Promoting an interest in scientific research at the World Science Festival: One student’s story | Society for Science & the Public
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Intel ISEF

Promoting an interest in scientific research at the World Science Festival: One student’s story

June 21, 2017
Society alumni Indrani Das, Benjy Firester, and Eleanor Sigrest led hands-on workshops at the World Science Festival.
Society alumni Indrani Das, Benjy Firester, and Eleanor Sigrest led hands-on workshops at the World Science Festival.
PHOTO COURTESY OF SOCIETY FOR SCIENCE & THE PUBLIC.

By Benjy Firester (Intel ISEF 2016 and 2017), rising senior at Hunter College High School

On Sunday, June 4th, I had the pleasure of representing Intel ISEF at the World Science Festival in New York City. Throughout the day I talked with kids of all ages about my experiences at Intel ISEF over the past two years, as well as my research into modeling potato late blight. I organized and ran an activity which demonstrated some of the aspects of my research in modeling – I really enjoyed this opportunity to share my knowledge and interest in science with other students.

Science fairs ... offer a unique opportunity to meet so many people from different backgrounds interested in science.

The highlight of my day was participating in an interview with Lynn Brunelle discussing how I got into research, what I did, and advice I had for other middle school or high school students interested in science. I was thrilled to talk before a live audience about my research on multiple different levels – from “what is probability,” to how algorithms and mathematical modeling offer new solutions to centuries-old diseases.

Benjy Firester gives a hands-on demonstration for kids at the World Science Festival.
Benjy Firester gives a hands-on demonstration for kids at the World Science Festival.
PHOTO COURTESY OF SOCIETY FOR SCIENCE & THE PUBLIC.

At the festival, I met Indrani Das, the top winner at the Regeneron Science Talent Search 2017, and Eleanor Sigrest, the top winner from the Broadcom MASTERS 2016, which were amazing experiences. Being able to discuss science in depth and with such passion with other kids my age is one of the most fulfilling parts of any science event. At Intel ISEF, or at this year’s World Science Festival, I know the connections I made will last a lifetime.

Being able to discuss science in depth and with such passion with other kids my age is one of the most fulfilling parts of any science event.

Being at the Festival and presenting my research was a great honor, and I had so much fun doing it! Science fairs, such as this one or Intel ISEF, offer a unique opportunity to meet so many people from different backgrounds interested in science. Events such as these also teach science in a different way than the normal classroom context, and can make it more approachable and fun. I loved participating in the World Science Festival and hope that my presentation made an impact for the promotion of science and interest in research.