Intel visit makes point about investment in children
President Barack Obama came to a massive, cutting edge Intel chip making plant in Hillsboro Friday to learn how to make American kids more competitive in math and science.
The president praised Intel’s commitment to education in Oregon during the visit and he promoted the work of several middle school and high school students who he said make him “optimistic about America’s future.”
The president said Intel has invested $50 million in Oregon schools over the last decade and started programs to get children interested in science and technology as early as elementary school.
“I’m so proud of everybody here at Intel, not only because of what you do for these students or this community, but because of what you do for the country,” Obama said.
He also highlighted the work of Nabil Mistkawi, an Intel scientist in Hillsboro who found a solution to a problem that had vexed engineers for months — an eternity in the technology cycle for the computer chip manufacturer. Mistkawi found the solution in just three days drawing on knowledge from his PhD studies at Portland State University.
“An investment in education paid off in a big way,” Obama said. “For Nabil. For Intel. For the millions of workers and consumers who benefited from that discovery.”
Mistkawi said later it was “a great honor for the president to mention my accomplishments.”
Before speaking to the crowd of 350 Intel workers, politicians and other dignitaries, Obama met with three boys from the Beaverton-Hillsboro Science Expo and six girls from Robert Gray Middle School who are members of Intel’s First Lego Robotics Team.
Obama noted that he said during his State of the Union address that science fair winners should be celebrated as much as Super Bowl winners. Since his favored Chicago Bears fell short of the National Football League’s top game this year, Obama said he’s reserving all his cheering for the Oregon science students he met before his remarks.
He said he was most impressed Friday with the students he met and science projects they showed him.
“It gave them a chance to talk about things like quantum ternary algorithms,” he said to laughter, “and it gave me a chance to nod my head and pretend that I understood what they were talking about.
“They deserve our applause and our praise, and they make me optimistic about America’s future,” Obama said.
During his address, Obama also offered a morale boost for a basketball team coached by his brother — the struggling Oregon State Beavers.
Alluding to the Beavers’ less than stellar 9-15 record, Obama said they “are a very young team. But they’re on the move,” drawing some chuckles. Beavers coach Craig Robinson is the brother of first lady Michelle Obama.
–The Associated Press.