Intel International Science & Engineering Fair comes to Phoenix from May 13th-17th - AZEdNews
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Intel International Science & Engineering Fair comes to Phoenix from May 13th-17th


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  • Aparna Paul/ Society for Science & The Public

An Entrant In The 2018 Intel International Science & Engineering Fair Talks To People About Her Project. Photo Courtesy Society For Science & The Public

The Intel International Science & Engineering Fair, the world’s largest international science competition for high school students, is coming to Phoenix from May 13-17, and is looking for volunteers to serve as judges, interpreters and more.

Nearly 2,000 student scientists from every state in the nation and more than 80 countries, regions and territories, will be coming to Phoenix to compete in the fair for more than $5 million in awards, scholarships, internships and prizes. 

These young people represent the top winners of regional, state and national science fairs from around the United States and the world. The competition focuses on identifying, inspiring, and engaging the world’s next STEM generation.

Video: Volunteer at ISEF

The Intel International Science & Engineering Fair looking for Phoenix-area volunteers to serve as judges, interpreters and more.

GENERAL VOLUNTEERS: More than 500 volunteers across a spectrum of activities are needed during Intel ISEF. Volunteer opportunities are available in a range of shifts.

JUDGES: More than 1,000 judges are needed in 22 scientific disciplines. Student finalists overwhelmingly say that the most significant interactions they have at the fair are with the judges. Likewise, judges find their discussions with these outstanding students to be a positive and uplifting experience. The objective evaluation of projects by Grand Awards Judges is the most important aspect of the fair and determines the distribution of millions of dollars in prizes, awards, and scholarships.

INTERPRETERS: Approximately 200 interpreters are needed to work with students in conversational or scientifically-informed interpretation. Greatest demand is for Spanish, Russian, and Mandarin, but there is need for over a dozen languages.

Click here to learn more about volunteering

To volunteer to be a judge, interpreter or other volunteer, please contact judging@societyforscience.org.

Intel International Science & Engineering Fair comes to Phoenix from May 13th-17th leticiaaceret_0
Leticia Aceret volunteered as a simultaneous interpreter at Intel ISEF. PHOTO COURTESY OF SOCIETY FOR SCIENCE & THE PUBLIC.

Student involvement

Millions of students in grades 9-12 or equivalent worldwide compete each year in local and school-sponsored science fairs. The winners of these events go on to participate in 420 Society-affiliated regional and state fairs, from which the best win the opportunity to attend Intel ISEF. Each affiliated fair may send a pre-determined number of projects to Intel ISEF (as factored by participation and high school population) to compete in 22 different categories.

Intel ISEF alumni have gone on to receive some of the world’s most esteemed academic honors, including one Nobel Prize, one Breakthrough Prize, three National Medals of Science, and six MacArthur Foundation Fellowships. They’re involved in some of the most groundbreaking scientific research.

Video: Intel ISEF 2018 Highlights

More than 600 individual and team awards are presented every year at Intel ISEF. Each entry is judged at least four times with category awards given in first, second, third, and fourth place. Awards are $3,000, $1,500, $1,000, and $500 respectively in each of the 22 categories.

Awards worth approximately $4 million are provided through the Intel ISEF Special Awards program, and include tuition scholarships, summer internships, scientific field trips, and laboratory equipment. They are provided by Intel and over 50 other corporate, professional, and government sponsors annually.

Intel International Science & Engineering Fair comes to Phoenix from May 13th-17th ISEF-entrant-2018
An entrant in the 2018 Intel International Science & Engineering Fair talks to people about her project. Photo courtesy Society for Science & The Public

Intel ISEF Alumni

Alumni of the International Science and Engineering Fair continuously express how influential the competition was to their lives.

  • “My first time going to Intel ISEF, it was really astounding to meet other finalists from around the world. On the first night there’s the pin exchange, and talking to people from many countries about their research was quite awesome. My favorite was the Alumni Entrepreneur Panel, which showed where ISEF alumni had gone on from their research,” says Jeremiah Pate (Intel ISEF 2013-2017). Jeremiah recently visited Stockholm and the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar after receiving the Dudley R. Herschbach Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar Award.
  • “Judge after judge engaged me as a scholar, learning about my work and simultaneously welcoming me into the mathematics community. I signed up to be an Intel ISEF judge as soon as I became eligible so that I could give that same gift to the next generation of scholars,” says Scott Kominers (Intel ISEF 2005, Intel STS 2005). Scott, a faculty affiliate of Harvard University’s Department of Economics and Center of Mathematical Sciences and Applications, now comes back to judge at Intel ISEF.
  • “Intel ISEF showed me the power that STEM has to change the world, and this has led me to promote STEM in my community, both among my peers and in my school,” says Rahul Subramaniam (Intel ISEF 2017). Rahul recently traveled to India after receiving the Intel-Indo U.S. Science and Technology Forum Scientific and Cultural Visit to India Award.

View Intel ISEF alumni.

History of the International Science and Engineering Fair

The Society partners with Intel — along with dozens of other corporate, academic, government and science-focused sponsors — who provide the support and awards for Intel ISEF. The fair began in 1950 as the National Science Fair in Philadelphia and transitioned into an international competition in 1958 with the addition of Canadian, German, and Japanese finalists. Intel became the fair’s title sponsor in 1997, and, today, the number of countries participating has reached 80.

Each year, Intel ISEF is hosted in a different city, circulating between Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Phoenix. The Local Arrangements Committees from each city partner with the Society and Intel to provide support for the event, including the recruitment of thousands of volunteers and judges and organizing an Education Outreach Day where over 3,000 middle and high school students visit the finalists and learn more about their projects.