ISEF and Foul Play
This last week I was granted the special opportunity to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair! Boy was it a blast….sort of! The tl;dr story goes that I flew 1300 miles into the middle of the desert only to be disqualified by a really swell person. More on this later. The entire experience ended up being grand and I made a lot of new friends, met up with old ones, and got to see family. There were tons of amazing projects put on display and I felt blessed to be in the presence of so many great minds. A competition like ISEF is one of the best times for collaboration! The first three days were rather stressful as I was scrambling to get my board together and binder assembled.
The third day had to be the most interesting as I had been called to a meeting with the display and safety committee for what was written down as “participation question.” I ended up being disqualified for competing at two ISEF affiliated fairs…one being out of state. This may seem like an obvious infraction, but it isn’t so when it’s the norm for the science department to take 50 or 60 kids down to Wyoming State Science Fair and then back up to a South Dakota to compete at their fair. The situation is made more unique by the fact that we’re closer (1.5 hrs as opposed to 4) to the South Dakota Fair than the Wyoming State Fair. I digress. The infraction was a legitimate one, and I had my competition status removed but I was still able to present. I like to call this the “your dog died…but you can still keep him if you want” scenario. Had the infraction been brought up earlier in the process…say before I flew 1300 miles into the middle of a damn desert for nothing, I would have: A) Been a lot less aggravated, and B) Handled the situation a smidgen differently
Here is where it gets interesting…
Had this infraction not been reported, I would have been able to compete (hence the reason it was not discovered earlier). But who out of the 2000+ adults and students would have known that I competed in two fairs? Apparently my project caught the eye of the Wyoming fair director as she was browsing the electrical engineering section. This woman decided to circumvent all professionalism and report the infraction to the ISEF officials without first contacting us. After we figured out that she had reported the infraction, we tried numerous times to call her. She would not answer calls from the science department back home, the South Dakota coordinator, my supervising teacher who was also there, and I also believe my principal. It takes about a day for word to get out and every faculty member of my high school AND the South Dakota School of Mines (the institution that sponsored the fair and paid for me to go down to Phoenix to compete) to be extremely angry at this woman who went out of her way to make sure all of my hard work that had been denied at her fair was also denied at the international level.
Okay, here is where the story gets REALLY interesting.
Out of all of the people there, I manage to run into the little rat. She was eating at a table in the food court of the event center with the Wyoming group and the moment I saw her I knew what happened next was out of my hands. My vision turned red and I approached her. I first confirmed that it was in fact the her (as I had never seen her other than a picture I found after about two seconds of googling). After the confirmation, I proceeded to let her, and everyone within earshot, know that she was a poor excuse of a woman and that she had fucked up the four years worth of work that had lead to this point. I am really sorry…that I was so angry I was unable to insult her more. Mind you, this is 24+ hours after she reports the infraction and refuses to answer our calls. Precisely 24 hours later she decides to give the South Dakota Coordinator a call and complain about being embarrassed in public by myself.
If you TL;DR’d the entire thing: I was disqualified for an unknown infraction reported by the Wyoming coordinator, she was completely unprofessional about the entire ordeal and I ended up seeking her passive ass out and promptly insulting her in public in a fit of rage.
I am somewhat more content now that I got that out of my system. Quite frankly, any fair that uses blackballing, unprofessional tactics such as the Wyoming State Science Fair can go fuck themselves.
The Sunny Side Up:
I got to meet up with old friends, my family, Nobel Prize Winners, Adam Steltzner, and an astronaut. On top of all of that I got to make new friends!
Dominic is a friend I made at PAN Camp this last summer. He is an extremely bright gentleman!
Jake is part of The North West Nuclear Research Consortium. He builds reactors. Adam is a winner of the Intel talent search who does research on plasma physics.
Connor is a friend I made at JSHS two weeks earlier. This kid is awesome! He loves grass.
I also Met Marianne at JSHS! She was a victim to one of my practical jokes.
Jon is one of those crazy people you meet that has no social media ties. He is the most interesting man I’ve ever met. He does everything from fusion research to riding dirt bikes. Hmm reminds me of a much brighter version of myself. Definitely more interesting!
Sarah is an old friend of mine that does undergraduate research in high school. If you want the definition of well rounded…this is it.
J. Michael Bishop is a Nobel Prize Recipient!
Adam Steltzer is the chief engineer for NASA’s JPL! Jae and I were lucky enough to have gotten a picture with him!
Randy and Brent are family members of mine that live in Az! It was great seeing them!
Of course I didn’t get the name of the astronaut I got a picture with!
Aly was my neighbor from Egypt. He built what was essentially google glass…but for under $200. Luckily a rep from google glass decided to stop by his booth.
Michal is a fusioneer from Slovakia. He is incredibly bright!
All in all the trip ended well. It sucked knowing that I had a fighting chance at winning some awards but I’m sure this situation happened for a reason! The friends I made and met were awesome and I hope to see them later in life. Everyone who attended ISEF was absolutely brilliant and it was fun picking everyone’s brain! The entire situation has gained publicity from our local newspaper and there is a lot of ruckus going on over it. I am extremely grateful that there are this many people behind me and willing to back me up in a situation like this.
I graduated from my institution of secondary education this last Sunday the 19th. It was sad having to leave all of the people who have coached, mentored, and worked with my the past four years. I am more than happy to be able to move on to the next chapter of my life, but I am going to miss my mentors and friends.
Look at how much I care. Everyone brought silly string…but I got the last laugh with my air horn.
I created a new page under hobbies>firearms. Click on the picture for the story!