Who Is that Young Scientist with Michelle Obama at the State of the Union? It’s Joey Hudy

, Deputy director, Center for Science & Democracy | January 27, 2014, 10:36 am EDT
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Prediction: this is going to be a pretty neat week for high-school student Joey Hudy. The young inventor will be one of at least six great Americans who will be sitting in the First Lady’s box during President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. Hudy first made headlines two years ago at the White House Science Fair, where the president took personal interest in Hudy’s marshmallow cannon.

Since that time, he developed a solar powered computer and designed two Arduino Shield kits (computer components). He participated in a White House We The Geeks Google hangout in November. And, last month, he became the youngest person ever to be hired by Intel under its internship program.

Young inventor Joey Hudy will be honored during President Obama's 2014 State of the Union address. Photo: IntelFreePress

Young inventor Joey Hudy will be honored during President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address. Photo: IntelFreePress

Hudy is a big supporter of the Maker Movement, which describes itself as a tech-influenced DIY community. There are Maker Faires—gatherings of innovators that are “part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new“–all over the world, and he has been been to a bunch of them.

According to the American Presidency Project, just a few others have been honored over the past 30 years during the State of the Union address for their work in math and science:

  • In 1986, President Reagan honored Richard Cavoli, a college student who designed an experiment on crystal growth in zero gravity that was eventually carried out on the space shuttle Discovery.
  • In 1997, President Clinton honored Kristen Zarfos, a surgeon who fought for better health care for women undergoing mastectomies.
  • In 1997, President Clinton honored Illinois students Kristen Tanner and Chris Getsler and their teacher Sue Winski for performing well in science and math.
  • In 2011, President Obama honored Kathy Proctor, a woman in her 50s who pursued a science degree after being laid off from a furniture factory.

Other guests sitting with the FLOTUS this year will be Boston Marathon bombing survivors Carlos Arrendondo and Jeff Bauman, Moore, Oklahoma Fire Chief Gary Bird, first openly gay NBA player Jason Collins, and 2013 DC Public Schools Teacher of the Year Kathy Hollowell-Makle.

It’s so dang cool to see a bright young scientist get honored on such a prominent stage.


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