Skip to Content


Intel ISEF 2013: Student Observer Viewpoint

High school students from the Hudson County Science Fair in New Jersey are attending the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) 2013 as Observers with Society Fellow Marie Aloia. Below is their blog post about their experience the first two days of the event.

By Jan-alfred Aquino and Mina Shnoudah, Student Observers, Intel ISEF 2013

A group of student observers from Bayonne High School: Jan-alfred Aquino, Chrystal Spencer, Mina Henaen, Mina Shnoudah, Charmaine Castro, Habiba Bobboy, Abanoub Boules, and Sharif Abdelbaky, and their teacher advisor Marie Aloia are happy to share their adventures at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF).

We arrived on a hot, dry Saturday afternoon after two long plane rides from Newark to Phoenix. We spent the rest of Saturday relaxing at the hotel.

On Sunday, we went to the convention center, where we registered and checked out some of the nifty technology. Mina H., Mina S., and Jan-alfred played on the laptops in the lobby, and an unsuspecting Society photographer caught them in the act. The picture was featured on the Society’s Facebook page!

The rest of Sunday afternoon was spent getting lunch, exploring the city, and meeting some of the finalists. We went to see the film, The Great Gatsby, in our spare time.

The highlight of Sunday night, however, was the Pin Exchange, an icebreaker event where all of the countries and states represented at the fair exchanged pins from their local fairs.

Here, we met many people from all over the world and had a nice dinner with them. Charmaine and Jan-alfred met the Filipinos, and Mina S., Sharif, Abanoub, and Mina H. met the Egyptians, who we found out were staying in the same hotel as us! Jan-alfred also met Jack Andraka, the Gordon E. Moore Grand Prize Award winner at last year’s Intel ISEF! Some of us heading to college met some of our future classmates. Jan-alfred identified his classmates by their Yale t-shirts.

We woke up Monday morning with a nice hotel breakfast. We ventured off to the convention center using the light rail metro system; there, we sampled the many activities and exhibitions at the Intel E-Lounge, which is a futuristic hangout area. The Intel E-Lounge featured Intel Ultrabooks, Microsoft Surface tablets, a DJ, and a light graffiti station. Afterwards, Chrystal, Mina S., and Jan-alfred volunteered at the symposia, or informational lectures, by handing out papers and directing entries. The other observers sampled the numerous symposia, including “Telling Your Story” and “Raspberry Pi” (a small, high-tech computing system).

We were served a generous buffet for dinner. Shortly after, we headed off to the extravagant Opening Ceremonies, the highlight of the day. The ceremony featured colorful contortionists and acrobats (Mina S. and Sharif got a picture with them). Adam Steltzner from NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory gave an interesting keynote address on planetary exploration on Mars. Most exciting, however, was the parade of countries at the International Shoutout, where foreign countries and territories displayed their national pride through dress and art.

We are very happy and honored to be here at the Intel ISEF representing the Hudson County Science Fair, the Jersey Journal, and Bayonne High School.