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Leticia Aceret, an English and Spanish simultaneous interpreter, has volunteered at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) for eight years. She calls Intel ISEF "the highlight of my year."
This is the first in a series on volunteering at Intel ISEF. Read on to find out why science fairs are so important.
WHAT VOLUNTEERING AT INTEL ISEF IS LIKE: I’m one of the simultaneous interpreters. I cover the opening ceremonies, the panel of Nobel Laureates, and also help the children with presenting their projects to the judges. I'm also part of the Los Angeles arrangements committee for Intel ISEF.
ISEF is the highlight of my year.
I interpret for people that are CFOs or CEOs for large companies like HP, AT&T, the Army. These are young people [at Intel ISEF] that are going to be crucial for our future. To be a little part of it is so amazing.
To be part of such a select group is humbling. ISEF is the highlight of my year. I don’t get paid with money, I get paid with the experience. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be part of this. Every year I hope they choose me again to be part of the volunteering.
Seeing all these countries together, girls and boys, working in peace, this is something that adults could learn from.
WHY SHE THINKS SCIENCE FAIRS LIKE INTEL ISEF ARE IMPORTANT: It's incredible to see what these young minds can do. They are shaping the future for medicine, robotics, and all the other sciences. To be able to showcase these types of projects, seeing all these countries together, girls and boys, working in peace, this is something that adults could learn from.
HER ADVICE FOR NEW VOLUNTEERS: Go with an open heart. Go with an open mind. Because you’re going to get so much out of it. I don’t think it’s something you can get paid with with money, you get paid with experience. It’s something many people don’t get a chance to do.
You’re part of something much bigger than yourself. You’re helping to shape the future.
Once you [volunteer] for the first time, your life changes. You’re part of something much bigger than yourself. You’re helping to shape the future. Be ready to get much more than you think you’re going to get.
STEM RUNS IN HER FAMILY: I've always loved science. I’m an electrical engineer; that’s my first career. My master's is in interpreting. I had to follow my calling.
These are young people that are going to be crucial for our future ... they are shaping the future.
I come from a family of scientists. My brother is a doctor, my mom is an accountant, others are in software engineering, IT, sound engineering. We all have that background. It’s in my blood.
In 2011 I was getting ready to take my test to get certified for interpreting. Intel ISEF seemed like something great to volunteer for. After that, it was love at first sight.
HER ADVICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN STEM: Don’t think that your project is not good enough. Believe in yourself and just go for it.
When Evains Francois was a high school sophomore, he really liked biology and robotics. He just didn’t know he could combine them.
As a teacher, it can be difficult to motivate students to put in the extra work to conduct science projects and participate in science fairs.