Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

March 27, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

Political Academy


  • More than 50 Arizona high school students recently joined more than 400 students from around the world for a behind-the-scenes look at the relationship between science, technology and politics in the Honeywell Scholars at the Presidential Classroom program in Washington, D.C. Don Wilt of Honeywell and Chandler student Brianna Arendt talk about the program.
Guests:
  • Don Wilt - Honeywell Scholars at Presidential program
  • Briana Arendt - Student who attended the Honeywell program
Category: Education

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Several dozen Arizona students recently joined over 400 from around the world to participate in a week-long seminar to learn how science, technology, and public policy interact. I'll talk to one of the students and a spokesman from Honeywell, which gave scholarships to the event. First here's more on the program.

Mike Sauceda:
428 students from 31 countries around the world, and 31 U.S. States recently participated in a program designed to expose them to the connections between science, technology, and public policy. Among those students were 56 Arizona high school students who were awarded scholarships to attend the week long Honeywell Scholars at Presidential Classroom Program held in Washington D.C., March 2nd, to the 8th. Brianna Arendtof Chandler was among those who attended the event. They were given scholars based on academic record and community involvement. The scholarships covered tuition, meals, and accommodations paid for by Honeywell employees. During the program, students met with congressmen, business leaders, government appointees and scientists. All shared their expertise with the students. Elizabeth Sherman, Executive Director Of Presidential Classroom said they leave with a greater understanding of the intersection between science, technology, and public policy and how solutions to today's problems can be addressed. Since the presidential classroom program was started in 2005, over 800 students have graduated from it.

Ted Simons: Here now to tell us more about the Honeywell scholars at presidential program is Don Wilt of Honeywell, and Briana Arendt, who attended the program. Thank you for joining us.

Don Wilt:
Thank you.

Briana Arendt:
Thank you.

Ted Simons:
We will start with you, an overview of what the program is designed to do.

Don Wilt:
Thanks for your interest, this is important to the country, important to Arizona. This is part of a broader initiative on Honeywell's part to generate interest on the part of young people in the field of technology, math, science, so that we can continue our remarkable records of achievement in areas such as space.

Ted Simons:
As far as selecting these students for the academy, awarding the scholarships, what was looked at?

Don Wilt:
We are quite selective. The screening is done by the Presidential Classroom Program, which has been in existence since 1968. Honeywell joined the program five years ago by beginning to sponsor one whole week devoted to science and technology. These young people have to demonstrate in writing that they will make good use of their experience, they have demonstrated an ability to commit themselves to something and accomplish it, and we take a look at what they are doing in the community to see if they are the kind of person, what we call the rising generation of leaders.

Ted Simons:
It sounds like a lot of fun back there in D.C. tell us about what you did and what you experienced.

Briana Arendt:
Okay. One day was totally devoted to Capitol Hill, and that was a unique experience, because we got to sit on the house floor. Filled up the entire house floor, and Mickey Edwards spoke to us. We got to meet with our congressman Jeff Flake, I met with my congressman, and another neat experience was we went to the air and space museum, and Honeywell rented out the entire museum for the night. We got the entire museum to ourselves to explore and see.

Ted Simons:
Before you left on the trip, and took part in this, what were you expecting and now that you are back, how different does it seem from what you expected?

Briana Arendt:
It's kind of -- I wanted to -- I expected to see the city and tour, which is what we did, but I didn't expect to meet as many students as I did. I met students from all around the world, learned about their cultures and where they are from and that was the neatest experience for me.

Ted Simons:
As far as what you want to do, what you want to take from this, what are you looking at, math, science?

Briana Arendt:
Math, science, not too sure what.

Ted Simons:
Astronaut, doctor --

Briana Arendt:
Possibly, astronaut, doctor maybe.

Ted Simons:
You could be an astronaut doctor.

Briana Arendt:
There you go.

Ted Simons:
These students obviously go back there, how do you make sure that all of the fun of seeing a terrific city, that you get the learning done as well?

Don Wilt:
I will credit two different parties for that. The first The Presidential Classroom Program. They do a wonderful job of taking, as we mentioned, over 400 students there for a whole week. They respect every speaker. Get up very early, 6:00 in the morning, go to 11:00 at night. The second half of the equation is the students themselves, people like Brianna really distinguish the state of Arizona when they were in the nation's capitol.

Ted Simons:
What kind of impression did they make on the people they met with, politicians, folks at the museums, mathematicians what were they saying about the kids?

Don Wilt:
One of the women, by the way, Eileen Collins, the first female commander at the space shuttle, every single one of them commented on these students and said they are glad they don't have to compete with them today at their age in order to try to pursue their dreams, because they wouldn't have gotten in, been the ones chosen against this class of students. We can be very proud of them.

Ted Simons:
A lot of museums, Arlington national cemetery among the places that you went to, was there one thing that stands out?

Briana Arendt:
The Smithsonian air and space museum, we had the whole place to ourself. We got to see the Imax and they served us dinner on the floor of the museum. Unique experience.

Ted Simons:
Important question, high school student, where are you going to college?

Briana Arendt:
A.S.U. probably.

Ted Simons:
Excellent answer. That's the answer we're looking for.

Don Wilt:
I was going to cut to the chase and say go to honeywell.com and take it from there as far as our involvement goes. And also the presidential classroom. Honeywell sponsors one full week, and there are actually seven weeks of presidential classroom focusing on a different interest for the students.

Briana Arendt:
Thank you.

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