Tis the season of science fairs. For the past month, science fairs have been occurring across the country and world all culminating to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair which is held in the middle of May. The Intel ISEF will have students from over 70 countries and territories across the world and will culminate a variety of projects and research in the STEM field. The Eastern Iowa Science and Engineering Fair (EISEF) was 2 weeks ago. I got the opportunity to compete in the event and walking into the mall where the fair was held felt like a whole new world. There were kids standing next to their projects from one end of the mall to the other and the topics ranged from the most effective way to brush your teeth, to how salt effects pot holes, to manipulation of proteins within the nucleus of cells. Students were from all over Eastern Iowa and were between 6th and 12th grade.
Over the course of the day I learned quite a lot. It was great to talk to the different students and learn how they chose their topic of research. Some based their research off the farms they lived on while others worked in local college labs. The location of the science fair (inside a popular mall) was ideal, because it was the perfect way to communicate the importance of science and research to the public. I also found it encouraging when a random stranger took time out of their shopping to learn more about my research. The judges for the first round of the competition were engaging and interested putting all the students at ease. With all the posters lined up close to one another, the science fair was a great way to meet new people. I got the chance to talk and network with several peers who had similar interests with me.
At the end of a long day, everyone gathered for the award ceremony. Though it dragged on for over an hour, it was exciting to see friends recognized for all the hard work they had put into the project. Next time there is a science fair near you, I would really recommend paying a visit. Not only is it almost guaranteed to have at least one topic that interests you, it will give you an idea of what the future will be like and will hopefully intrigue your kids!