14 year old Joe Hudy has been having fun. From promoting science at Maker Faires to shooting marshmallows with the President at the White House, he’s the embodiment of STEM education effectively motivating a new generation about science and engineering, while showing how it can take them to some pretty cool places. Along the way, he’s tackled challenges and found passion and talent — his mother Julie describes the transformation with excitement and pride. “He’s gone from a shy boy with Asperger Syndrome to now a young man that wants to talk to everyone!”
People want to talk with Joe too — the coverage he’s received from his endearing interaction with President Obama at the White House Science Faire has gone global (links: whitehouse.gov, HuffingtonPost, Daily Mail, Make blog, Gizmodo, the Atlantic, ABC News, Washington Post, the Examiner, Popular Science, New York Times, and more). He’s recently been a featured author on Instructables, and received a special note of commendation on his Adafruit skills badge page. And not only is Joe an aspiring engineer, he’s also demonstrating a healthy entrepreneurial spirit, selling electronics kits via his website and fundraising to get him to three different Maker Faires in 2012.
Joe took time from his schedule to answer a few questions about how he got to the White House, and what he’s building next.
When did you start building? I only started really seriously to build things a year ago. I’ve made stuff in the past just for fun.
How did you get so motivated? I met a really cool man named Jeff from Elenco Electronics. I got in contact with them when my mom called to see if they had any Snap Circuits. Jeff Coda was the one who answered the phone. He helped me by giving me a soldering iron, oscilloscope, kits to learn to solder, bread boards, electrical components so I could learn more about electronics. He’s helped with with questions I’ve had too. He’s really cool.
What are some of the things you’ve made so far? I have made the air cannon, 3x3x3 Led Cube Arduino Shield, catapult, lazer light show, blinky lights. My favorite was the air cannon.
Obviously, it’s a huge honor to get invited to be part of the White House Science Fair. How did that came about? What were your feelings like leading up to and during the event? I was invited to go to the White House by Make and Cognizant. Make asked me and Cognizant sponsored me. I had met Make at Maker Faires. The whole experience was fun and exciting. I was nervous when I was talking to the president. I got to see a lot of sights while in DC.