Being an alumnus of Society for Science & the Public means that you were one of the top tier of young middle or high school student researchers in the world and recognizes your months, sometimes years, of hard work and dedication to conducting independent hands-on research. For many of us it was a source of validation and inspiration that encouraged us to continue pursuing our interests in science, technology, engineering, and math.
I know, because I too am a proud alumna of the Society. At 13, I fell in love with science while studying the life cycle of duckweed in a botany lab at East Carolina University. It was my first step toward becoming a “science fair junkie,” and led me to compete in multiple science fairs and attend the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. In my senior year of high school, I was named to the Honors Group of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, now sponsored by Intel, for my research looking at the genetic determinants of tetracycline resistance in certain bacteria.
Being able to do scientific research at this level wasn’t something that I did on my own. I had support- from my parents, teachers, and mentors in the scientific community. As alumni, it’s now our responsibility to support the next generation of young science enthusiasts. We know better than anyone the importance of science fairs and competitions like the Broadcom MASTERS, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and the Intel Science Talent Search. They provide students with a shared experience that reinforces the importance of research, while helping them develop skills, make connections, and learn. There are now nearly 50,000 alumni worldwide from Society competitions, with approximately 2,000 new students being added to this group annually. You are a force to be reckoned with.
Whether you have continued on in a STEM field or applied the critical thinking and presentation skills you honed through participating in science fairs to other fields, we urge each of you to reconnect. Tell us what you have been up to, what you would find useful as an alumni, and what you think is important for the Society to focus on. We encourage you to support young researchers by serving as a resource, mentoring, or volunteering as a judge at a local science fair or at one of our competitions, like Intel ISEF, being held this May in Pittsburgh.
You and your fellow alumni are vitally important to us here at the Society, and we are in the process of hiring an Alumni Director in order to better communicate with you, as well as plan events, programs, and projects aimed at your specific interests. Be on the lookout for additional information about new opportunities for Society alumni in the coming months!
My role leading the Society allows me to blend my love of science and dream of educating and improving the lives of young people. I look forward to meeting more of you, and hope that you too share my interest in supporting the next generation of young scientists and meeting our mission of informing, educating, and inspiring the public about the beauty and importance of science.
CEO and President, Society for Science & the Public
Publisher, Science News