2016 Alumni Comments

My experience at ISEF was amazing! We attended training seminars that taught us how to present better, work with other people, improve our speaking skills and inspire us to do more. I enjoyed touring the City of Phoenix. Participating in ISEF has been one of my favorite science fair experiences. I encourage all science fair students to strive for the opportunity to attend ISEF, 2016.
– Keaton Fischer, 2016 ISEF Student Observer – Freshman, Sirerra Grande High School

Since I was in fourth grade, science fair has been a big part of my life. I think that the first time I went to state in 6th grade, I realized that science would always be in my life, and since then I have strived to do my best. This past year, I went to Intel ISEF in Phoenix, Arizona. It was such an amazing experience, I couldn’t stop smiling from the time I left to the time I got home. It was so cool to meet people from all over the world, and just to see all of the amazing projects and ideas people have. There were so many smart kids who are going to do very well in life there as well. My goal for the next three years is to go to ISEF as many times as possible, and to maybe even win an award there too.
-Molly Nehring – Monte Vista High School, Sophomore, 2016 ISEF Finalist

It has been 21 years since my first science fair project and I am still reaping the benefits. That first project was the gateway to 7 more, which took me to the state competition 5 times and the international science and engineering fair twice. I can easily say that science fair was the most valuable activity I participated in throughout school. Science fair was a family affair, with my parents helping craft experiments, edit my reports, and put together my boards late into the night. My younger brother came along to ISEF, which no doubt lit a fire in him as well.
Completing the reports for my projects taught me how to effectively write about procedures, results, and implications of my research. Presenting my projects allowed me to develop confidence in public speaking and the ability to connect with my audience. These skills helped me through college, where I graduated with honors. Now, being able to connect with people from many different backgrounds through writing and speaking is a critical part of my job as Manager of the San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District. I am incredibly grateful for how Science Fair shaped me and helped me become the person I am today.
-Heather Dutton, Manager, San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District

I remember my first experience with the San Luis Valley Regional Science Fair. I was in fourth grade, I remember dropping basketballs and tennis balls from different heights and measuring the distance the balls would bounce up. I did not know the study of physics, nor the constant rate of acceleration due to gravity close to the surface of earth. I had no chance in mathematically expressing elastic collisions versus inelastic collisions. However, that night of the award ceremony, I was called to the stage. Shaking and nervous, my name was called for an honorable mention award. Thrilled to bits, I remember having the most intense feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. With that feeling of accomplishment, I gained confidence and desire. I had to do better the next year. The following years I did projects from calculating areas of circles of alfalfa fields to designing gloves to help my grandfather with his severe case of hand tremors. Science fair has built desire, perseverance, and confidence in my personality.
In college, I pursued an education in mathematics and physics. I attended Adam State University. I was asked to judge the San Luis Valley Region Science Fair each year as spring break approached. I was fortunate to be able to judge for three years, and each year I learned a deeper understanding of science and all its various branches. Also worth noting, I learned that I enjoy communicating and connecting with the youth. I am currently a science teacher who loves his job. I was fortunate to be able to attend ISEF this past year in Phoenix, Arizona with a student. To be around so many brilliant young minds was truly an inspiring moment. I then realized the importance of science education. Through science, I have been able to find meaning out of life and build an identity as a science educator. Science fair has undoubtedly impacted my life by helping me with my scientific literacy and critical thinking skills. I thank all of you who support and help this wonderful organization. You are inspiring the youth and helping young minds change the world. Thank you.
-Rafe Paulson, Sargent High School Science Fair Coordinator

I was a participant of the San Luis Valley Regional Science Fair beginning in fifth grade and continuing to my senior year of high school. When I tell people about all my years in science fair, they look surprised and ask something along the lines of why I wanted to participate for so long. See, they’re thinking of elementary science fair projects, bottle rockets and volcanoes. Now that’s a great starting place, but science fair goes far beyond that.
From eighth grade to twelfth grade, I worked on projects involving microbial fuel cells, a way to create renewable energy. Now at the collegiate level, I was awarded a grant from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to perform my own research. For my research program, I must create a research proposal, meet with professors, allocate funds, and finally perform research, Because of science fair, I’m already familiar with this process. My professor of English for Pre-Health and Medicine asked me how I acquired my scientific writing abilities. I told her—science fair. As I navigate college, I see the benefits of science fair every day. I’m not afraid to talk to professors, I’ve been talking to science fair judges since I was a young child. I know how to present myself and clearly communicate because of science fair. Participation in science fair is positively impacting every facet of my life as I continue throughout my education.
As I look towards a degree in biomedical and health sciences engineering, I know that my goals will not happen easily or overnight, but science fair taught me tenacity and the ability to think outside the box. Science fair was the best part of my K-12 education. I started out as a shy child, unsure, and now I hope to improve lives, one microbial fuel cell at a time. Never give up on science fair, because it can change the lives of youths. I am living proof of that.
-Kelsey Lindbloom, Salida High School 2016 ISEF Alternate


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