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cover of May 30, 2015 issue

News Detective: Emily Goes to a Science Fair

Emily, SNK's intrepid reporter, goes to a science fair.

The figures were awesome: 1,429 students, 41 countries and territories, $3 million in prizes, 4 hours.

Every year, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is a fun, exciting, and often overwhelming experience for the high school students who earn a spot at the competition. The same goes for journalists.

It was my job at this year's ISEF to troll the aisles in the exhibit hall, interview students about their projects, and write a story or two for this Web site about what I had learned.

Rows and rows of project displays fill the exhibit hall at the Intel ISEF in Portland, Ore.
Rows and rows of project displays fill the exhibit hall at the Intel ISEF in Portland, Ore.

With more than 1,100 projects to choose from, I knew it was going to be tough to pick just a few to write about. Even worse, I had just 4 hours to do my reporting. Students were required to stand by their projects and answer questions only from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on one day at the science fair. And it took 10 minutes just to walk from one end of the hall to the other.

One of the reasons I decided to write about games was because it was a topic I could manage, given the amount of time I had. I was able to visit three projects and interview all the presenters. Some of the projects at the fair were so complicated, I would have needed 4 hours just to get the basics.

Even then, time ran out before I had a chance to track down the snowboarding and skateboarding projects I wanted to include in this article. Sometimes, there just isn't enough time to play around as much as you'd like.—E. Sohn

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