2013 ISEF Final Newsletter from the Chaperones

Posted: 20 May 2013
Fair Year:

Filed Under: ISEF, Newsletters, Other Fairs

Wrap-up of the week at ISEF in Phoenix

  • Kirk Shadle sums up the week, as follows:

As the saying goes: “All good things must come to an end” and thus ends Intel ISEF 2013. Reflecting on the week ushers in memories filled with nervousness, excitement and anticipation.

Project setup found six students eagerly setting up their booths and preparing to impress the judges. After a tense couple hours of relaying between the hotel and the convention hall, to gather everything the display inspectors required, the students were all set and “officially” ready to start their ISEF experience.

As a first time ISEF participant I was in awe at the breadth of projects being presented by over 1600 students representing 70 countries. The students quickly broke down language and social barriers while participating in the much anticipated pin exchange. This event was sponsored by Intel to allow the students to transcend the feeling of competition and develop friendships with students from throughout the United States as well as the world. Intel ISEF opening ceremony was certainly not a letdown. The energy of the crowd reached a fever pitch as the student groups cheered, paraded their national flags and were sent on a mission to Mars through the Keynote Speaker’s address.

As the week progressed the students bonded with the ever present thought in the back of their heads; Judging Day. The much anticipated Judging Day was finally here and the students conducted their individual last minute preparations while encouraging and assisting each other. As teachers the chaperones were left to allow the students to break out on their own and carve their own path.

Once judging was completed there was an evident sense of relief by the entire group. The students and chaperones were now able to relax at their own Intel sponsored mixers. This emotion was evident from all ISEF finalists as one student described to me that at the mixer the floor was literally bowing as all 1600 students danced to the pounding music with a collective sigh of relief. Much like the excitement of the opening ceremonies the Awards ceremonies shared the same energy but this time it was coupled with a strong sense of anticipation. Will the students be awarded a prize or will they return home as a non-awardee? I then reminded myself of the fact that just having the singular honor of representing Connecticut at this prestigious event was award enough to carry home. The excitement of having four of the six students representing Connecticut win awards was exhilarating. To know that they are competing against the best minds in the world and qualify in the top 20%-30% certainly says we are doing something right in our state.

Congratulations to all of the students, teachers and parents of the 2013 Intel ISEF finalists.

  • Andy Bramante writes of his experiences:

Wow, another year’s ISEF has come and gone!! This was my fourth trip to ISEF, and each time, without fail, I am simply blown away by the enormity of the event, and the complexity of the student’s work from all over the world. Although it is a busy time, with lots of activities and events crammed into one week, I can think of no better time spent in guiding our Connecticut students to a successful week of presentations, friendships, growth, and learning. Oddly enough, the CT contingent felt immediately at home upon arriving at the ISEF convention center, as we were greeted by a life-size image of an old CT ISEF friend! From the lunches at Majerlee’s, breakfasts at The Breakfast Club (where I honestly felt like a light-weight with respect to food eaten … sorry, Emily & Karim!), my first SRC Violations meeting (where the SRC judges were as much apologetic to Mallory as they were inquisitive!), the Astros game, judging day, public viewing, awards, Iron Man 3 and Star Trek movies, and finally, a trip to Rawhide (where I learned that the chewing consistency of a real oyster is much more pleasant than a Rocky Mountain Oyster), I had the pleasure of watching a group of young adults come together in friendship and the love of science, in this tremendous experience! I am so very proud of each of our student’s efforts this week, both professionally at the fair, as well as personally, in their behavior away from home! Note to parents … not one of our students missed home! I am hopeful that those of our group that are off to college stay in touch as they plough through their freshman year, and those that are underclassman work hard to return to ISEF next year! I am already looking forward to the first reunion party at Max’s … yes, Sandy & Anthony, your son volunteered your home!

I’d like to especially thank those that worked in front of and behind the scenes, to make this year’s Intel ISEF a success. From Sandy and Wynn (who have now stopped calling my cell), Bob (who I know is feeling better physically, and hopefully is relieved that all went well), Sue (who had to live with Bob and his anxieties!), Ernie & Michele (who do a wonderful job posting the newsletters & blogs), Kirk Shadle (my new friend, and best co-assistant!), and finally Anne Fratalone (who is the “bestest” Adult in Charge, and runs the smoothest state delegation at ISEF) … thanks so much for the opportunity to play at least a small part in the what was a memorable learning experience for our six young adults! Hopefully my anecdotes and sayings have not scarred them for life … I know that they will never forget about “my street cred.” Take care!

  • Ann Frattalone, the ISEF Week Coordinator, reflects on another exciting week at ISEF:

I believe I can safely say that I am an INTEL ISEF veteran as this was my fifth ISEF and my solo trip (missing in action, George “Bob” Wisner) seemed to go rather smoothly. Leaving the chilly spring of Connecticut we were all looking forward to “dry heat” of Phoenix. We actually landed nearly 45 minutes early so that we could check in the hotel, have a much needed meal, register, and the students go off to the pin exchange. This obviously was a good omen as we were all cleared by SRC and project set-up was completed without any serious problems. The rest of our week went just as well and this would not have been possible without the cooperation of all the students and my assistant coordinators! Whenever I gave a deadline or instructions everyone followed through with no complaints, (I never had to use my high school teacher voice!) and no one was sunburned (thanks to Dr. Madfes). Our entire group actually worked with a true team effort and for that I am extremely grateful as it clearly made my job easy. I really enjoyed the experience and was very proud to be the “Adult In Charge” of such an exceptional group of students!

Many thanks go to the parents of these terrific students for trusting me with their safety. I must also thank Sandy & Wynn for training me so well that this trip was such a success! Thanks to Ernie and Michel for posting our newsletters. Last but not least thank you to Bob for your support and good words that gave me the confidence to take on this task.

How can I not be excited to look forward to ISEF 2014 in LA, (as I have already been to this site) when I know I have such a wonderful support system!

As Bob Hope always sang “Thanks for the memories”! (You youngsters will have to Google that one!)

Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair

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