During the 2014 State of the Union Address on January 28, U.S. President Barack Obama talked about the accomplishments of one of his invited guests, 16-year-old Joey Hudy. Who is this wonder teen? Here’s a hint: Think shooting marshmallows. …Read More
by Diana Drake
Back in February 2012, a high school freshman and engineering whiz from Anthem, Ariz., made quite an impression (picture sticky marshmallows oozing down the White House wall) on U.S. president Barack Obama. Joey Hudy, then 14, was attending the second White House Science Fair to showcase his invention, an extreme marshmallow cannon made from PVC pipe that used compressed air to shoot marshmallows 176 feet. At the time, Obama, who launched a marshmallow across the East Room, reportedly took one of Hudy’s cards and told him, “You’re going to invent all kinds of impressive things.”
Fast forward a few years, and Hudy’s visibility has, well, exploded. Last April, Business Insider magazine named him one of the world’s 10 smartest kids. Then Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is said to have hired the now 16-year-old on the spot last October to become the youngest participant in the semiconductor chip maker’s internship program in the summer of 2014. On his blog dated December 16, Hudy wrote, “Today I attended Intel new hire orientation!” He added that he couldn’t wait to start making “cool stuff.” After school is out, Hudy will join Intel to intern in the company’s New Devices Group product development program before returning to school next fall.
But before he even heads to Santa Clara, Calif., for his internship, Hudy will be back in the White House as one of President Obama’s 25 invited guests at the State of the Union Address on January 28. According to the White House, invitees are considered “extraordinary Americans who exemplify the themes and ideals laid out in the State of the Union Address.” Other 2014 guests include Jason Collins, an NBA player who became the first male player in major American team sports to come out openly as gay, and Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman, survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing. Hudy’s spot alongside the First Lady, Michelle Obama, is no doubt a testament to Obama’s focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education as a priority for his administration. Hudy embodies Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign aimed at driving American students to become leaders in science and math achievement by 2019. Hudy says his proudest inventions are LED Arduino shields — printed circuit expansion boards that he shows people how to make on his blog.
Hudy spends much of his time traveling the circuit of Maker Faires, which are family-oriented invention festivals, and lives by the credo, “Don’t be bored; make something.” As his blog points out, “I have tried to do karate, soccer, baseball, tennis, but none of them I am good at or completely like. The only thing I am good at is making things, I am ok at archery though and I like it.” In an age of innovation, this aspiring engineer – who also happens to have Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism that he does not consider a handicap – has the right talents for the times.
Why is Joey Hudy invited to President Obama’s State of the Union Address?
Why is innovation or the ability to “make things” so important these days? How is this connected to Hudy’s new internship with Intel? Why do you think Intel’s CEO hired him on the spot?
Have you created a new invention that you would like to share with the world? What is it? If not, have you been thinking of inventing something new? Share your ideas with a partner and with the class.
There many people with autism spectrum disorders or other special needs in the United States and the rest of the globe and many of them are talented; however their talents aren’t heard because it is difficult for them to communicate their talents or aren’t able to showcase their talents because people look down upon them because they have a disability. On the positive side, not all special needs people are closed off from society because there are a few people with special needs that are given the opportunity to showcase their talents such as Joey Hudy. Not all children with special needs are as fortunate as Joey Hudy, but there are organizations such as Special Olympics has helped allow people with special needs to showcase their talents in all kinds of sports.
I volunteer with the special olympics program at my school because I want to help special needs children find their talent and to be the best of their ability. During my first season in Special Olympics as a peer partner, I helped out track athletes, from all parts of the autism spectrum, by giving them motivation and helping them prepare for the events. We would run laps with them, I would help teach some of them how to throw shot put, and we would cheer them on as we timed their speed for their event. I think what has helped the athletes put more effort into their performance is that they know that their peer partners/friends are always cheering for them because of friendship bonds that has grown after many hours of practicing with them. I have befriended many of the athletes and I even talk to some of them outside of Special Olympics. I noticed that all of them are nice, but it is just tough for some of them to communicate or fully express themselves. However, because of my help and other peer partners’ help, I feel that many of these athletes have shown their potential to be the next olympians with many of them winning gold in our region.
Just because a person may have a disability, they still can have talent, and we need to help them showcase their talent to the rest of the world like Joey Hudy did.