Students from Hudson County, New Jersey, attending the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF 2012) with 2010 Society Fellow Marie Aloia, wrote daily blog posts for their hometown newspaper about their experience. Below are excerpts from these student blogs (Part 3 of a 3-part blog series).
By Tasfia Tasnim and Chrystal Spencer, Student Observers, Intel ISEF 2012
We started our day off early with the Student Observers’ Caucus at the Westin Hotel, while Jan-Alfred and Mervy, our finalists this year, faced the judges. There, we attended a number of different science-related workshops. We were placed into groups with students from all over the world, separated from our peers; it was a very interesting experience. Being able to speak to and work constructively with those who have similar interests as us from across the globe was indeed a once in a lifetime experience.
The workshops that we attended included Project Share, where we spoke briefly about the projects that we completed this year with students who did projects in the same category; Science Relay, where we worked intensly against the clock with a group to complete a variety of fun, science-related activities; Career Exploration, where we spoke with professionals in many different fields about reaching our career goals and the “real world”; Forensics Training, where we got a taste of what it is like to be in the position of a forensic investigator ; and Science Stations , where we did activities such as extracting DNA from strawberries and making ice-cream. After enjoying a delicious lunch, we were placed into groups to created our very own chain reaction obstacle courses out of recylcled materials.
This evening, we attended the Intel ISEF Night. The event was located at the Heinz Stadium and the Carnegie Science Center, which was very close by. It was a very entertaining way to end such a great day. We ate, played games, mingled with our fellow science peers- just an all-around amazing time.
By Mervy Michael, Student Observer, Intel ISEF 2012
Judging at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair began today. Each person usually got about 6 scheduled judges spaced out in an 8-hour period, from 8:15 AM to 4:15 PM. And from 4:15 PM to 6 PM were unscheduled[interviews with] judges. The judging interviews were each about 15 minutes, with a bell at 12 minutes to indicate that time is running out. Judging at the Intel ISEF 2012 was intense and like nothing you’ll ever encounter. At this point in the fair, knowing your project well has become more important than eating. When we left the hall at 6PM the people waiting outside for us all applauded.
By Chris Kennedy, Student Observer, Intel ISEF 2012
On the fifth day of Intel ISEF, the citizens of Pittsburgh and the surrounding area were invited to view the event on Public Outreach Day.
[Public Outreach Day started with] an introductory video which embodied the essence of Intel ISEF and offered a preview of events to come. The students were then led to an Expo involving countless technology firms and colleges which offered information on careers and services. As groups of eager middle and high school students perused the countless information booths, the two finalists, Jan-Alfred Aquino and Mervy Michael, were preparing their stations for the wave of students and visitors expected to crash upon the shores of the more than1200 exhibits. As the student observers led their groups with element themed flags, the students all entered the exhibition hall. Questions were asked about each project as they garnered interest and inspired a new group of students to explore careers and interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. After a mock forensics lab was explored and analyzed by the students, they left the convention center with a new perspective on the importance of scientific exploration and progress.
Once we completed our duties, the student observers and finalists met to witness the Special Awards Ceremony, where finalists have the opportunity to win countless scholarship and travel opportunities. With over seventy major organizations offering awards, the ceremony lasted late into the evening. However, finalist Mervy Michael, of Union City High School, was the recipient of the first place United States Air Force Award. For this honor, she received a medal, plaque, and a $3000 award. Once again Hudson County has left its mark on the Intel ISEF; the Final Awards Ceremony, on May 18, will conclude the Intel ISEF experience. Although today was a long and tiring day, it was a fulfilling experience which gave us all an opportunity to spread our passions for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics among the people of the great city of Pittsburgh.
Note: Mervy Michael also won a Fourth Award of $500 in the Environmental Sciences category.