During a tour of the winning science projects at the White House on Monday, Girl Scout Troop 411 told Obama they generated their idea for a Lego-based automatic page turner during a group “brainstorming session.”
“You guys are already better brainstormers than I am,” the president told the girls, all clad in superhero capes.
The page-turning device -- embellished with multicolored bricks and Lego people -- was “working really well, although you gotta read kind of fast,” Obama observed. “Are you guys able to speed it up and slow it down?”
“It’s a prototype,” said one of the girls.
“It's a prototype! It will get refined later,” Obama said with a laugh. “That’s what I’m saying.”
“Have you ever had a brainstorming session yourself?” one of the girls asked POTUS.
“I have had a couple brainstorming sessions, but I didn't come up with anything this good!” the president said. “I came up with things like, you know, health care. Yeah, it turned out okay -- but it started off with some prototypes.”
“He was a lot more fun than I expected!” 6-year-old Karissa Chang said of Obama. “That was pretty awesome and pretty funny.”
“These young scientists and engineers teach us something beyond the specific topics that they're exploring. They teach us how to question assumptions, to wonder why something is the way it is, and how we can make it better. And they remind us that there's always something more to learn, and to try, and to discover, and to imagine,” Obama said.
“We don't want to just increase the number of American students in STEM," the president added, referring in science, technology, engineering and math. "We want to make sure everybody is involved. We want to increase the diversity of STEM programs, as well.”
Cierra Ramirez, who plays a teenage coder on ABC Family's “The Fosters” and attended the White House event as a VIP, said the fair shows young people -- especially young girls -- that “you can be both beautiful and smart.”
“Women don't really make up a lot of STEM, especially girls of color. So, to be able to represent both parts of that, and to hopefully inspire some young girls who watch the show to continue to follow their dreams, if they're interested in it, is awesome,” she said.