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Intel ISEF, Volunteer

'The brightest minds and critical thinkers for tomorrow’s world'

10:16AM, April 10, 2017
Doing Science
Volunteers help at the 2011 Intel ISEF.

Volunteers help at the 2011 Intel ISEF. 

Photo courtesy of Society for Science & the Public.

Jeanne Waggener is a pharmacist and volunteers at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF). Her son has competed in Intel ISEF as well. Returning to volunteer at Intel ISEF year after year forms "my science fair family," Jeanne said.

This is the third in a series on volunteering at Intel ISEF. Read on to find out why science fairs are so important.


These are the brightest minds and critical thinkers for tomorrow’s world.

WHY SHE VOLUNTEERS AT INTEL ISEF: I volunteer at ISEF for many reasons. First and foremost is to assist the Society for Science & the Public with the management of the fair. Due to my experience with our regional fair (Central Texas Science and Engineering Fair) for over 25 years, I realize the need for qualified volunteers that can be placed into key positions which require a great deal of trust and reliability. I have assisted with the Special Judges area for several years. It requires a professional individual who can assist the judges with whatever their needs might be, whether it is information about where to meet their judging teams, the availability of parking passes, or just general directions concerning access to the students’ projects, amongst other requests.

The most rewarding aspect is the networking and friendships that you establish over the years along with the knowledge of helping behind the scenes to contribute to a successful fair. There are only so many Society employees so they are always in need of trustworthy volunteers.


Register to volunteer or email isefvolunteer@societyforscience.org for more information


HER FAVORITE MEMORY FROM INTEL ISEF: My favorite memories of ISEF of course include the many friendships I have made over the years and continuing to see the same volunteers year after year, as if you are attending a family reunion. It is my science fair family!

HER ADVICE FOR NEW VOLUNTEERS: New volunteers need to shadow an experienced volunteer if possible to learn the overall process and then focus on their particular assignment. They should always be friendly and helpful to any requests.

Intel ISEF ... changed his life forever.

WHY SHE THINKS SCIENCE FAIRS LIKE INTEL ISEF ARE IMPORTANT: I am the mother of Jay, a Society alum who attended Intel ISEF for three years, which changed his life forever.

In 1994 when my son earned the honor of representing our regional fair, he was struggling with school due to having been diagnosed with ADD before it became popular and well known in schools. Very few teachers thought he was intelligent enough to complete his schooling and graduate from high school. In fact, my son decided to conduct his research on ADD, which led him to Intel ISEF for two more years, in 1995 and 1996. He achieved several awards.

My volunteerism is a result of the science fair process giving Jay the self-confidence he was so desperately lacking.

The greatest award he experienced was the ability to present himself for interviews before qualified judges and convince them of his passion. This ability led him to graduate from high school and attend Texas A&M University where he obtained a B.S. in Psychology and later earned his M.B.A. from Baylor University. He has worked for several years in Houston for the Royal Bank of Canada in Corporate Banking.

My volunteerism is a result of the science fair process giving Jay the self-confidence he was so desperately lacking.

HOW SHE BECAME INTERESTED IN STEM: I became interested in science when I decided to major in pharmacy in college. I've been a practicing pharmacist for 45 years working for Walmart Health and Wellness. Science fairs like ISEF are so important in order to allow the creative minds of our students to present their research and glean the ability to face any interview in the future with a competitive edge.

I am forever grateful for the impact that ISEF afforded my son and affords to every student that has the opportunity to attend and present their research.

I am forever grateful for the impact that ISEF afforded my son Jay and affords to every student that has the opportunity to attend and present their research. These are the brightest minds and critical thinkers for tomorrow’s world.

HER ADVICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN STEM: My advice to young people interested in STEM is to seek mentors that can guide them through the scientific method process, whether it be for science fair or a school research project.

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