KEVIN LAMARQUE / Reuters file
U.S. President Barack Obama reacts as Joey Hudy launches a marshmallow from his Extreme Marshmallow Cannon in the State Dining Room of the White House during the second White House Science Fair in Washington on Feb. 7, 2012.
The Obama family's list of invitees to the State of the Union is full of interesting characters, but one stands out — despite being the youngest and smallest by far. Joey Hudy, the adolescent who impressed the President two years ago with his "extreme marshmallow cannon," is making another visit to the Capitol.
Hudy, now 16, is a prize guest for many reasons. Far from dropping off the radar after his moment in the limelight during the White House Science Fair in 2012, the young inventor has continued building, blogging, and advocating.
For one thing, he's now the youngest employee (intern, but still) Intel has ever had. "What an awesome place," Hudy wrote on his blog in late 2013. "I can't wait to start making cool stuff!"
He has also been attending conferences like CES and events like Maker Faire, meeting dozens of influential inventors and industry movers and shakers. On the rare occasion he's not traveling, he enjoys tinkering with all manner of electronics, particularly the small, hacker-friendly Arduino kits. His motto is "Don't be bored — Make something!"
All this is in spite of what some would say is a major challenge: being diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. But Hudy doesn't see it as a barrier at all. As he told MakerKids in August, "Just because you have Autism doesn't mean you can't do whatever you want!"
Between his motivation, his youth, his intellect, and overcoming his own personal challenges, Joey Hudy represents many of the things the Obamas want to encourage in today's youth. Science, technology, engineering and math are more important than ever in today's economy, and every country could use more kids like Hudy.
First published January 28 2014, 4:05 PM