9-Year-Old Helps Shape Obama Administration's Approach To Science
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
A 9 year old is helping to shape the White House's approach to science. Let me explain. Third-grader Jacob Leggette met President Obama last month at the White House science fair. He asked the president a pretty pointed question. Here's the tape from whitehouse.gov.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
JACOB LEGGETTE: Do you have a child science adviser?
BARACK OBAMA: I don't. Do think you might be interested in that position?
JACOB: You should. A child science adviser can give you...
JACOB: Feedback on how kids like science.
SHAPIRO: And now it's happening. The administration announced today that it wants ideas from children about what it can do to help shape the future of science.
Jacob Leggette joins us from his home in Baltimore. Hi, there.
SHAPIRO: So how did you hear about this?
JACOB: My mother told me.
SHAPIRO: And what did you think when she told you?
JACOB: I thought it was a new start.
SHAPIRO: (Laughter) I wonder if you have any other ideas for the president.
JACOB: A bunch.
SHAPIRO: Well, give it to us.
JACOB: One thing is to change the world to make it a better place, like, no cigarettes, no drugs, making artificial organs, making homeless people have a homeless shelter to help them survive longer.
SHAPIRO: Do you know what kind of science you want to do when you're grown up?
JACOB: I want to do computer science and make artificial organs and program robots.
SHAPIRO: That is a very advanced goal for a 9 year old. I think when I was 9, I probably wanted to be either a firefighter or a veterinarian.
SHAPIRO: Do you remember the first thing that made you interested in science?
JACOB: Watching my father.
SHAPIRO: What was your father doing?
JACOB: He was working on a computer.
SHAPIRO: What was the first thing you did?
JACOB: The first thing I did was crash my grandmother's computer.
SHAPIRO: How did you crash your grandmother's computer?
JACOB: I deleted some other apps, and then I actually restored them all.
SHAPIRO: So that was your first science project, huh?
SHAPIRO: Well, your mom Stephanie is there with you, right? Could I talk to her for a minute?
STEPHANIE LEGGETTE: Hello.
SHAPIRO: You must be very proud.
S. LEGGETTE: Extremely.
SHAPIRO: What was the first sign little Jacob gave you that he was going to be shaking things up on the national stage by the age of 9?
S. LEGGETTE: You know what? I would've never imagined that in a million years. I always told him that he was going to change the world, and I tell him and his sister both that.
SHAPIRO: Well, what kind of indications did he give you when he was a little kid?
S. LEGGETTE: Well, when he crashed my mother's computer, he was 2.
S. LEGGETTE: And I had no clue what he had done. And I set him in my lap, and I said you have to fix this. And he sat there, and he fixed it.
SHAPIRO: Wow. And you homeschool him, so you can take some credit for this.
S. LEGGETTE: A little bit, little bit. My husband, he's - you know, he spearheads everything that he does, especially the technology aspect of it.
SHAPIRO: Do you mind handing the phone back to him?
S. LEGGETTE: Sure.
SHAPIRO: Hello again.
JACOB: Hello again.
SHAPIRO: Before we say goodbye, if there are kids listening out there who might be thinking about going into math or science or technology, what kind of advice do you have for them?
JACOB: Keep going, stay on task, and you'll make it.
SHAPIRO: Jacob Leggette, what a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you.
JACOB: You're welcome. Have a good day.
SHAPIRO: You too. That was 9-year-old Jacob Leggette and his mother Stephanie.
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