“GE is very interested in promoting science and engineering to the students of the world because we need innovative and imaginative scientists to sustain our company,” says David O’Connor, Principal Engineer at GE Energy, who has been working with SSP to provide special awards at Intel ISEF for the past three years.
GE Energy awards are presented to projects that best display creative or efficient generation or usage of energy with special consideration of the GE Ecomagination commitment. “We are looking for imaginative, impactful ideas that affect the use, generation, and storage of energy,” David says, adding that GE judges especially look for projects that can make business sense.
David, who serves as a special awards judge for GE Energy, says he has enjoyed going to Intel ISEF and seeing that much excitement for science and engineering among youth. “I am often surprised at how young some of the people are,” he says. When he started judging, he figured it would be all high school seniors, ready to go off to college. But this year, their top winner was a 15-year-old freshman, which the judges were surprised to learn after picking her as the winner because her project was so impressive.
David also values the judging experience because students are “always full of enthusiasm, excitement, and ideas,” and they are eager to learn from the judges how they can improve their project. He has also enjoyed seeing the innovative ways some students get around their lack of technical resources. “We are very supportive of the mission of Intel ISEF,” David says. “It’s an amazing collection of talent in one spot.”
Intel ISEF 2011 GE Energy Awards
First Award of $2,500
Reducing the Cut-In Wind Speed of Wind Turbine Blades by Redirecting the Boundary Layer Airflows
Lauren Heather Reid, 15, O’Neill Collegiate and Vocational Institute, Oshawa,
Second Award of $1,500
Modeling Wind Power Generation Using Polynomial Chaos Expansion
Ryan Thomas Baker, 17, Hillcrest High School, Midvale, Utah
Third Award of $1,000
Increasing the Efficiency of Solar Tracking Systems
Michael Anthony Cerabona, 17, Yorktown High School, Yorktown Heights, New York