Obama praises Indian-American student for her science project

WASHINGTON (TIP): US President Barack Obama has praised a 17-year-old Indian- American student for her science project at the third annual White House science fair here. “We’re so proud of you. Keep up the good work,” Obama said to Meghana Rao from Portland, Oregon, after she explained her project based on ‘biochar’ (charcoal) to the US president at the fair in which around 30 student teams from across the country exhibited their projects. American Natural History Museum Young Naturalist Award winner, Meghana, is a Jesuit High School student who-in addition to researching the ability of ‘biochar’ also directs a student-run nonprofit organization, Portland Junior Scientists (PJS).

According to the White House, her organization connects high school students with underprivileged youths through collaborative hands-on science experiments, with the aim of inspiring all participants to pursue higher education. Meghana started PJS in 2011, after learning that severe budget cuts where forcing local elementary schools to cut back on science curricula. Through her organization, local students can attend weekly onehour after school science programs, participate in science fairs and attend summer science programs. “Her hard work helped her earn a 2013 Young Naturalist Award from the American Natural History Museum, and brought PJS $ 5,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project and an USD 11,500 grant from the Case Foundation’s Finding Fearless program,” the White House said.

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