Obama launches 'take your child to the lab' week

February 28, 2016 by Darlene Superville
Obama launches 'take your child to the lab' week
In this Feb. 17, 2016 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Obama is launching a version of "take your child to work day" focused on America's science laboratories instead of its corporate workspaces. It's part of Obama's long-standing effort to encourage young people, especially girls and minorities, to pursue careers in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

President Barack Obama is launching a version of "take your child to work day" that's focused on America's science laboratories instead of its corporate workspaces.

It's part of Obama's effort to encourage young people, especially girls and minorities, to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

More than 50 national labs in 20 states are opening their doors this coming week to approximately 5,000 elementary, middle and to help spark interest by exposing them to the scientists, engineers and lab employees who carry out important work and research at facilities in their communities.

The students, including from communities aligned with Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative, will participate in mentoring sessions, hands-on experiments and other activities. My Brother's Keeper is a public-private initiative started by Obama to help boys and young men of color stay on the right path. The White House Council on Women and Girls is also involved.

"National Week at the Labs" coincides with February's end of Black History Month and the start of Women's History Month in March.

"It's an exciting time to think about how we're pulling all the children of our country into technology and STEM and the jobs of the future," Megan Smith, chief technology officer in the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

She said some 600,000 U.S. technology jobs, which pay significantly higher than the average salary, are currently unfilled.

At the White House on Monday, elementary school students from Baltimore and the District of Columbia are expected to participate in a science fair-type event.

Obama says it's good for the country when young people are excited about science.

"Whether it's setting foot on the moon, developing a vaccine for polio, inventing the Internet or building the world's strongest military, we've relied on innovative scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians to help us tackle the toughest challenges of our time," he recently told Popular Science magazine. "Being pro-science is the only way we make sure that America continues to lead the world."

Obama started the annual White House Science Fair because he said budding scientists should be celebrated as much as Super Bowl football teams. The administration is also more than halfway toward his goal of training 100,000 new math and science teachers by 2021, he said.

"We want the next game-changing industry or life-saving breakthrough to happen right here in the United States," he said.

Explore further: Obama wants $4B to help students learn computer science

Related Stories

Science not only for men, says Obama

May 27, 2014

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday launched a push to get girls interested in science and technology, warning the country would miss out if it did not attract women to those fields.

Recommended for you

Waiting periods reduce deaths from guns, study suggests

October 17, 2017

(Phys.org)—A trio of researchers with Harvard Business School has found evidence that they claim shows gun deaths decline when states enact waiting period laws. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy ...

Roman theater uncovered at base of Jerusalem's Western Wall

October 16, 2017

Israeli archaeologists on Monday announced the discovery of the first known Roman-era theater in Jerusalem's Old City, a unique structure around 1,800 years old that abuts the Western Wall and may have been built during Roman ...

Human speech, jazz and whale song

October 13, 2017

Jazz musicians riffing with each other, humans talking to each other and pods of killer whales all have interactive conversations that are remarkably similar to each other, new research reveals.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Feb 29, 2016
The liability associated with that in anything but government labs would be cost prohibitive, I'd think. You can't just walk into a lab and be "safe" (unless you don't touch anything, don't do anything, and nobody else does either). The problem with this idea is that most labs contain all sorts of hazardous materials, chemicals, biologicals, electricials, radiation, mechanical. Not to mention the havoc a careless person can cause to any experiments in progress or any sensitive electronics or machinery. I've taken my kids on tours through my lab, but the REAL experience is hands on, and any "hands on" experience by untrained (not to mention possibly unruly and certainly careless) children would require either a lot of "staging" (ie it would be fake) or be so bland as to fail to be interesting, at least for the majority of the labs I know of.
not rated yet Feb 29, 2016
Obama launches 'take your child to the lab'

Hmm..most large companies and scientific institutions I know of have something like this, already. It's always interesting for the kids (unless it's Aperture Science)

or building the world's strongest military

I'm not sure that's a sensible thing to mention in the same sentence as science. Most science-minded people (at least all the ones I know) are pacifists.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.