The DC STEM Network manages the DC STEM Fair, and sends the top three high school winners to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF). The DC delegation competed against 1,700 students in the 2017 Intel ISEF. This is part three of the student experiences from the top three winners of the Secondary DC STEM Fair 2017. This third guest blog is from Sam Lossef, who is a rising junior at School Without Walls. Check out our first blog and second blog in the series!

I was very fortunate to be selected as a finalist for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles this year, for my project entitled “Printenna: A 3D Printed Biquad Yagi Antenna for Transmission of Space Solar Power” in the Physical Energy category. I would like to share some of my experiences at Intel ISEF with you in this blog. This is my second year attending Intel ISEF as a finalist. Last year, I attended the ISEF fair in Phoenix, Arizona to present a project in the Mechanical Engineering category on improving the performance of Stirling engines with pyrolytic graphite. The opportunity to attend Intel ISEF again this year was very exciting for me, as I enjoyed gaining new experiences and learning new things at this year’s conference.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sunday was a very busy day, as I arrived at BWI airport at 3 AM to board a flight to Los Angeles. Once our delegation arrived, we checked into our hotel, and headed over to the exhibition hall at the convention center to set up our research poster boards.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Today, I woke up early to get my poster inspected by the Safety Review Board and have my projects certified. I performed some last minute adjustments on my poster to ensure it was ready for presentations. Later that day, the DC delegation took a short trip to the Griffith Observatory on Mount Hollywood and saw some amazing views of downtown LA. In the evening, everyone attended the Intel ISEF opening ceremony at the convention center.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Today, I joined fascinating lectures on cutting-edge research performed by world famous scientists. I attended the Excellence in Science and Technology presentation, and listened to several Nobel Prize winners who discussed their experiences in science while giving advice to high school students.

I also had a chance to view hundreds of interesting student posters and presentations. I only wish that I had more time to learn about other student’s research, since there was over 1,800 finalists at the event. In the evening, the DC delegation met finalists from over 70 countries at a pin-exchange dinner event.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday was the long-awaited judging day, when I presented my research project to dozens of grand and special award judges. This opportunity allowed me to explain my project in detail to experts in the field and answer their questions. I also enjoyed speaking with other finalists in my Physical Energy category, and viewing their creative posters.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

On the annual public viewing day, thousands of students from Los Angeles visited the convention center. This opportunity gave me the chance to explain my project to many students interested in engineering.

Later that evening, the Special awards ceremony begun. I was fortunate to receive two special awards: the First Place United States Airforce Award in the Physical Energy Category and the Second Place Award from the US Patent and Trademark Office Society.

Friday, May 19, 2017

During my last day, I said goodbye to my new friends from all over the world after the concluding Intel ISEF ceremony.

This year’s Intel ISEF conference was a wonderful experience for me, as I enjoyed speaking with students, scientists, and judges. It was exciting to view hundreds of scientific posters describing recent developments in engineering, materials science, and bioscience. I came home with many new perspectives and innovative ideas for future projects. My experiences at ISEF this year reinforced my interest in pursuing a career in scientific research.

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