WASHINGTON – Goodyear middle schooler Sage Foreman had an idea for a national technology “field trip” day that could help get schoolkids interested in the sciences.
That idea was enough to get Sage a field trip of his own Friday – to the White House, where he was one of just 11 students from across the country invited to be a “kid science adviser” for a day.
The students, who ranged in age from 5 to 17, met with John Holdren, the assistant to the president for science and technology, and shared their ideas for ways to improve science, technology, engineering and math – or STEM – education.
It was the first such meeting, an idea that grew out of the 2016 White House Science Fair when 9-year-old presenter Jacob Leggette asked President Barack Obama if he had a kid science adviser – and then offered his services.
Obama loved the idea, and had Holdren ask young people to share their thoughts on what they think is important in science, technology and innovation.
“One of the things I find so inspiring about these young thinkers is that they look at these seemingly intractable problems as something that we can solve,” Obama said at this year’s science fair.
Jacob was not there Friday but his 5-year-old sister, Alexis, was invited for her love of “exploring everyday chemistry,” according to the White House.
Sage, 12, the only student from Arizona, said he planned to tell Holdren that businesses can and should do more to reach out to youth and support STEM opportunities for all kids.
“It means a lot to be invited to the White House,” said Sage, a seventh-grader at Centerra Mirage STEM Academy. “To me, it makes me feel like my voice is going to be heard.”
He planned on outlining his idea for a national technology field trip day, in which middle- and high-school students would be invited to American-owned science and tech businesses for a chance to explore future jobs and innovation.
Sage thinks his idea would help close the gap in STEM workers in the U.S. But the field trip is not the only big idea for Sage, who says he is passionate about helping the climate and reducing air pollution.
“My life goal since I was in the third grade was to win a Nobel Prize for inventing something that would help keep air pollution … low,” he said. “If we don’t, in like 100 years all the oxygen will be gone.”
Until then, Sage keeps busy in clubs and activities at his school, where he is a member of the worlds-qualifying robotics team that creates robots for competitions. He said the team last year placed 57th overall in the world.
“I was, like, 3 years old watching ‘Star Wars’ and I thought – how do they make those cool ships and robots? I want to make those one day,” Sage said Friday outside the White House.
That moment of inspiration leads Sage to encourage other kids to “follow your passion and find what drives you.”