Sciencewomen

i-5967dc2922afde9f1adc0df6992156ff-isef_logo_newsm.gifBreaking news….they’ve just announced the grand award winners at the Intel International
Science and Engineering Fair. And I’m absolutely thrilled to tears to announce that the top three prize winners are all girls! One more nail in the coffin for those who say that girls can’t do science, math, and engineering.

Go below the fold for full details…


Three talented, hard working, and lucky students are the recipients of the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award, which includes a $50,000 college scholarship. This year’s winners are:

  • Efficient Hydrogen Production Using Cu-Zn-Al Catalysts Prepared by Homogeneous Precipitation Method by Yi-Han Su, 17 from Taipei Municipal First Girls’ Senior High School in Taipei. (A girl! From Taiwan! And I happened to pick up her abstract and take a picture of her board! (I’ll have the pic and highlights from the abstract later this afternoon)
  • Development of Biosensors for Detecting Hazardous Chemicals by Natalie Saranga Omattage, 17, from The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science in Columbus. (Another girl!)
  • Computation of the Alexander-Conway Polynomial on the Chord Diagrams of Singular Knots by
    Sana Raoof, 17 of Jericho High School in Jericho, New York. (Another girl! It’s a sweep!

Three students were also awarded the Seaborg SIYSS Award, which consists of a trip to the Nobel Prize ceremonies in Stockholm in December. These students, the three top high school seniors, will get a chance to hob-nob with the Nobel laureates, hear them give their lectures, see the medals get awarded, and attend a glamorous feast and ball at the Stockholm town hall. They’ll also get to interact with other top young scientists from the European Union and around the world. Short of winning a Nobel prize itself, this is the closest you can come to being at the center of the events. These smart, dedicated, lucky soon-to-be world travelers are:

  • Kaleigh Anne Eichel, 17, of Strongsville Senior High School, in Strongsville, Ohio for her project
    The Ability to Learn: Learning and Communication between Comet Goldfish
  • Dongyoung Kim, 17, of the Korean Minjok Leadership Academy, in Anheung, Gangwon, South Korea for his computer science project Real-Time Water Wave Simulation with Surface Advection
  • Eric Nelson Delgado, 18,of Bayonne High School, Bayonne, New Jersey for his project on Engineering a Novel Gram-Negative Effective Efflux Pump Inhibitor.

The top team project wins a trip to the European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Denmark in December. Congratulations to Jared Vega Goodman, 17, and Jonathan Wang, 16, of the Oak Hall School in Gainesville, Florida for their project on Protection of Neurons Against Injury Using Neuroreceptor-Targeting Nanoparticles.

Aside from these overall winners, 25% of the projects at the fair received category grand awards. You can see the full list of grand award winners here. (Is there on from your hometown? Or someone doing a project right up your alley?) The best project in each category wins $5000, first award winners receive $3000, second awards are worth $1500, thirds win $1000, and fourths win $500. All first and second award winners also get a minor planet named after them by MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory. An out-of-this world prize! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Besides all the cash, the grand award winners have the privilege, joy, and cool factor of knowing that their hard work, late nights, long hours in the field and lab, resulted in becoming the best of the best high school science researchers in the world.

But more importantly, every student at the Intel ISEF and at any local, regional, or state fair in the country has gotten the experience of really doing science and learning more about their world. They’ve gained speaking skills, writing skills, math competence, and, hopefully, some confidence in themselves. Whether they go on to become scientists, engineers, mathematicians, doctors, or lawyers, teachers, salespeople, and accountants, those skills and their appreciation for the science process will make them better citizens of the world. And, really, that’s what science fairs are all about.

Comments

  1. #1 Allison
    May 16, 2008

    Where/ how do the contestants get access to the equipment, mentors, etc, necessary to do some of these projects? How hard is it for someone not from one of the ISEF usual suspect schools to get their work accepted?

  2. #2 Joshua Zelinsky
    May 16, 2008

    I expected you to note that this was the second times this has occurred recently when a similar event occurred with the Siemens-Westinghouse competition. (In fact, I seem to recall that you blogged about that back in December).

  3. #3 ScienceWoman
    May 16, 2008

    Allison: I’m not sure what you mean by “get their work accepted.” Anyone can participate in an affiiliated regional fair, which is how projects get picked for ISEF. Once there, the judges are pretty blind to the “usual suspect schools” because the vast majority of judges have no idea who the usual suspects are. Nor do they care.

    Joshua: A very good point and one that had not escaped me. But I wrote this post mostly without internet access so I minimized the links.

  4. #4 windy
    May 16, 2008

    You can see the full list of grand award winners here. (Is there on from your hometown? Or someone doing a project right up your alley?)

    Even better, some students from our project are there! Now what’s my cut of the prize money? :P

  5. #5 Riesz Fischer
    May 16, 2008

    I guess there may be some truth to the expression “Girls Rule!”.

  6. #6 justapie
    May 16, 2008

    Uhm, I suppose your answer to Allison might hold for the US, but I think it is much harder to have access to this kind of opportunities in other places – I have in mind my home country for one.

  7. #7 agnostic
    May 16, 2008

    This is what rad fem inevitably leads to: groupthink cheerleading for having won in the minors. Let’s see how many stick with it, rather than wuss out and join the professions or something else.

    Ever notice how men never cheer and brag when it’s men who sweep the science Nobels or Fields Medal competitions? It’s because men value the hard work that goes into the recognition more than the attention and awards themselves. And it’s perverse to brag about something that someone else accomplished, even if they belong to some group that you also belong to.

  8. #8 Female Engineering Professor
    May 16, 2008

    You are so right agnostic! I suppose that’s why men think sporting events are dumb. I mean really, only wussy girls would show up in matching outfits and face paint and cheer on a group of athletes just because they hail from the same city or state or school.

  9. #9 James Stein
    May 16, 2008

    I know it’s not a productive comment at all, but I think it still bears saying, especially coming from another man:

    agnostic, you’re an obviously myopic jackass, and I wish you would not taint my sex by affiliation.

  10. #10 Riesz Fischer
    May 16, 2008

    Careful! I think we should treat agnostic with the respect he deserves. He is clearly a very intelligent man.

    But I respectfully disagree with him on one point: As a man I always cheer wildly when a man wins a Nobel prize. In fact whenever I hear about any kind of accomplishment in science or engineering it always catches my attention if it happens to be a man.

    But except for that one point I thought his comment was spot on.

  11. #11 Allie
    May 17, 2008

    This is great. Girls and women are just as good as the guys when it comes to science and math. 35 years ago when I was in Jr. High a science teacher told me that girl are not good at science and math and I should not even try. It’s a good thing that I’m stubborn because that gave me the motivation through school to take all of the science and math that I could. I earned a BS in Applied Math as well as a Masters in Aeronautics. So there, male science teacher, stick that in your ass and smoke it. Ha Ha Ha.

  12. #12 James Stein
    May 17, 2008

    You’ll have to forgive me, Riesz, if I find that intelligence alone does not make a person worthy of respect.

    The fact that agnostic’s writing has the quiet tell-tales of an educated person does not reassure me – quite the contrary: it is worrisome that someone that apparently has a brain and/or an education holds the view that “rad feminism leads to groupthink cheerleading.”

    Thus the reason I didn’t call him an idiot. I believe my chosen words were accurate, and still bear saying. Others may choose to try and engage agnostic on a rational level: I do not think you’ll find any satisfaction in that beyond engaging a troll with enough of a brain to tie you in semantic knots for days.

    If only to get back to the post at hand:
    I attended a sciences high school in New York City called Stuyvesant. We had an extremely selective student population, and the school’s program favored as many of us trying for the Intel competition as possible during our junior and senior years.

    It’s worth noting that, sexually, our Math/Sciences high school had a roughly equal breakdown, and so (as they were *all* mandatory) were the science classes. But from what I noticed, more girls tended to try out for the Intel competition. And, obviously, more usually won (we usually produced around five to ten winners a year).

    We never had those “girls can’t do math” issues. But I guess it’s the natural liberalism of a selective academic setting.

  13. #13 Riesz Fischer
    May 17, 2008

    James, I was being sarcastic. Sarcasm is difficult to do when typing, and I should have used the “/s” tag. Sorry for the confusion.

    Anyway, agnostic is not intelligent, he’s a moron. He’s trying one of the favorite tricks of conservatives, pretending that there is some kind of symmetry between two groups of people, in this case men and women. Obviously there is a huge legacy of sexism in the science and engineering fields and to pretend that there is any kind of symmetry between men and women is ludicrous. Men don’t cheer when other men win a Nobel prize partly because it happens routinely!

    I’m cheering for these girls because equality of the sexes benefits all of us, not just women.

  14. #14 Astrofys
    May 17, 2008

    While I certainly do want to defend agnostics views, I think it’s unfortunate to be glad because the award winners are of the same sex. Just imagine the opposite happening the next year and some other assistant professor saying:

    “I’m absolutely thrilled to tears to announce that the top three prize winners are all boys!”

  15. #15 ScienceWoman
    May 17, 2008

    Uhm, I suppose your answer to Allison might hold for the US, but I think it is much harder to have access to this kind of opportunities in other places – I have in mind my home country for one.

    Very true. Mea culpa.

    While I certainly do [not?] want to defend agnostics views, I think it’s unfortunate to be glad because the award winners are of the same sex. Just imagine the opposite happening the next year…

    In fact the opposite did happen last year, and nobody commented on the fact that they were all boys. Why not? Because you don’t hear people (including prominent college presidents) saying that boys can’t do science and math. When we hear constantly and insiduously that we are not as good as males…and we do hear this all the time in both subtle and blatant ways…then I think we are totally justified in pointing out the counter-examples like this one. But I also look forward to the day when nobody notices that girls (or boys) are winning science competitions, and I said as much a few months ago when girls swept the top awards at the Siemens competition.

  16. #16 Astrofys
    May 17, 2008

    Oops, it should have been a NOT in said place in my previous comment, should have read it through once more…..

    I agree that it is justified to point out the counter-examples to such bigoted individuals, it’s another thing to express happiness about it. It just makes the other side feel more antagonised instead of re-examining their prejudices.

  17. #17 Allison
    May 17, 2008

    I don’t think I asked my question well. My general question is really how diverse are the students who make it to ISEF? Not in terms of ethnicity or gender, but in terms of rural vs public vs magnet vs private schools. It seems like in a school like NYC’s Stuyvesant, the support and structure to do good/ amazing science as a high schooler is already there. But if you’re a kid from Rural High School in Poor State, how do you get anywhere near the point where you can do a project like one of the winner’s? What’s the process in getting to one of these winning ideas? They seem far outside of what any of my high school science teachers could do or help me with, and I feel like most of my teachers were better than average.

  18. #18 agnostic
    May 17, 2008

    Female engin prof should’ve taken some logic classes. I didn’t say that men never engage in groupthink cheerleading at all — the sports case is obvious. I said that we never engage in bragging or cheerleading for our own sex, in the way that many women cheer and brag when women, qua women, do well at something. If you don’t see the difference, I can spell it out in even more basic detail and with other examples.

    ScienceWoman is trying to detract attention from the bragging and cheerleading phenomenon by saying that she and others are only “noticing” when girls do well. That would make perfect sense: since it’s usually males who sweep these things, it’s unusual and worth noticing when it’s females who do so.

    But “noticing” something is pretty vague and unemotional. It’s clear from the tone of voice and exclamation point in the title of the post that there is bragging and cheerleading going on, in addition to merely noticing the fact.

  19. #19 DanioPhD
    May 17, 2008

    I can’t help but notice that, despite the reams of negative press Florida Science Education has received recently, the Sunshine state is very well represented in the awards list. Is the perhaps a result of good mentoring by grad students/faculty from Florida colleges and universities? Enthusiastic science teachers who are committed to bucking the backwards science trend in their state? Perhaps there is more to be hopeful for in Florida than we have been led to believe…

  20. #20 Riesz Fischer
    May 17, 2008

    agnostic should’ve taken some logic classes. ScienceWoman didn’t deny that we’re cheering for those girls, she merely said that she “…look[s] forward to the day when nobody notices that girls (or boys) are winning science competitions…”. Let me try to make this simple for you: she’s saying that someday sexism may become insignificant to the point that not only will people see no reason to cheer when girls win science awards, they will not even notice it.

    Duh. Is this hard for you?

  21. #21 Dave Eaton
    May 17, 2008

    Wouldn’t it be dreamy if sexism, racism, and side-of-the-track-ism wasn’t such that some of us feel the need to cheer when women, ethnic minorities, or people from humble beginnings overcome the odds to shine?

    I grew up on the edge of rural Kentucky (cue the jokes about banjos, in-breeding and lack of shoes…) and was told half a dozen times as a kid that I wouldn’t make it as a scientist because I was so poorly prepared in math. It was a lot harder than it needed to be, though I eventually found mentors that helped me turn deficiencies into strenghts. I didn’t see much direct racism, because the area I lived in was largely white. But I certainly saw girls discouraged.

    I still get some crap for my accent, and few think twice about asking if my wife is also my sister, or check for shoes, when I mentioned I’m from Kentucky. All in fun, of course. Don’t think for a second I don’t enjoy saying in my worst drawl, “Hey, dy’all see my new patent?” or adding about 17 syllables to “Nuclear Overhauser effect”.

    It’s better than when I was a kid three decades ago. Still, some children might need an extra boost, and deserve extra cheers.

    I can’t begrudge anyone a gender-specific sense of triumph, since I can appreciate the human triumph without feeling diminished by being male or diminishing the extra effort that goes into accomplishment for women. Science wins, and these kids win, whether we count gender coup or not. That’s worth a huzzah.

  22. #22 Flicka Mawa
    May 17, 2008

    I understand where Allison and justapie are coming from. One of the things that stands out to me the most when I see these amazing projects from high schoolers is the resources they must have had available or found just to be able to do that in high school. I went to an average public high school, and I never would have had the resources to pursue this kind of science there. And no one ever told me that I could consider trying to work in a college laboratory while I was only in high school; I would have never dared to contact a college professor and ask if I could work with them.

    Meanwhile, one of my undergraduate colleagues was able to add a placement at a competition like this to her resume, and told me that she ran the experiments in the basement of her private high school, where she received support and guidance from the teachers at her elite, expensive school. Having placed well at whichever national or international science fair it was that she competed in, she managed to secure special admission to an Ivy league school. This included some serious financial assistance, despite the fact that the school supposedly only gives need-based aid and her family is very wealthy. It also included opportunities to meet people and network in special circles within the college that most admitted students aren’t offered.

    While the judges at the competition probably don’t know the school and aren’t biased about where a student is from, I definitely think these competitions aren’t equally available to all science-inclined high schoolers. It’s great to see all the wonderful science being done there, but it makes me sad that these aren’t more widely publicized and available, with opportunities to apply for funds, training, or mentors for students who don’t come from the limited schools that encourage science fair participation.

  23. #23 Andy
    May 18, 2008

    Based on my own experiences in ISEF (9 years ago at most recent, now) and a quick skim through the winners this year (not scientific sampling, I admit), I would say there is some bias in ISEF representation towards students from schools in magnet/urban areas. There certainly wasn’t a science fair program in my high school in rural South Dakota, but there *was* a regional science fair that strongly encouraged students to submit projects independently. Beyond that, it certainly took a lot of self initiative (not that other ISEF’ers don’t have this, but I think there’s probably a difference between taking initiative to volunteer in someone’s lab, and the initiative to cobble together a dataset largely through correspondence with generous scientists! My parents were supportive, but the effort and initiative were completely my own.). I’ve seen many other rural students succeed in a very similar way (and win awards at ISEF – I will immodestly say that my home sci fair in SD has had an ISEF category or special award winner(s) for 13 years running now!).

    Once at ISEF (or even at regional), I think many of these distinctions of privilege disappear. From my own judging experience, you can spot a “lab monkey” student (i.e., one who was just a workhorse for a professor), versus a student who knows his or her stuff and was the real driving force behind the project, from a mile away. Science talent is science talent (and the students who won big at ISEF deserved it!).

    This is not to say that location/background don’t influence representation at ISEF – it does. How can we help out those who aren’t from the Research Triangle or kids of Ph.D.’s or magnet school students? Volunteer. Mentor. Get involved. Make contacts at those small science fairs and science programs. Believe me, it makes a difference.

  24. #24 James Stein
    May 18, 2008

    Actually, Andy, a comment of yours prompts an old question of mine: how *does* one become a “driving force” rather than a lab monkey?

    I don’t have the first-hand experience about what was going on at the time – when given a chance to prepare for an intel project, I chose to pursue women instead (I was sixteen!). But I do recall the state of my education which, while far above par compared to most public schools, was still at that point below what you’d expect of an upper freshman or lower soph in college.

    Currently finishing my college stint, and having been working in a lab for the past two years, I could not imagine doing the work I’m doing now – knowledgeably, that is, rather than “lab monkey” – in high school, even with the education I had.

    Where *do* these kids get the sort of advanced knowledge (and let’s be fair; at sixteen they’re not even in the AP classes yet, mostly) to do these projects as anything but lab monkeys?

    tangent:

    You know, it’s not just that girls get told they /can’t/ do math. They’re told they shouldn’t. I was watching cartoons with my nieces, and the scripts for females are such that if they’re smart they’re socially inept and/or less pretty. I’d be more worried about what message that sends if not for the fact that I’ve already brainwashed my nieces into thinking science and education are the coolest things under the sun. On a social scale, however, having to choose between being “pretty/sociable” and “smart/educated” is not a happy thing to be indoctrinating five year olds with.

  25. #25 Barn Owl
    May 18, 2008

    I share Flicka Mawa’s concerns that these competitions aren’t equally available, even within the US, and I’ll add that for many young people, the concept of such competitions isn’t within their realm of knowledge and experience. I’m glad that gender barriers seem to be falling, but I think it will be a long time before the socioeconomic barriers will be breached, unfortunately.

    I’ve mentored a couple of science projects in my lab, and the most recent was proposed, in the form of a general medical question, by a very smart and enthusiastic teenager, who was very successful in the resulting competitions. She attended an exclusive private school, however, and her mom (stay-at-home) was very pushy and demanding- a science fair “stage mother”, if you will. As a consequence, I doubt whether I will mentor another such project; the whole thing left a figurative bad taste in my mouth, and I still get depressed thinking about all the other motivated, intelligent young people who will never have such an opportunity. Lots of smart kids have parents who work, who have limited financial resources, who are disabled, who are undereducated, who are substance abusers, who have abandoned them, etc. etc.-all reasons that they will never know what they can accomplish, because no one will ever pester a scientist mentor on their behalf.

    I’m sure that the three scholarship winners listed above have promising, bright futures, and that they worked hard for their successes. I can’t speak to the educational system in Taiwan, but note that Jericho High School is in Nassau County, NY, and according to Wikipedia:

    As of 2008, Nassau County is the second richest county per capita in the State of New York and the 10th richest in the nation, with a median household income of $85,994.

    The other student attended a residential public high school devoted to maths and sciences-in theory, this would be available to all students in Mississippi, but in practice it’s probably not so. For one thing, a teenager who contributes to family income or child-rearing responsibilities is not going to be able to live away from home.

  26. #26 Flicka Mawa
    May 18, 2008

    I’m willing to bet that it’s not only those with other family responsibilities who don’t see the opportunity to go to that public magnet school in Mississippi. I grew up in a suburb of Boston, and I was never aware of any opportunities to go to a public science and math magnet school even so close to Boston, a major city and place of wealth and good schools. In my experience, most kids don’t know about the resources nor have an understanding of what else is out there (the concept, as Barn Owl said) enough to go search for them on their own. I bet many of the kids who don’t live within a certain radius of that school have little idea that it exists or of what opportunities attending it instead of their local public school might afford them.

  27. #27 Azkyroth
    May 18, 2008

    Agnostic: Given the history of gender bias in society, academia, and industry, the fact that these students were able to be judged fairly on the merits of their submissions and win without being written off as “just silly girls” is worth celebrating. And I’m quite certain you know that and are merely trolling.

    Additionally, as to the “men don’t congratulate each other because of their gender” part…am I to understand that you’ve never heard the phrase “you da MAN!” in response to a personal triumph?

  28. #28 Allison
    May 18, 2008

    Flicka Mawa and Barn Owl, these are exactly my concerns and questions.

  29. #29 ScienceWoman
    May 18, 2008

    I think a lot of really great points are being raised in the discussion above about the role of privilege in producing science fair winners. I think it’s probably true that a disproportionate share of winners come from privileged backgrounds (parents with college/advanced degrees, magnet/private schools, connections to a research lab), but those aren’t necessary ingredients for success. Andy (above) provides one counter-example, and let me provide another. I was one of those top prize winners at ISEF my senior year. Yes, I have a mom with a PhD, but I didn’t do my research in her field, and I’d outstripped her knowledge by 10th grade. She helped me connect to some resources and she certainly taught me how to write scientifically, but the work I did was entirely my own. And it wasn’t just me – my underfunded, public school (in a blue collar rural/town) produced top prize winners for over a decade – and a lot of those students had no PhDs in the family. What did we have in common? A fantastically motivated teacher with a BA in biology and a lot of enthusiasm. He went out and found resources for us in the community, he worked late nights and weekends helping us get ready for the fairs, he poured his own money into helping pay our travel costs. He was like a second father to me in high school. So yes, privilege helps. But having just one dedicated teacher can make a world of difference.

    Oh, and anyone who thinks those girls (and even the lower prize winners) is just a lab rat is sorely mistaken. To get a grand award at ISEF, they really really have to know their stuff and where it fits into the larger field of science. They are reading journal articles, and they are understanding them. Knowledge of the project and how it relates to other science questions and concepts are some of the first things judges pick up on.

  30. #30 podblack
    May 18, 2008

    “What did we have in common? A fantastically motivated teacher with a BA in biology and a lot of enthusiasm. He went out and found resources for us in the community, he worked late nights and weekends helping us get ready for the fairs, he poured his own money into helping pay our travel costs. He was like a second father to me in high school. So yes, privilege helps. But having just one dedicated teacher can make a world of difference.”

    The research I’m assisting with involves retention and engagement in high schools, as relates to the raising of the school leaving age in this country. The common factor that comes up again and again – an enthusiastic or team of enthusiastic teachers. They are vital in creating programs, interacting with students, keeping them on track and supporting them in conjunction with the community.

    When the teacher leaves, however, is when people start pondering how the question should be about retaining staff, too.

    So, how many blog commentators here like myself, are involved in teacher training or have a background in high school teaching?

  31. #31 Kim
    May 18, 2008

    I judged for a special award last year, and two of our three winners came from rural public high schools. (I think that the balance of rural vs urban might be different for geology, though – both our winners were from the West, where the geology is a bit more obvious. And most high schools don’t even teach geology. These students were very self-motivated, and driven by their own interests.)

    I did see a lot of students who were able to do projects because they lived in college towns, though.

  32. #32 Andy
    May 19, 2008

    James Stein asked: Actually, Andy, a comment of yours prompts an old question of mine: how *does* one become a “driving force” rather than a lab monkey?

    I think this depends both on the student and on the advisor. Driven, talented students will take projects in their own directions and will contribute actively. I would also think it’s a lot easier to become the “driving force” if you come up with the project idea on your own or pursue it outside of someone else’s lab. I’ve also seen advisors treat students as “lab monkeys,” merely there to collect a few data points (even if the students want more out of the experience!). So the short answer – come up with your own project and do it independently of a lab group (with perhaps occasional advice or guidance from a trusted mentor).

    This is not to imply (as I was careful to say in my first comment, and as Sciencewoman reiterated) that I think the young women in the picture at top were someone else’s lab monkeys. You don’t win a big award at ISEF by parroting your lab advisor.

    [for those wondering where the term “lab monkey” in reference to student assistants came from, it is a phrase among the grad students here that derived from the “Hooked on Monkey Phonics” episode of South Park]

  33. #33 Barn Owl
    May 19, 2008

    Below is a list of some of the factors considered when determining socioeconomic status for professional school applicants-perhaps also relevant to the discussion about science fair winners:

    – level(s) of education achieved by parent(s)
    – whether family is intact
    – occupation(s) and income of parents
    – whether family received federal food or housing assistance
    – number of siblings
    – whether responsible for caring for younger siblings
    – whether contributed to family income in high school
    – $ value of residence; rented or parent-owned
    – rural vs. suburban vs. urban vs. inner city high school
    – primary language spoken at home
    – size of high school, public or private

  34. #34 Jacqueline
    May 19, 2008

    To answer some of the questions Allison and others are asking. I am the parent of one of the finalists who made it to ISEF. My son is 16 and a senior so this was his last ISEF. He made it all 4 years of high school and placed twice and the grand award level. He is not a lab monkey (he did all of his projects since the 5th grade at home or his mentor’s home.) His mentor is his uncle who is an engineer at Ford’s. We live in a rural comminity and his love of engineering is all self motivated. Yes he is in a private high school but he started out in public school. He skipped 2nd grade and was still board with the slow pace of public school and lack of higher classes that is why we made the switch. He particapted in our regional fair one of 6 students max. from his public school and the only 1 from his private school all but this year there were 2. He has never received any help on his projects from the school he has attended. All help he obtained was computer software he had donated from inquires he made to the company that produced it and his mentors encouragement.
    He designed his own project boards w/ help from his mentor. He would work on each project for 9 to 10 months mainly week-ends and over the summer. He did all his own research and testing no help from a lab. He did meet with a professer once to desucces the wing design project.
    family background:
    married parents
    stay at home mom
    neither parent college educated
    only child
    student background:
    16-senior
    highly intelligent
    creative
    self motivated
    hard working
    competive nature
    divers interests
    projects that have earned him 1st or 2nd place awards regionally:
    How to build a Winning Pinewood Derby Car
    Wing Designs for Airplanes
    Static Rollover Reduction in 15-Passenger Vans-8th Grade
    15-Passenger Vans: Predicting the Probability & Timing of Rollovers Using Artificial Neural Networks
    Designing A Better Playground Surface w/ Finite Element Analysis
    Yielding to Pedestrians: hood design using finite element analysis (Patent Received)
    Nxt Boost: The Next Generation Child Booster Seat
    With these projects he has won semi-finalist Discovery young scientist challenge 2001, Finalist Discovery Young Scientist Challenge 2004, 4th place grand award computer science ISEF 2005, 3rd place grand award Materials and bioengineering ISEF 2007. He was one of 14 to have made it to ISEF 4 years straight this year. He loves the challenge of competing at this level and being recognized for the hard work he has put into each project. He loves the interview process where he is questioned and able to share his research w/ others who are in the field and can understand what it is he has done.
    future plans:
    he will be attending the University of Washington-School of Engineering.
    Goal Masters Degree Aorospace Engineering w/ minor in business.
    Writing a book
    profiting from his patent to help pay for college
    providing an engineering award at the regional fair
    mentoring a student someday
    becoming a judge someday
    As a parent my husband and I could not be prouder of the fine young man we have raised. We have always encouraged him in his endeavors even if we had no clue what his projects where about or how he did what he did to prove them. Yes, he had a great mentor but every good project does. Are we rich NO! Our son will be using moneys he earned through science fairs and taking out a loan to pay for college we all ready spent his college money on privite school.

  35. #35 shelbinator
    May 20, 2008

    I, too, was thrilled to see these young women triumph. I got to talk with them a bit after the ceremony — and, perhaps to their chagrin, subject them to just a little more photographic rigamarole after they were put through the paces jumping up and down for the official publicity photos. But I really do think the Charlie’s Angels pose strikes the right note. :-)

  36. #36 anon3
    May 27, 2008

    Whats really interesting is to follow these girls and boys in the Intel competition and see what careers they end up in.

    I’d bet everything I own that the girls trend towards becoming doctors and biologists whereas the boys trend towards becoming physicists and chemists.

    Girls are more interested in “people” professions than boys are, thats a fact.

    Thats why 99% of social workers are female, for example. Its not because the boys cant get into that job if they want it.

  37. #37 Mark
    June 7, 2008

    I really wanted to show my daughter (9 years old) this site, but it’s so full of the breathless “OH MY GOD a **GIRL** **ACTUALLY** won a science competition!!!” mindset, that I think it would do much more harm than good.

  38. #38 taiwan girl
    September 17, 2009

    nice to see that taiwan high school girl are among the best !:)

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