This article is over 8 years old

Education News

Houston Students Join White House Science Fair

Houston students featured projects on rare earth materials and treating brain cancer.



To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>


Usually at science fairs, students feature their gadgets, experiments and tinkering in the school gym.

But this one is someplace entirely different It’s at the White House with President Barack Obama.

“Welcome to the White House Science Fair!”

At the fair, Obama announced a new $35 million competition to train more teachers in science and technology.

His administration wants to train 100,000 science teachers over the next 10 years.

The president also gave a public shout out to all the student scientists who participated in the fair.

“As a society, we have to celebrate outstanding work by young people in science at least as much as we do Super Bowl winners.”

This year the White House Science Fair put a special focus on girls and women who are doing great things in STEM. (That’s science, technology, engineering and math.)

Take Kavita Selva. She’s 14 years old and attends Clear Lake High School.

Here, she explains her project on rare earth materials to a superstar in science: Bill Nye the Science Guy.

“Rare earth materials make up permanent magnets and these permanent magnets make up things such as wind turbine generators.

Name me a rare earth!




There’s a global shortage of these kinds of materials.

Kavita Selva

When Kavita learned that, she tried to create a different kind of magnet that has just a little bit of rare earth material, if any.

“So I basically used these things called superconductor tapes and these tapes contain a very small amount of rare earth in them. And when they are penetrated by a magnetic field and kept at a cold temperature, nano-scale defects inside the tape will actually trap the magnetic field inside the tape and make the tape act as a magnet at that cold temperature.”

Remember Kavita’s still in high school.

But she’s already published some of her work with a professor at the University of Houston.

Another student from Houston who joined the White House Science Fair is Frederick Lang. He’s a senior at St Johns.

He did a research project on treating the most malignant type of adult brain cancer.

Frederick Lang



Today in Houston Newsletter Signup
We're in the process of transitioning services for our Today in Houston newsletter. If you'd like to sign up now, fill out the form below and we will add you as soon as we finish the transition. **Please note** If you are already signed up for the newsletter, you do not need to sign up again. Your subscription will be migrated over.