By DJ Patil
On Tuesday, a 14-year-old student named Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing his engineering project (an electronic clock) to his high school. Officials mistook it for a bomb.
When I was growing up, my friends and I were fortunate to know how to use soldiering irons, circuit boards, and even a bit of duct tape when nothing else worked. We played, experimented, and learned through trial and error.
The best part? When I brought my work in, my teachers loved it. And that fed my desire to embrace science, engineering, and technology. That learning to play with technology — that curiosity — has helped me on every step of my journey so far.
That’s why I’m so proud to see people across the country standing up for the innovation and intellectual curiosity that Ahmed has shown.
That includes the President.
And he’s not the only one. Today, Dr. John Holdren — the President’s top science advisor — reached out to Ahmed and personally invited him to come to join us at the White House Astronomy Night on October 19, where we’ll bring together scientists, engineers, and visionaries from astronomy and the space industry, along with students and teachers. They’ll share their experiences and spend an evening stargazing from the South Lawn.
We think Ahmed will fit right in.
That’s because we think it’s really important that kids with a passion for science and technology have the opportunities they need to reach for the stars (sometimes, that’s literal).
It’s why the President has prioritized broadening participation in science and technology to a more diverse pool of students.
It’s why we regularly host kids from across the country at the White House Science Fair.
It’s why we believe that the National Maker Faire is so important and why we are a nation of makers.
And it’s why we’re dedicated to telling the untold stories of some of the brightest minds in our country — to inspire young people to follow in their footsteps.
Ahmed, you inspire us — and we can’t wait to meet you.
U.S. Chief Data Scientist
The White House
P.S. — Don’t forget your NASA shirt. I’ll be wearing mine.