The White House Science Fair on Monday, March 23rd was a huge success, and included an announcement from President Obama that an additional $240 million in private sector pledges to boost the study of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Of note, the 2015 White House Science Fair is focused on diversity.

Obama also noted that these new commitments from the private sector have brought total support for the new STEM programs to more than $1 billion

Obama Touts Pledges For STEM At White House Science Fair

More details on private sector STEM pledges

The pledges announced by the president on Wednesday include a $150 million program to encourage early-career scientists to continue in research, and a $90 million program to improve access to STEM opportunities to underrepresented youth such as minorities and females.

In addition, over 100 colleges and universities have agreed they will educate 20,000 engineers, and a group of civic-minded CEOs has promised to expand access to high-quality STEM education programs to another 1.5 million students by the end of 2015.

The White House kicked off its “Educate to Innovate” program to encourage the study of science, technology, engineering and math shortly after Obama’s initial inauguration back in 2009.

Over 35 student teams from all across the country set up their projects for the White House Science Fair on Monday.

President Obama is secret science geek

It’s a little known fact that President Obama is somewhat of a science geek, who regularly “ponders honeybee colony collapse disorder, fusion energy, and climate change,” when he has the chance to step back from the world stage.

That’s what John Holdren, Obama’s chief adviser on science and technology, said in an interview with NPR in December of last year.

“First of all he is a science geek,” Holdren told NPR, and added 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 with a laugh.