Melania Trump promotes STEM education at youth center

First lady Melania Trump speaks with a student as she visits a youth centre at  Joint Andrews Airforce base, Maryland on September 15, 2017.

Story highlights

  • First lady Melania Trump visited Joint Base Andrews Friday
  • She highlighted STEM education

(CNN)First lady Melania Trump highlighted science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education Friday afternoon, visiting with students at Joint Base Andrews outside of Washington.

Joining President Donald Trump for a speech at the base, the first lady made a stop of her own to the base's Youth Center, a facility serving approximately 200 children of military personnel, contractors and civilians living and working on the installation daily.
"Hi sweethearts," Trump said as she entered a brightly-colored room called the "Play Zone" decorated with a white board reading "Welcome Mrs. Trump" with a giant heart in red marker.
    She visited with first and second graders, a smattering of Legos and K'Nex pieces and Crayola markers set up on small tables.
    "Oh my God, they're amazing! Wow! I love Legos," she said, asking each child what they were building and coloring.
    She presented the students with a White House-themed coloring book.
    First lady Melania Trump speaks with a student as she visits a youth centre at  Joint Andrews Airforce base, Maryland on September 15, 2017.
    "This is the Oval Office, where the President sits and makes all the decisions," she said as she showed off the coloring book and crayons, asking the students to share their favorite colors.
    "You could make a pink room in the White House," she told the table of coloring students.
    Trump also visited a gymnasium, chatting with seventh and eighth grade students building sophisticated snap circuits, piloting a flight simulator, and constructing paper airplanes, which she even flew herself.
    "A little crash," she said, laughing. "It's like a boomerang."
    She cheered appreciatively after a successful paper airplane flight.
    "You're doing very well. This is the way to learn," she said.
    The STEM Center of Innovation aims to foster an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education by providing access to 3-D printers, robotics workshops and video production and conferencing equipment. The center, used by students in kindergarten through sixth grade before and after school, is a partnership between Boys & Girls Club of America and Raytheon.
    The first lady has not formally rolled out her official platform, however, an announcement is expected in the coming weeks. Friday's visit could signal an emphasis on promoting STEM education in her forthcoming platform, which has also been a priority for first daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump. While traveling to Warsaw, Poland, in July, she toured the Copernicus Science Center, an interactive science museum.
    "I had the opportunity to visit the Copernicus Science Center today and found it not only informative, but thoughtful in its mission, which is to inspire people to observe, experiment, ask questions and seek answers," she said in a speech at Krasinski Square that day.
    She has so far identified women's empowerment and access to education for women and girls as key priorities for her East Wing.
    Trump has also subtly signaled other priorities -- she has now made seven separate visits to children's hospitals, and in early April, she visited a local shelter for abused women and children in South Florida.
    She's assembled a team of staff, including chief of staff Lindsay Reynolds, social secretary Rickie Niceta and communications director Stephanie Grisham, to help her formally roll out what will ultimately become her legacy as first lady.
    Trump moved into the White House at the conclusion of the school year with son Barron, 11, last June.
    She will travel to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City with the President next week, where she will participate in events of her own, and later this month, she will make her first solo foreign trip as first lady to Canada, attending the Invictus Games alongside Prince Harry.