WASHINGTON (WJZ) — As President Barack Obama makes his speech Tuesday night, one Maryland student will be watching right next to the First Lady.

Monique Griego has more on why this 16-year-old prodigy was invited to the State of the Union.

At just 16 years old, Jack Andraka has already made major contributions to the world of cancer detection. Now his accomplishments are taking him all the way to the White House.

As President Barack Obama makes his State of the Union address before Congress Tuesday night, high school student Jack Andraka will be watching from a very good seat.

The North County High School student was shocked when the White House called him Monday night.

“I’m like, `Hello’ and they’re like, `We’d like you to sit in the box of the First Lady.’ I was just running around screaming and the person on the phone thinks I’m insane now,” Andraka said.

A scientist and prodigy, Andraka was chosen by President Barack Obama because of his work in the field of cancer research. In 2012, he won the prestigious Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for creating a simpler, less expensive and more accurate way to detect pancreatic cancer.

“Essentially what I developed is a paper sensor that costs five cents and takes three cents to run and diagnoses pancreatic cancer with 100 percent accuracy but it could be used really for any disease,” he said.

Andraka, who is a STEM student, hopes to encourage more students to get involved in science and technology. While he’s already received a lot of recognition for his work, he says this honor is almost unbelievable.

“Sitting there in front row seats with the First Lady will be incredible. It’s like a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m so excited about it,” he said.

Although Andraka’s family is traveling with him to Washington, they’ll be watching the State of the Union from the White House.

Earlier this year, Andraka also got to meet former President Bill Clinton.


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