Girls at the center of Obama's science push

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President Obama will announce a new $35 million Department of Education competition to help create more math and science teachers on Tuesday.

The funding effort is part of the annual White House science fair, which this year will place a specific focus on girls and women in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The money will contribute to the president’s goal of training more than 100,000 teachers in the sector.

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Along with the Education Department grant contest, Obama will also announce plans to teach 18,000 low-income students about STEM issues through AmeriCorps, as well as a mentoring effort in seven cities from Allentown, Pa., to San Francisco to further expand kids’ exposure to math and science.

“When students excel in math and science, they’re laying the groundwork for helping America compete for the jobs and industries of the future,” Obama said in a statement ahead of the event. “That’s why I’m proud to celebrate outstanding students at the White House Science Fair, and to announce new steps my administration and its partners are taking to help more young people succeed in these critical subjects."

The White House is framing the special focus on girls as part of the administration’s effort to ensure the sciences are accessible to all students.

“Since day one, the president has been committed to getting more underrepresented groups, including women and girls, excited to excel at STEM subjects,” it said.

More than 100 students from across the country will participate in Tuesday’s event at the White House. About 30 student teams will show their work off to the president in the event, which has become something of a favorite of the president’s.

In 2012, a teenager impressed Obama with his “extreme marshmallow cannon” which launched the sweet across the State Dining Room. The engineer, who has since moved on to an internship at Intel, was Obama's guest at the State of the Union address this year.

Private companies are also getting onboard with the White House’s STEM push.

On Tuesday, Chevron and Discovery Communications are joining the US2020 organization, which was developed in response to the White House’s call to expose students to 1 million STEM mentors by 2020. Cisco, Raytheon and other tech and science companies are founding partners of the group.