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Geek in chief: Obama to pledge $240 million for STEM at science fair (+video)

At the White House Science Fair on Monday, Obama will announce more than $240 million in pledges to boost the study of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

President Barack Obama is highlighting private-sector efforts to encourage more students from underrepresented groups to pursue education in science, technology, engineering and math.

At the White House Science Fair on Monday, Obama will announce more than $240 million in pledges to boost the study of those fields, known as STEM. This year's fair is focused on diversity.

Obama will say the new commitments have brought total financial and material support for these programs to $1 billion.

The pledges the president is announcing include a $150 million philanthropic effort to encourage promising early-career scientists to stay on track and a $90 million campaign to expand STEM opportunities to underrepresented youth, such as minorities and girls.

More than 100 colleges and universities have committed to training 20,000 engineers, and a coalition of CEOs has promised to expand high-quality STEM education programs to additional 1.5 million students this year.

Obama launched "Educate to Innovate," his effort to encourage the study of science, technology, engineering and math, in 2009.

More than 35 student teams will exhibit their projects at the White House Science Fair.

As has been reported before, Obama is something of a science geek, who "ponders honeybee colony collapse disorder, fusion energy, and climate change," when the cameras aren't rolling.

That's according to John Holdren, Mr. Obama’s chief adviser on science and technology, who in an interview with NPR, revealed his boss's little-known secret obsession.

“First of all he is a science geek,” Mr. Holdren told NPR’s "Living Lab on the Point" program, adding that Obama is “enormously interested in and enormously well-informed about science technology innovation.”

“I can never predict what kind of question I will get from this president,” Holdren said.

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