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Here’s from Agustina…

Tuesday (party mixer) -AGUSTINA

The morning started out with a breakfast at the hotel. I had the biggest and spongiest french toast in all of California – we joked and called it french baguette instead. After breakfast Mrs. Fanucci, Shobita, Connor, and I spent the first two hours of the morning practicing. Judging day was tomorrow, so we made sure to practice until we knew our presentation cold. After a much needed practice, it was a quick stroll to the convention center. Luckily, the weather was nice, so we were able to enjoy the fresh morning air. Once we were at the convention center we grabbed something small to eat at the Compass Cafe before going off to Zia’s symposium. Zia’s symposium was very interesting and all of us really enjoyed learning about Zia’s profession. Afterias symposium we sprinted to get good seats at the auditorium- the alumni panel was about to begin! The alumni panel had me in awe. Words do not even begin to describe how inspired I felt. I was so amazed by how far these ISEF alums have come since they competed. One of the alums was actually working on his ISEF project at MIT! It was so incredible to hear this because it gave me hope that i, too, can continue my ISEF project- i don’t have to stop at the high school level. After the alumni panel I had the pleasure of meeting one of the alums. I only had 30 seconds with him but I was amazed when he elaborated on his foundation that pays students in Africa to attend school. How incredible is that? And best part, he’s only 21!! He is so young, yet so accomplished. After the alumni panel we had a Nobel laureate panel and again I was inspired by how accomplished all of these men and women were. Students were pre-selected to ask the laureates question and the question I found the most intriguing was: have you found any conflicts with your faith and science? I am religious and I am a strong science advocate so I, too, have sometimes struggled with this. The night ended with a mixer at the NOVA club and Grammy awards museum. It was a very cool experience to have the two buildings to ourselves. There was a giant pit where all the students were dancing- I even saw one bold finalist surf the crowd! I spent the night speaking to my two Austrian friends that I met earlier that day and ,as well, we talked we a group of students from Israel. Speaking English was not an issue and we spent the majority of the night bonding about music. That night we created a WHATSAPP group chat that we then used the rest of the week. The mixer ended at 9- pretty early but in fact it was so ideal because we were all exhausted from the long day and were looking forward to going to sleep. Overall, it was a terrific day!

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