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Obama to highlight tech aid at science fair

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Photo - President Barack Obama speaks at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Monday, May 26, 2014.  Obama, who returned just hours earlier from a surprise visit with U.S. troops at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, paid tribute to those lost in battle there and elsewhere over history as he commemorated Memorial Day.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Barack Obama speaks at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Monday, May 26, 2014. Obama, who returned just hours earlier from a surprise visit with U.S. troops at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, paid tribute to those lost in battle there and elsewhere over history as he commemorated Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Aiming to diversify and strengthen the nation's technological workforce, President Barack Obama is hosting the White House's annual science fair with an emphasis on the achievements of girls and women and with new initiatives to improve science, technology, engineering and math education.

Obama on Tuesday was to announce new assistance to train teachers, help for low-income students and a mentoring program in seven cities across the country.

The White House Science Fair has a tendency to trigger Obama's geekier side. He seems to relish his moment with young, accomplished students and their designs, which can range from complex contraptions to scientific breakthroughs.

Among the displays Tuesday at the White House will be a "concussion cushion" designed by a 19-year-old California student who aspires to be the first female collegiate head football coach; a system designed by three Oklahoma second graders that sounds an alarm when a car becomes too hot for people or animals; and a rescue robot designed by two Massachusetts teenage girls.

The White House says Obama will announce a new $35 million Education Department competition for teacher training programs as part of his goal to train 100,000 educators in science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM.

He will also announce and expansion of AmeriCorps to help teach STEM to 18,000 low-income students this summer, and a national STEM mentoring project in seven communities: Chicago; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Allentown, Pennsylvania; Indianapolis; the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina; and Wichita, Kansas.

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