What a fantastic experience Intel ISEF was! The keynote speaker for the Opening Ceremonies was inspiring and his “Frugal Science” concept sent a clear message to the students that science experiences can be made available to anyone at a very small cost. The Pin Exchange Mixer gave the kids a chance to meet so many new people, not just from the USA, but from all over the world. Wednesday, which was the judging day, was very intense, but Agustina, Connor and Shobhita proved worthy of the challenge, as they gave their presentation multiple times and answered challenging questions from the judges. Thursday, the public viewing day gave them the opportunity to share their research with many LA school children and hopefully inspire them. Over 4,000 school children attended! Both the Special Awards ceremony Thursday night and the Grand Awards ceremony Friday morning were so exciting. As you know, Shobhita won a $1,000 award from NSA and a $450 fourth place award from ISEF.
Kudos to Zia for taking the initiative to get CT STEM Science Fair accepted as a feeder fair for Intel ISEF. It was a huge undertaking and Zia invested a lot of his personal time and effort to bring this about. In addition, the logistics of getting the students to the fair (hotel and plane reservations, creation of permission forms, information forms and code of conduct forms, and contact with the parents) was a huge undertaking, and Zia is to be commended for pulling this off without a hitch! While we were there, Zia made the additional effort to give our attendees extra science experiences, by arranging visits to both the LA Science Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits.
Personally, I found the experience of chaperoning an exhilarating one. It was great to work with such dedicated science students, help them prepare for their presentations and accompany them during all the stages of their ISEF experience. Zia was great to work with. He had everything well organized so that there was no stress for either the students or myself. So again a huge “thank-you” to Zia for making this all happen in a smooth and timely fashion!! If you want, I will be happy to work with Zia next year and act as chaperone for ISEF.
I will be back in CT by the end of the week and will meet with the Scholarship Committee Tuesday, May 30. I will update you on this shortly after the scholarship meeting.