#SoSTEM 2015!

Our awesome 5th grade at The Annual White House State of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (SoSTEM) Address, January 21st, 2015.

On January 21st, Maury Elementary’s 5th grade was lucky enough to attend the 3rd Annual White House State of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (SoSTEM) Address!

Before you read any farther, just take a look at the video below. This video shows one of our amazing 5th graders talking LIVE to astronauts aboard the International Space Station.


Now that you likely got chills ( or tears like I did during the event) let’s take a step back to look at what led up to this moment.

Now in it’s 3rd year, #SoSTEM brings together leading experts in the sciences for an intimate conversation with students. This year’s focus was” Women in STEM” and included amazing women scientists from a number of fields. Initially, 8 students were invited to attend, but then my students wow-ed the event organizers with their Space Camp video!

              This is the student newscast used to help earn funds for Space Camp! Full link HERE!

Given that this event included NASA leaders such as former astronaut and leader of NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, as well as Chief Scientist of NASA Ellen Stofan, the #SoSTEM organizers graciously invited our entire class! Moreover, they provided two students with press passes, allowing them to interview Administrator Bolden, Dr. Stofan and Chief US Technology Officer Megan Smith prior to the event’s official start. They interviewed the speakers with the student reporters from National Geographic for Kids and Time for Kids!

Dr. Bolden shakes hands with the student reporter pool!

                                                                    Hard hitting questions!

Dr. Stofan holds a Mars Curiosity model and speaks about the future of NASA.

When asked after what she was thinking, one of our Maury reporters said ” I was thinking, I’m going to work for you!” #FutureAstronaut

The entire class arrived shortly after and took part in an inspirational and informative conversation with Administrator Bolden and Dr. Smith. Just then, the students heard the sound break up and the voices of astronauts echoed through the room! Our students were among the first in line to ask them questions!


Following this amazing experience, the all-woman panel of scientists took the stage. The format was perfect for our inquisitive students. Student questions drove the rest of the hour. Below are official NASA photographs from this portion of the event. What a panel!

Associate Director for Science at the Office of Science and Technology Policy Dr. Jo Handelsman, standing left, moderates a panel discussion with, from left, National Park Service Ranger Lynne Murdock, NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan, Kathy Pham of U.S. Digital Service, Presidential Innovation Fellow working with the Department of Veterans Affairs Rachel Harrison Gordon, and Sea Level Rise Researcher Nicole Hernandez Hammer.  Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Kathy Pham of U.S. Digital Service, right, speaks as NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan looks on. 

Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

As we dismissed, the organizers had a special surprise for the student reporter teams… a quick visit to the White House Briefing Room! It was much smaller than expected and it was powerful to stand where the President stands for all his press conferences!

5th grade student reporters

This experience was truly one that will impact our students for years to come. Thank you to OSTP for this experience. This 5th grade group is one to watch. I wouldn’t be surprised if they will be the ones leading #SoSTEM 2035 inspiring the next generation!

For more video and pictures from the event, check out these links:

To Infinity… and BEYOND!
-Mrs. Ford

Posted in Specials Posts, Think Tank.