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Observing the future of STEM

Student Observers try to beat video games in one of the workshops. PHOTOS COURTESY OF SOCIETY FOR SCIENCE & THE PUBLIC/MARLENA CHERTOCK.

Beeping and 8-bit music from video games filled the air. A room full of middle school and high school students tried to beat, and break, video games during one workshop of the Student Observer program on Wednesday morning.

While Intel ISEF is bustling along, a Student Observer cohort gathers to experience workshops and the finalists’ projects together.

This year, the Observers learned about the philosophy behind video games, what computer science really means, and discovered how to best describe their projects to an audience. Many Society volunteers and staff sat amongst students and offered advice while they explained their projects and research.

In the video game workshop, volunteers watched as students played games and wrote down the different steps they took.

Computer science isn’t just sitting at your computer all day, according to a robotics roadshow workshop leader who asked the student observers to answer questions about what they thought when they heard “computer science.”¬†

Computer science actually involves art, creativity, teamwork, and problem solving. If you come up with an idea and don’t share it, you may never produce an actual product or service.

Student Observers visit Intel ISEF from the Society’s affiliated fairs. These students get a first-hand experience of Intel ISEF, meet finalists, participate in science activities and tour the projects. This opportunity sparks their interest in STEM careers and inspires them to pursue science research.

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