Olivia Thomas, an 18-year-old senior at Idaho Virtual Academy, loves creating video games. In July, she won a national award for a game she wrote.
Nate Marshall, a 17-year-old Boise High School senior, has inspected 55 million-year-old marine sediment and come up with some startling ideas on what it means for 21st century climate change.
What do these two have in common? Both are taking their love of science and technology to the 2016 White House Science Fair on Wednesday. Along with more than 100 other students, they hope to present their findings and creations to President Barack Obama.
OLIVIA THOMAS: LOTS OF IDEAS
“I think being able to have the White House on your resume is pretty amazing,” said Thomas, who learned she’d be going to the fair only a few days ago.
“The president is going to be there. He might be able to play my game as well.”
Her passion for contests turned into a love for video games at age 9. Next year it will lead her to Boise State University, where she is planning a double major in computer science and the new College of Innovation and Design’s major in gaming, interactive media and mobile technology. She wants to build games that are instructional and have learning elements.
Using different platforms, she’s invented about 60 games, many of them Nancy Drew-style mysteries. “I’ve done a lot of adventure games,” she said. Her head is packed with stories she wants to put into computer games.
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