Professor sends students to White House Science Fair

July 9, 2012 | Research, UToday
By Aaron Horn

Have you ever dreamed of presenting your hard work to the president of the United States of America? A University of Toledo faculty member has given K-12 students a chance to do just that.

Dr. Kevin Czajkowski, UT professor of geography, created the program SATELLITES, which is an acronym for Students And Teachers Exploring Local Landscapes to Interpret the Earth from Space, to bring together students, teachers and scientists to enhance science and technology education.

“The goal of this program is for students to build confidence and gain experience doing research,” Czajkowski said. “Once that happens, we want them to take what they learn and present it elsewhere.”

Czajkowski has partnered with the Globe Program, which is a worldwide body that encourages students to be hands on with science and design protocols and activities for their peers. Together, they nominated students from Huntington High School in Huntington, W.Va., and O.W. Holmes Elementary-Middle School in Detroit to attend President Barack Obama’s White House Science Fair in February.

NASA officials selected the students to be a part of this special science fair. Students were able to present their research in front of the president.

“I never thought I’d meet the president. I only thought I’d maybe see him from far away,” O.W. Holmes School student Suzan Shalhout told The Huffington Post. “But I never thought I’d be able to talk to him and shake hands with him. He said, ‘Keep up the good work’ to me.”

Shalhout presented research about the water quality in southeast Michigan communities, and the students from Huntington High School — Ben Jones, Emily Waybright and Derek Carson — presented their studies on how surface temperature is affected by clouds.

“The students gained a lot of experience and created a wonderful memory at the same time,” Czajkowski said.

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