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March 19, 2015

Tri-Tech app team attends White House Science Fair

A team of Tri-Tech Skills Center students, who recently won the National Verizon Innovative App Challenge, traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the 2015 White House Science Fair on March 23.

The team was invited as ‘honored guests’ to the fair and to demonstrate their winning idea for a mobile app called Safe&Sound, which addresses ways for teens to manage stress and feelings of depression, after receiving extensive national news coverage regarding their win in the Verizon contest.

Before they left, their teacher Kristel Kinder stated "We are beyond excited for this once in a lifetime opportunity. The team has worked hard the past couple of weeks to get the code (for the app) functioning and operational. It's an honor to be invited and to have their work recognized nationally. We are proud to represent Tri-Tech, Tri-Cities and Washington state at the White House Science Fair!"

The President will hosted the 5th White House Science Fair, that celebrates student winners from a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across America. The President also announced new steps as part of his Educate to Innovate campaign to get more girls and boys, especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups, inspired and prepared to excel in the critical STEM fields. This year’s White House Science Fair included a focus on diversity and inclusion in STEM.

The President hosted the first-ever White House Science Fair in 2010, noting then, “If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you're a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.”

Three of the four team members and their advisor Kristel Kinder, a first-year teacher at Tri-Tech Skills Center, attended the fair. They are Amanda Arellano (Grade 12) from River’s Edge High School in the Richland School District, Stephanie Lopez (Grade 11) from Kiona-Benton City High School from Kiona-Benton City School District and Chloe Westphal (Grade 11) from Mid-Columbia Partnership in the Kennewick School District. A fourth team member, Marina Stepanov (Grade 12) from Pasco High School in the Pasco School District, was not able to attend.