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We had so much support for our volunteering at ISEF blog posts that even more volunteers contacted us to be featured. Jessica Ullyott has volunteered at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) for several years. She said competition, like science fairs, makes us challenge and motivate ourselves to achieve more than expected. "By pushing ourselves and others, we push the boundaries of what is possible," Jessica said.
Read on to find out why science fairs are so important.
I want all students to experience how much fun science can be.
WHAT VOLUNTEERING AT INTEL ISEF IS LIKE: I started volunteering at first because I was interested in participating in anything about science, but continued after being so inspired by the thousands of kids from all over the world. As a teacher, the community outreach day is one of my favorites. During outreach day, I'm able to help students from underserved communities participate in a great STEM activity. They are always so excited to receive free things from the expo and do a hands-on activity with their classmates. I want all students to experience how much fun science can be.
I volunteer on different days, so every day is different. I love being at "the HUB" during judging day because of all the energy in the room. The HUB is the main headquarters in the judging hall. I am responsible for answering questions and helping judges and students during that day. The next day is community outreach where I lead classes of middle school students through a hands-on lab with other volunteers.
By pushing ourselves and others, we push the boundaries of what is possible.
WHY SHE THINKS SCIENCE FAIRS LIKE INTEL ISEF ARE IMPORTANT: Competition is innate in all humans. Competition causes us to challenge ourselves and motivate ourselves to achieve more than expected. By pushing ourselves and others, we push the boundaries of what is possible.
HER ADVICE FOR NEW VOLUNTEERS: Anyone with any background can volunteer. You just need to be willing to give your time for a great cause. You will not regret it! There is also an expo day (ISEF Commons) where you can learn about different organizations and colleges for people interested in STEM.
ON RECEIVING THE SENIOR TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARD: It was a great honor to be nominated by my students. I teach at Gompers Preparatory Academy, a charter school in Southeast San Diego. Most of my students live under the poverty line and have limited resources. I make sure that all my students have the same opportunities that other students have at other schools. Every year, I have more students that qualify for the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair and I hope that they will eventually qualify for ISEF!
HOW SHE BECAME INTERESTED IN STEM: I have always been interested in science since I was very little. I always had geodes, a microscope, and robotics materials. I was a kinesiology major in college and wanted to teach anatomy and physiology. I got my teaching credential in life science and have not stopped learning about science since. I never had formal lab experience so I go to professional development every year to learn more about the industry and how to be a better teacher.
Independence in conducting science research can have many benefits for students.