'Embracing your inner nerd': Intel ISEF 2017 finalists take on China | Student Science

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'Embracing your inner nerd': Intel ISEF 2017 finalists take on China

7:00AM, October 11, 2017
Doing Science

Intel ISEF 2017 finalists jump on stage in China during their award trip.

This summer, five Intel ISEF 2017 finalists traveled to China to present their research at the largest national Chinese science competition, the China Adolescent Science & Technology Innovation Contest (CASTIC). They were afforded this opportunity as part of an award they received at Intel ISEF 2017.

Read on to learn more about their trip from a few of the finalists.


Michael Lee, Erin Smith, Karthik Yegnesh, Camille Miles, and Tassilo Schwarz saw a panda on their visit.

Erin Smith: China was an amazing experience. I became more aware of the innovation and entrepreneurship that is core to the Chinese heritage and economy. The human perspective I gained shifted my overall viewpoint of China.

Even though we may live across the world from one another, we are so much more similar than we are different.

I loved talking with middle and high school students one-on-one and hearing about their daily lives. We talked about ideas and research through our shared language of science. There were so many commonalities, which reminded me that even though we may live across the world from one another, we are so much more similar than we are different. We are connected by our DNA and love of science.

There is nothing else like Intel ISEF.

The conversations and interactions I had will stay with me forever. It is amazing that even halfway across the world, there are students who wake up every morning and care about the same things that I do.

The Intel ISEF finalists met with Chinese students during their award trip.

Intel ISEF has been formative to my interest in STEM. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by other people who were genuinely passionate about asking questions and creating solutions. Everyone embraces their inner nerd and the result is powerful solutions to global problems.

Everyone embraces their inner nerd and the result is powerful solutions to global problems.

Intel ISEF deepened my STEM interests. I became more curious and motivated to create change and found support among a likeminded community of people from all around the world. There is nothing else like Intel ISEF.

I am currently working on developing a smartphone app. There are a lot of deep learning techniques that I am teaching myself.

Intel ISEF 2017 finalists won a trip to China as a part of the Special Award Ceremony.

Karthik Yegnesh: The trip to China was a fascinating experience. I really enjoyed experiencing Chinese culture, from visiting famous sites like the Great Wall and the Forbidden City to eating Sichuan food. The best part was definitely talking to Chinese students about their passion for math and science.

The best part was definitely talking to Chinese students about their passion for math and science.

My participation in Intel ISEF for the past two years has encouraged me to take mathematics a lot more seriously. Science fairs are very important in high school; they provide an outlet for students to channel their creativity in STEM fields. Also, the competitive nature of many science fairs encourages students to put their best foot forward in terms of the quality of their research.

My participation in Intel ISEF for the past two years has encouraged me to take mathematics a lot more seriously. 

Currently, I want to pursue a career in research in an area associated with math and its applications to solving real world problems. 

Tassilo Schwarz: Traveling in particular with this group was great as everybody is fascinated by and talented in their fields of research and open for new experiences. We had so much fun together! Also, having Chinese students accompanying us made it possible to experience the country from an internal perspective.

I loved the great exchange between students from other country beyond political borders.

At Intel ISEF, I loved the great exchange between students from other country beyond political borders. Being involved in Intel ISEF motivated me to study physics. I want to get a bachelor's degree in physics and study abroad.

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