Tuesday, February 7, 2012

East Mecklenburg High School freshman to attend White House Science Fair

East Mecklenburg High School freshman Kayla Burriss will be among the
students from across the nation who will participate in the White
House Science Fair on Feb. 7. Burriss, who wants to be an
environmental engineer so that she "can make a difference in the
world," is part of her school's new Academy of Engineering, a small
school-within-a-school learning community that equips high school
students with the science and math skills to study engineering in

East Mecklenburg's Academy of Engineering is one of nearly a dozen
career academies in high schools throughout the Charlotte-Mecklenburg
Schools system, which were created by the nonprofit National Academy
Foundation (NAF).

Students such as Burriss exemplify the "extraordinary accomplishments
made possible when students are exposed to high-quality, engaging and
hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
learning opportunities," said Linda Rosen, CEO of CTEq, a non-profit
organization dedicated to mobilizing the business community to improve
the quality of STEM learning in the United States. Seed funding for
the East Mecklenburg Academy of Engineering was made possible by the
AT&T Foundation, with additional support provided by other CTEq-member
companies Xerox, Verizon, and Motorola.

Burriss' mother, Michelle Paige, who is accompanying her daughter
said, "I have definitely seen a change in Kayla. She talks about her
engineering course and has begun to change her goals and is looking
toward the future. Kayla has increased confidence and excitement about
what she can do, and when she completes her goals she will be the
first one in her family to graduate from college."

One of the goals for East Mecklenburg's Academy of Engineering is to
increase the number of minority and female engineers, a shared goal of
the CTEq membership said Rosen. "A deliberate effort among the CTEq
coalition is to bring more high-quality STEM learning opportunities to
minorities and female students, both of whom are underrepresented in
STEM professions."

President Obama plans to deliver remarks during the Science Fair to an
audience of students, science educators and business leaders on the
importance of STEM education to the country's economic future.

The Feb. 7 event will be live streamed from 10:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
(ET) on whitehouse.gov/live. Coverage will also be available on
Twitter (#WHScienceFair, and @whitehouseostp and @whitehouse).