Today was the Grand Awards Ceremony. Everyone woke up refreshed and ready for a day full of excitement. We started off with what has become one of our Pittsburgh traditions: omelets at the local Bigelow Grille. After a meal of eggs and lively conversation, the finalists headed upstairs to finish frantically packing and change into formal clothes, aiming to dress to impress. Then, we all took the shuttle to the Convention Center. Team Connecticut watched as the doors opened to a sea of folding chairs, strobe lights, and bubbly, elevator-like music. We shared each other’s joys and stresses, but ultimately had a great year with two 1st place winners (congrats Ethan and Olivia)! In total, 5 students received awards. After the ceremony, the exhausted team headed back to the hotel for some much-needed downtime, and concluded our ISEF experience with mouth-watering burgers at Lola’s, a Pittsburgh hotspot. Then, we took off for the airport and impatiently awaited the arrival of our late plane. However, the day ended well, with everyone landing safely.
I will never forget my time at Intel ISEF, and saying that I am sad to see it pass is a gross understatement. Over the course of the week, we have had the amazing opportunity to befriend others from around the world, from Indiana to Pakistan. These are the alternate world perspectives that the Intel ISEF trip has afforded us. At first, it seemed disconcerting when hundreds of international students were crammed onto one dance floor on Tuesday, forced to abandon cultural inhibitions and observe the social norms of others. Now, the entire group of Nutmeggers appreciates how big our world feels, filled with even more opportunities and cultural views. In this matter, we are all winners; if someone had told me at the beginning of the year that my friends and I would meet so many interesting people, including several Nobel Prize winners and entrepreneurs, I couldn’t have believed them. The opportunities to compete internationally and experience internationality are priceless.
Sophomore at Greenwich High School