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Local Girl Receives Praise From Pres. Obama At White House Science Fair

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(credit: Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images)

(credit: Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — President Barack Obama Tuesday praised a sweetener developed by a Los Angeles high school student, saying it could be used by Starbucks.

Sweet (dis)SOLVE is a beverage sweetener made from organic sugar wrapped in a soluble organic starch that melts into the drink without adding calories, odor or taste. It was among the prize-winning projects on display at the second White House Science Fair, which seeks to inspire in math and science.

Obama joked with Downtown Magnets High School junior, Hayley Hoverter, 16, saying “tell me when I can buy stock.”

The president also mentioned Hayley and her project in his remarks following the tour, saying her project “potentially could save up to two million pounds of trash each year, and that’s just at Starbucks.”

When Hayley was six years old, her mother brought her along to work at Starbucks and the young girl found the volume of discarded sugar wrappers distressing.

“I was able to see firsthand, at a young age, the impact on the environment,” Hayley said in October after being named the Best Young Entrepreneur in the 2011 Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.

More than 30 student teams representing 40 different competitions and organizations exhibited their projects at Tuesday’s event.

“I’ve said this many times — if we are recognizing athletic achievement, then we should also be recognizing academic achievement and science achievement,” said Obama, who regularly hosts championship-winning teams at the White House in a tradition dating back to the Reagan administration.

“If we invite the team that wins the Super Bowl to the White House, then we need to invite some science fair winners to the White House as well.”

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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