft into the stratosphere to record coordinates, temperature, velocity, and pressure. Washington STEM
Jacob Leggette, 9, Baltimore, MD Maryland Department of Education
Experimented with additive and subtractive manufacturing in 3D printing.
Hannah Herbst, 15, Boca Raton, FL Florida STEM2 Hub
Created an ocean-energy probe prototype to provide stable power to developing countries.
Nathan Charles Marshall, 17, Boise, ID Idaho iSTEM
Examined prehistoric climate change via a marine sediment core. Finalist in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search.
Amro Halwah, 18 New York City, NY New York State
STEM Education Collaborative
Stephen Mwingria, 17, New York City, NY
Si Ya “Wendy” Ni, 18, New York City, NY
Created a 100lb debris-cleaning robot for NYC’s subway system.
Hari Bhimaraju, 12, Cupertino, CA California’s CSLNet
Designed hardware and software to teach visually impaired students the periodic table.
Olivia Thomas, 18, Boise, ID Idaho iSTEM
Founded a virtual coding school and received a grant from NCWIT to start a local video game-design program for girls.
Neil Davey, 20, Gaithersburg, MD Maryland Department of Education
Developed a new technique for cancer treatment and early detection for his International BioGENEius Challenge project.
Nia Clements, 15, San Antionio, TX Educate Texas
Investigated an unlikely treatment for gastric cancer in Santalum album tree oil.
Kylah Cain-Ward, 13, Edgewood, MD Maryland Department of Education
Destani Cularri, 11, Edgewood, MD
Adriana Pusey, 13, Edgewood, MD
Jordan West, 12, Edgewood, MD
Took first place as a team at the Maryland Army Education Outreach Program Junior Solar Sprint competition.
Shemar Coombs, 19, Philadelphia, PA Pennsylvania’s ASSET STEM Education
Used a 3D printer to invent a cellphone case that allows headphones to be wrap and secured tangle-free.
Talie Cloud, 15, Sanger, CA California’s CSLNet
Named a National Winner at the FFA Agriscience Fair for her work using bitter melon seed as an organic insecticide.
Annie Ostojic, 13, Munster, IN Indiana’s I-STEM Resource Network
Won the 2015 Broadcom MASTERS competition for her energy efficient microwave design.
Agusta Uwamanzu-Nna, 17, Elmont, NY New York State
STEM Education Collaborative
Investigated a nanoclay ingredient to improve undersea cement seals that keep offshore wells from leaking, which established her as a finalist in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search.
Devon Langley, 14, Terre Haute, IN Indiana’s I-STEM Resource Network
Trevor Langley, 14, Terre Haute, IN
Developed a color-coded system to teach math to students with dyslexia, earning them the FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award.
Ty Brant, 12, Tahlequah, OK Oklahoma’s Center for Research on STEM Teaching and Learning
Anthony Maldonado, 13, Tahlequah, OK
Benjamin Woolen, 13, Tahlequah, OK
Taylor Wingo, 12, Tahlequah, OK
Designed and built robots for several competitions as the Cybercats Robotics Team, taking home prizes each time.
Simon-Peter Frimpong, 13, Aurora, CO Colorado Experiential STEM Learning Network
Maya Max-Villard, 13, Aurora, CO
Grayson Fast, 14, Aurora, CO
Designed and built a more functional prosthetic leg, winning them a finalist spot at the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition.
Sanjana Rane, 18, Prospect, KY Kentucky STEMx
Helped discover a protein’s use in detecting and treating renal fibrosis, winning her a scholarship at the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology.
Kimberly Te, 17, Manhasset, NY New York State
STEM Education Collaborative
Christing Yoo, 17, Manhasset, NY
Engineered a device that produces clean energy while cleaning up oil spills, winning the Grand Prize at the National Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology.
Anurudh Ganesan, 16, Clarksburg, MD Maryland Department of Education
Developed VAXXWAGON to effectively transport vaccines without the use of ice or electricity, saving potentially thousands of lives and
earning him the 2015 Google Science Fair LEGO Education Builder Award.
Samantha Armistead, 17, Durham, NC North Carolina Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Center
Judy Cheng, 17, Durham, NC
Ryan Hill, 18, Durham, NC
Emma Jaynes, 17, Durham, NC
Evan Perry, 17, Durham, NC
Won multiple awards as Team Rock-It at NASA’s follow-on Student Launch Initiative, making the national finals in 2013 and 2014 at the Team America Rocketry Challenge.
Siobhan Garry, 17, San Diego, CA California’s CSLNet
Mona Fariborzi, 17, San Diego, CA
Lauren Mori, 17, San Diego, CA
Bansi Parekh, 17, San Diego, CA
McKenna Stamp, 18, San Diego, CA
Developed an Android app that acts as a safe support system for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, establishing themselves at Google Made with Code Mentors.
Savannah Cofer, 18, Columbus, OH Ohio STEM Learning Network
Varun Vallabheni, 17, Columbus, OH
Valerie Chen, 18, Alexandria, VA
Matthew Sun, 17, Alexandria, VA
Won the 2015 Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge as Team FireArmor for their innovative protective apparel for firefighters.
Alex Miller, 17, Seattle, WA Washington STEM
Clara Orndorff, 19, Seattle WA
Nicholas Orndorff, 16, Seattle, WA
Won first place in the 2015 MATE international robotics competition and received an additional award for Design Elegance.
Ana Hernendez, 18, South Los Angeles, CA California’s CSLNet
Jason Mares, 17, South Los Angeles, CA
Won the Chairman’s Award at the 2015 FIRST Championship for robotics, and also partnered with School in a Bottle to build schools in Guatemala.
Maya Varma, 17, San Jose, CA California’s CSLNet
Developed a 3D printed diagnostic spirometer, earning her a slot as a 2016 Intel STS finalist.
Shaneel Narayan, 18, Union City, CA California’s CSLNet
Jahses Tongco, 18, Union City CA
Designed and built a solar charging station for an electric vehicle, earning them a spot as finalists at the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow national competition.

1 thought on “STEM stands out at White House Science Fair”

  1. What an impressive list!

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