Last month, along with more than 1500 other high school students from over 50 countries, one student from West Linn High School traveled to Pittsburgh, Penn. to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Spencer Chang, Class of 2012 and soon to be Stanford freshman, presented and defended his original research in front of peers, inventors and even Nobel Laureates while enduring an eight hour judging session in which he was grilled by professional scientists in his field.
“There were about 1,600 people from over 60 countries and it was amazing to see all of their different cultures and traditions,” Chang said. “It was a great experience to talk with others about my project; I enjoyed teaching the judges and other students at the fair about my research. My project isn’t something everyone can easily understand, and I really enjoyed the challenge of teaching and describing it to others.”
As awards were presented, Chang took a respected fourth place in the field of Microbiology. “I was so honored to have won fourth place this year. To simply be recognized at the largest pre-college science fair in the world is something I am very proud of,” Chang said. “Because every part of my research project was my own work and ideas, being awarded something helps validate that I am succeeding at what I am doing and am truly impacting the world around me.”
Chang has participated in ISEF every year in his high school career and has won numerous awards for his projects. Many students grow as participants in the scientific field according to Chang. The skills he has gained through ISEF will continue to aid him in his college career.
“It saddens me that this was the last science fair I will ever participate in. But I feel ISEF has helped prepare me so well for the next level, and I am ready to tackle some of the biggest problems in science today,” Chang said. “My ISEF experience has grown into something I used to only dream of, and I am so thankful for all of those who helped me reach the point where I am at today.”