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International Science and Engineering Fair volunteer: ‘You’re bound to learn something new!’

Laura Branby (front, second from left) is passionate about volunteering at Intel ISEF. Photo Courtesy of Laura Branby.

It’s not just students who have a blast and learn at lntel ISEFVolunteers like Laura Branby, Creek Connections Pittsburgh Area Educator and Camp Director at Allegheny College, help ensure ISEF runs smoothly — and have a great time doing so! Laura, a member of the Pittsburgh Local Arrangements Committee, is looking forward to Intel ISEF from May 13-18 in Pittsburgh. She’s especially excited for Education Outreach Day on May 17, when approximately 2,500 local students and their teachers will participate in hands-on science programing.

How long have you been volunteering for ISEF?
​I volunteered for ISEF the first time in 2012. I then skipped 2013 not knowing I could continue to be involved in another city. I then returned in 2014 when the fair took place in Los Angeles and have been volunteering ever since.

How did you first become involved with ISEF?
​When ISEF first came to Pittsburgh in 2012, I heard through science education channels that they were looking for volunteers for a science-based classroom program. I’m a big proponent of science education and of any opportunity for me to learn more!  

What are some of your favorite memories as an ISEF volunteer?
​The excitement of ISEF! Teens come from all over the world with scientific ideas that will move the world forward in so many different disciplines. They are so serious about their projects and squeal with excitement as they meet up with teens from other countries. The students  overcome differing languages and cultures. They share ‘typical’ teen moments, from listening to favorite music through shared headphones shrieking as a top scientist addresses the entire group at the opening ceremony, or leaping with joy as they experienced Harry Potter World for the first time at Universal Studios in Los Angeles! 

You won’t find a more welcoming and encouraging environment that also leaves you excited about the future of our world. 

On the flip side, I am truly energized by the amazing ISEF volunteers who give freely of their time, most for many years. These volunteers travel from city to city with Intel ISEF to create the best experience for both the teen competitors from around the world and the local area middle and high school students who spend the day at Intel ISEF on Education Outreach Day.

Sign up to volunteer for Intel ISEF! 

Finally, I am in awe of the folks from the Society for Science & the Public who plan three years worth of events (or more) at the same time. They travel between the cities to meet with the Local Area Committees, coordinate volunteers in those cities, and travel around the world to participating science fairs to continue to encourage them to bring their top students to Intel ISEF.

Why should people sign up to be ISEF volunteers?
You should sign up to be an Intel ISEF volunteer because you won’t find a more welcoming and encouraging environment that also leaves you excited about the future of our world. You can’t help but come away feeling uplifted and you’re bound to learn something new!

ISEF needs volunteers! Check your calendar for the week beginning on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 13) and sign up to help out! You choose how much time you want to give and in what capacity. We especially need volunteers on Education Outreach Day (Thursday, May 17), a day that thousands of local area middle and high school students will visit the convention center to see the ISEF student projects, meet some of the teen competitors, and participate in hands-on classroom and other science activities. Please consider signing up to assist a local organization in a classroom activity. They will give you all the information you need to help them that day. Typically classroom volunteers will spend time keeping students interested and on task during an activity. I hope to see you there! 

Learn more about volunteering at Intel ISEF. 

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