Prickly-tongue. Sweaty palms. Stomach butterflies. Shaking. Anxiety. Relief. These are some of the feelings and symptoms that Sindhu Bala and Christina Yepez, two members of local Girl Scout Troop 1484, remember about their meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House in April. They were presenting their own groundbreaking research and sustainability/robotics project, which turns Styrofoam into a recyclable glue.
“What I think about it, when I think back to that time, is the anxiousness of seeing him,” said Christina. “And just the relief afterwards like, we got through it, I’m still alive and all that.”
Christina said it was easier to calm down when she realized “he acted like a normal guy” and that he didn’t act above anyone else. “He was just someone there who was asking questions about our project,” she said.”
“For the picture, I was standing on his left side,” said Sindhu. “He put his hand on my right shoulder. Now, I have a magic shoulder.”
These two whip-smart young ladies, just 13 years old, were part of a six-person team, The Blockheads, that combined research, robotics and sustainability in order to solve the problem a local nursing home set before them: the fact that the nursing home was disposing of 20,000 non-recyclable Styrofoam cups per week. Michelle Yepez, The Blockheads Team Coach for Girl Scout Troop 1484, supervised the troop but says the girls were responsible for the glue innovation themselves.
The team worked on the research from the beginning of summer 2015 and they went to a championship to compete with their research in December. In March, the girls got a call that they were invited to the White House to present their project at the White House Science Fair.
Now, the troop is looking to patent not one but two innovations that came out of the project.
“We are hoping to acquire patents and then sell it to companies that could feasibly make a business out of them,” said Sindhu.
Listen to the girls’ story about the project, what it was like to visit the White House and more here:
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