2018 ISEF Newsletter #1 from Shobhita Sundaram

Posted: 15 May 2018
Fair Year:

Filed Under: ISEF, Newsletters

Shobhita Sundaram

Senior, Greenwich High School

ISEF competitor- 2017, 2018

We met at the airport at 4:00 am, many of us bleary-eyed and sleepy from the early start. After making our way through the long security line, we ate a brief breakfast at McDonalds, and then headed to our gate. After an hour-and-a-half flight we landed in Philadelphia, where the rain poured down in sheets and the gray clouds hung low in the sky. After a few hours of layover we headed to our second flight which took us to Pittsburgh. Following a bus ride, we finally arrived at the Westin Hotel, admiring the beautiful lobby. After gathering our posters, we walked to the convention center — conveniently located just across the street from the convention center — to check in and set up our project displays

Entering the vast finalist exhibition hall, we were surrounded by endless rows of project booths, and large crowds of people putting up posters. We meticulously set up our posters, arranging our binders, research papers, and journals. Then we waited in line at the central Hub for the length safety and display inspection, relieved when our projects passed without issue. Some of us had a chance to wander around the hall to check out some of our fellow finalists’ projects. I was amazed at the broad variety and incredible caliber of every project that I passed. I passed posters about using artificial intelligence to diagnose glioblastomas, developing glasses to help the blind read by translating
text to audio, and building self-learning robots.

Around 7:00 we headed to the pin exchange, stopping briefly to take photos at a giant wall covered with all of the finalists’ names. In the Spirit of Pittsburgh ballroom, we found all of the finalists gathered. We made our way around, meeting new people from every corner of the world, collecting new pins, and enjoying the delicious food (the churros in particular were a favorite!). Maya, Hiba, and I spent the last 20 minutes taking pictures with finalists from as many different states and countries as possible. When the pin exchange ended at 9:00, we walked back to the hotel, exhausted from an eventful and amazing day.


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