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A learning experience

Brown said he was able to meet with officials from the National Science foundation and learned how they allocate its $6.9 billion budget, $1 billion of which is dedicated to kindergarten through college education.

Brown also spoke with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. He said Duncan gave the recipients the opportunity to discuss ways they think education could be improved in the U.S.

He chronicled his experience at his blog, www.browndctrip.blogspot.com, which has a day-to-day account of his trip.

Brown said there were many highlights, but he especially enjoyed an I-Max movie presentation by National Geographic that focused on underwater dwelling "sea monsters."

Brown enjoyed the opportunity to ask questions to the film's director and contributing scientists who explained how evolution, fossils and actual data shaped the film.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is given to top pre-college teachers from across the U.S. annually. Distinguished mathematicians, scientists and educators choose the slate, according to South Colonie. The winners of the award were given $10,000 awards from the National Science Foundation and receive a paid trip to Washington, D.C.

"There is no higher calling than furthering the educational advancement of our nation's young people and encouraging and inspiring our next generation of leaders," Obama said in a statement. "These awards represent a heartfelt salute of appreciation to a remarkable group of individuals who have devoted their lives and careers to helping others and in doing so have helped us all."

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