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Intel ISEF

What to expect at Intel ISEF

8:00AM, May 4, 2016
Doing Science

Intel ISEF 2015 finalists gather at the Student Pin Exchange. 

Photo courtesy of Society for Science & the Public.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) is the world's largest international pre-college science competition. Over 1,700 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions and territories showcase their research as they compete for approximately $4 million in prizes.

Below is a glimpse of what to expect at the Society's largest competition as we approach Intel ISEF week in Phoenix, Arizona on May 8-13, 2016.

Finalists will pour into the Phoenix Convention Center on May 8 to set up their projects and get registered.

Student Pin Exchange

Later that evening, students will get to know each other at the annual Student Pin Exchange. The Student Pin Exchange is an Intel ISEF tradition where students exchange pins from their fairs, hometowns, or countries with students from around the world. It becomes a bit of a contest to see who has the most overloaded lanyard.

 Our favorite part was the Pin Exchange. The international aspect of the event is great; yesterday I was in between two groups, one speaking Italian and one speaking Spanish. I felt immersed in culture.
—Alexandria, Shannon and Chloe, Intel ISEF 2014 finalists from Indiana

Intel ISEF kicks off with the opening ceremony, sponsored by Intel. Throughout the week finalists present their projects to judges, the public and the media.

Student Observers

Student Observers are visitors from the Society's affiliated fairs. These students get a first-hand experience of Intel ISEF. They meet finalists, participate in science activities and tour the projects. This opportunity sparks their interest in STEM careers and inspires them to pursue science research.

You can read more about the student observer experience from Society for Science & the Public Fellow Maria Aloia from New Jersey at Intel ISEF 2013, in a blog post about her experience.


During the week of Intel ISEF, fair directors, teachers and finalists convene for symposia to discuss and learn about issues related to science education and the management of science fairs as well as highlight successful practices in education and in scientific and engineering research.

Nina Vasan, a 2002 Intel Foundation Young Scientist award winner, returned in 2014 to present a symposia session on the "Do Good Well" concept. Nina, now a psychiatrist at Stanford University, is also a contributing author of Do Good Well, a book that helps people apply their research to real-world problems. She also conducted sessions on helping students take their Intel ISEF research to the next level, one for students and one aimed at teachers or science fair directors.

Intel ISEF 1994 finalist David Bray, now the Chief Information Officer at the Federal Communications Commission, said, "Intel ISEF opened up new worlds for me." Intel ISEF offers something for everyone and brings people together from all over world to engage in science.

Broadcom MASTERS International

Broadcom MASTERS International is a concurrent program during Intel ISEF. It is a companion program to the domestic Broadcom MASTERS competition, and provides a unique opportunity for select middle school students, called delegates, from around the world to observe Intel ISEF.

The delegates attend field trips, learn about Intel ISEF projects, and meet other scientifically-engaged peers from around the world.

I realized how similar they were to me even though they are from different countries. This really showed me, wow, these are some people I will be able to work with in the future.
—Annie Ostojic, Broadcom MASTERS 2015 first place winner 

Each delegate is chosen for excellence in science, engineering, and leadership. They represent their nations for this international exchange. The delegates participate in specialized programming, fun and engaging hands-on science and engineering activities, and also attend activities at Intel ISEF.  

Now that you know the run-down of Intel ISEF, check back next week to watch the events unfold!

7:00am, May 2, 2016

Carol Bauer, a Westinghouse Science Talent Search 1942 alumna, worked as an engineer, at a time when there were very few women in the sciences.

"At the time, it was a daring choice," she said. Her experience in Westinghouse STS gave her the confidence to study engineering — and it's paved the way for other women to follow.

Today, she continues to encourage girls into STEM through the Tech Trek program.

Diversity in STEM is crucial in today's technological world, Carol said.

7:00am, April 29, 2016

On March 14, after tinkering at TechShop for Pi Day, the STS 2016 finalists gathered at dinner for the Intel Innovation speeches.

Rosalind Hudnell, the Vice President of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer at Intel, called the finalists rockstars. She even snapped a photo during dinner and tweeted it.

"I still feel like an underachiever in this audience," Rosalind said.

7:00am, April 27, 2016

David Letterman-style top ten lists, stickers and counterintuitive advice made for a lively visit to the National Institutes of Health during the Intel Science Talent Search finalists’ week in Washington, D.C. in March.

"I started as a young kid with a chemistry set, blowing stuff up," said NIH Director Francis Collins. He discussed the institute's history and goals.

7:00am, April 26, 2016

Intel ISEF 2015 finalist Ritika Bharati is a Breakthrough Junior Challenge Breakthrough Prize finalist. She created a video to explain oncolytic virotherapy for the prize.

In addition to being a young scientist, Ritika has a hobby of making science videos.

Can you describe Oncolytic virotherapy? How did you become interested in studying this therapy?

7:00am, April 25, 2016

"Science is often thought of as a lonely profession," observed Nobel Laureate and Westinghouse STS alum Walter Gilbert at the Society's first ever alumni conference. "But it's actually a very social thing. We feel a social involvement to develop things for the benefit of others and other scientists."

This community dimension of science was spotlighted as Science Talent Search alumni gathered the morning after the 75th Anniversary Gala for panels with Nobel Prize recipients, inventors of CRISPR/Cas9, and best-selling authors at the Intel STS Alumni Conference on March 16, 2016.

2:00am, April 19, 2016

Meryl Natow, an Intel STS 2009 semifinalist, was recently named one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 in the social entrepreneurs sector. She is one of four Society alumni named to the list.

She was always interested in recipes and baking. Meryl, with Laura D'Asaro and Rose Wang, created Six Foods to offer food made from crickets, which have three times more protein and 40 percent less fat than tortilla chips.

11:00am, April 18, 2016

Radio is very forgiving, and you'd be surprised to know just how much frantic effort took place behind the scenes when NPR's Robert Siegel interviewed two Society alumni about the 2016 White House Science Fair

2:00am, April 17, 2016

ISEF 1994 finalist David Bray has held several science-related positions over the years. He's studied various majors, volunteered abroad, worked in IT, journalism, and at the Federal Communications Commission.

David said the sciences are so broad that anyone can find a topic or particular field they enjoy.

3:03pm, April 13, 2016

Twenty-three Society for Science & the Public (Society) science fair alumni attended the sixth White House Science Fair on April 13. All 23 participated in at least one of the Society’s prestigious science education programs, which include the Intel Science Talent Search, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and Broadcom MASTERS.

2:00am, April 11, 2016

Kevin Tyan, a cofounder of Kinnos and an Intel STS 2012 semifinalist, was recently recognized in Forbes' 30 Under 30 list for the Kinnos Highlight program. The program aims to combat innefective decontamination that healthcare workers face during ongoing outbreaks. He is one of four Society alumni named to the list.

Kevin said his involvement in Intel STS contributed to his pursuit of STEM. He's majoring in biology at Columbia University.

You were recently selected as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in the healthcare sector.

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