Education Robotics
White House Celebrates Young Makers Along with Science Fair Winners

Today, President Obama and the White House are hosting science fair winners, which for the first time, include young makers: Ben Hylak of Chester, PA, and Joey Hudy of Phoenix, AZ. Both young boys were outstanding participants at Maker Faire this past year. I’m really proud to see each of them recognized for their achievements as makers.

From the White House press release:

“When students excel in math and science, they help America compete for the jobs and industries of the future,” said President Obama. “That’s why I’m proud to celebrate outstanding students at the White House Science Fair, and to announce new steps my Administration and its partners are taking to help more young people succeed in these critical subjects.”

The release includes the following about Joey Hudy with a nice mention of Maker Faire.

Student “Making” and Starting Small Business to Sell his Invention. Fourteen year old Joey Hudy from Phoenix, Arizona is already a Maker Faire veteran. He invented an Extreme Marshmallow Cannon and an LED Cube Microcontroller Shield, which he has exhibited at Maker Faires in New York, San Francisco, and Detroit. He received two “Editor’s Choice Awards” from Maker Faire, and has started a small business selling the microcontroller (Arduino) shield kits on several websites. As the World’s Largest Do-It-Yourself Festival, Maker Faire is the premier event for grassroots American innovation.

We have received enthusiastic emails and calls from Ben’s mom, Bridget, and Joey’s mom, Julie. They are excited to see their sons get this kind of opportunity.

You can find a livestream of the event at 11:30 am ET today.

Ben Hylak

Ben Hylak of Chester, PA is at the White House event today because he is also a Broadcomm Science Fair winner. However, Ben was at last year’s NYC Maker Faire with his telepresence robot, Maya.


Joey Hudy

Joey Hudy from Phoenix, AZ was at Maker Faire in the Bay Area, Detroit, and NYC as well as at the mini Maker Faire in his hometown.

Joey and Ben each have great stories to tell about what making means to them. Today, we’re particularly proud to have Joey and Ben as ambassadors representing the Maker movement at the White House.

18 thoughts on “White House Celebrates Young Makers Along with Science Fair Winners

  1. Joey you made us all so proud! You did an outstanding job bringing the maker movement and young maker ethos to the White House! Hopefully this will help them to better understand what kids are capable of if only given the chance, tools, and some guidance/instruction. This can and should be WAY bigger than school sports…let’s get started! (e.g. Maker Faire Bay Area is coming in less than 100 days!)
    Awesome job!!!

  2. Ok, honestly the robot was pretty cool, but the simple sprinkler valve marshmallow shooter?!?! That is RIDICULOUSLY simple, and an inefficient design, there are many other HOMEMADE valves that would have been more efficient, or maybe used an alternate firing system such as a spring powered piston, trebuchet, combustion chamber, or anything else! I’ve seen this design repeated MULTIPLE times on the internet, and it’s nothing new. Frankly, there could’ve been someone more deserving than a kid who made a toy anyone with the tools and supplies to make can build.

  3. For what it’s worth, my compliments to Mr. Dale Dougherty on his interview with Ben Hylak. At no point did you attempt to upstage Ben or patronize him, mistakes that many of us adults make in dealing with the gifted and talented.

    All in all quite an enjoyable and inspiring interview to watch.


    Dennis Gerald

  4. Never one to put down a kid — but a Marshmallow Canon actually wins an award!

    Pales an dramatic comparison to Ben Hylak and especially Taylor Wilson.

    I dunno what else to say. It’s a bit embarrassing. That’s all.

Comments are closed.


DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

View more articles by Dale Dougherty