15-year-old Boca scientist meets President Obama

Posted at 7:12 PM, Apr 21, 2016

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s the motto which helped one Boca Raton high school student meet President Barack Obama.

“I was just so honored and blown away,” Hannah Herbst explained.

The 15-year-old is a freshman at A.D. Henderson University School on Florida Atlantic University’s campus.

She created a device that uses ocean currents to create electricity. The invention got her an invitation to the president's science fair at the White House last week.

Herbst said she didn’t get much notice of the event and wasn't event sure if Obama would actually be there.

“I was the closest to the door and he walks in with his people and it was amazing because he looks right at me and says, ‘How are you?’” Herbst remembered.

She said she could barely speak. Eventually, she calmed her nerves and explained her invention to the president.

Back home, one of her teachers says it's an inspiration for students to see how far science can take them.

“Students really get to see their project makes a difference and it's rewarding and I think it catches them and they really want to work at it,” explained science teacher Suzette Milu.

Herbst keeps a picture of her and the president on her computer. When she looks at it, she'll remember just how far one good idea can take you.

“Never give up because maybe you'll get to the White House, maybe you'll meet someone so influential and so powerful and he could get this deployed in a second,” she said.

Herbst’s next stop is an international science fair May 8 in Arizona. She said her goal is to make her design available on a large scale to help people in countries where access to electricity is limited.