September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Students Need YOU!

Posted: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

by Dena Deck, M.Ed. & Sharon Snyder

Editor’s note: You read about the value of science fairs to students in the March issue (this article was updated this month with an infographic). This article shares information about the biggest science fair around! If you are in the LA area you might want to stop by to see the exciting things our students are doing. If you have a day to donate, consider volunteering. Just as students need support to get to this level of science and engineering, the Science Fair needs lots of help to be successful.

The Intel® International Science and Engineering Fair® (Intel ISEF) is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. It occurs annually and provides a forum for more than 1,600 high school students from over 70 countries, regions, and territories to showcase their independent research and compete for more than $4 million in awards.

Today, millions of students worldwide compete each year in local and school-sponsored science fairs; the winners of these events go on to participate in Intel ISEF-affiliated regional and state fairs from which the best win the opportunity to attend Intel ISEF. The event unites these top young scientific minds, showcasing their talent on an international stage, enabling them to submit their work to judging by doctoral-level scientists. The Intel ISEF is the premier global science competition for students in grades 9–12 and the work submitted is astounding. For example in 2012, Maryland high school sophomore Jack Andraka won the Gordon E. Moore award of $75,000 at the Intel ISEF. At age 15 he had invented an inexpensive but sensitive dipstick-like sensor for the rapid, early detection of pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancers!

Success relies upon a whole community coming together. In many cases the experience of talking with a scientist or engineer who is reviewing a project helps to shape a student’s future research.  For students traveling from other cities or countries, having a friendly face to meet them at the airport or stand by their side to help translate an unfamiliar word or phrase empowers them to present to the best of their ability.  The experience allows you, the volunteer, the opportunity to travel alongside and learn about their efforts and home as well as be part of a tremendous region-wide team that applauds youth initiatives long and loud.  These students will be finding the solutions we may never have even dreamed of and you can help that happen. Your expertise will be especially appreciated on Outreach Day, May 15th. On that day we will guide 5,000 Los Angeles students through a scenario as they apply science skills and content knowledge to determine which lake to protect.  Volunteers will be instrumental in using microscopes, doing water quality analysis and biological surveys.

Other volunteer opportunities include, but are not limited to:

Friday, May 9 from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – bag stuffing for finalists, attendees, outreach participants, teachers and judges (12,500 total)

Saturday, May 10 and Sunday, May 11– Airport greeters at LAX

Sunday, May 11 and Monday, May 12 – Registration

Tuesday, May 13 – Registration in the A.M.

Wednesday, May 14 – Interpreters in over 20 languages (mostly Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Mandarin and Portuguese)

Thursday, May 15, as mentioned above – Outreach Day

All volunteer opportunities are at the Los Angeles Convention Center, unless otherwise stated.  Volunteers will receive a meal for every shift over 4 hours, free parking, a t-shirt, and a certificate.  They will also receive the total number of hours contributed (if desired) and an electronic badge.

The evening of Monday, May 12 is like an Olympics Opening Ceremony.  Each country will have finalists representing them by running up on stage with a poster depicting their country’s highlights.  This is a high-energy show with an audience of about 4,500 people.

Nobel Laureates. Students will have the opportunity to interact with Nobel Laureates on Tuesday during the Excellence in Science and Technology panel from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Volunteers like you, who already have a commitment to education and sciences, are greatly needed! Whether it’s for a 4-hour shift, or for to the entire week, you can help. For more information and/or to sign up, go to:

Volunteer: Click here

Judging: Click here.  More than 1,000 judges are needed in 17 scientific disciplines. Judging is the single most important event of the Intel ISEF for finalists and is, in the words of recent judge, “Judging was one of the most personally challenging, educational and rewarding experiences I have had in some time. These are truly amazing people!” And from another, “I cannot emphasize enough what a fantastic experience this science fair is for students and judges alike.

Video: Click here

Dena Deck is an alumnus of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Teacher at Sea Program, and a CSTA Member.  Sharon Snyder is Manager of International Fairs and Volunteer Recruitment for the Society for Science & the Public

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.