By: Carolyn Carson, Alumni Coordinator
A few weeks ago on a sunny Friday afternoon, I found myself at the Yale University Center for Engineering Innovation and Design for our first-ever Society Alumni Pizza Party, spearheaded by Yale junior and Intel ISEF alumna Yamini Naidu. The center seems like the lair of a mad scientist, with sixteen high tables — the kind you would find in a workshop or high school science class, power tools, spools of copper wire, 3D Printers, and even a sewing machine stocked with thread of every imaginable color.
In addition to Yamini and I, more than 30 Society alumni gathered to share memories of our programs, talk about their passions, and make new friends. As our alumni talked and laughed, a feeling of nostalgia was in the air. While I showed highlights videos from our different programs, the Society alumni buzzed with excitement each time they saw someone they knew or a location they recognized. I also played a slideshow of the Society’s 1984 Westinghouse Science Talent Search, when the second-place winner was Sandy Chang (pictured below), who is now a professor of Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale.
But our alumni didn’t spend long dwelling on the past. Talk quickly shifted to volunteering and judging at local science fairs and at this year’s Intel ISEF. The alumni were interested in how the Society could help them get more involved in science education in their area.
The alumni program at the Society, at least in its current form, is less than a year old — and we have just one full-time, dedicated staff member (me). That’s why I need your help. Send me an email if you have any ideas for what the Society could be doing to mobilize our alumni. Let me know if you want to host an event, as Yamini did at Yale. If you have a science education mentorship or volunteer opportunity in your area, let us know. I love to hear from you. My inbox is always open.