Friday, May 13, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Special Awards were Special indeed tonight!
9 Awards for Canadian students …
American Dental Association
1st prize of $1,000 to Sabrina (YSC)
American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists
4th prize of $125 to Linda (YSC)
American Psychological Society
1st prize of $1,250 to Adelina (YSC)
1st prize of $2,500 to Lauren (YSC)
1st place “Secret Agent” Award of $10,000 to Sarah (BASEF)
Illinois Institute of Technology
2nd place of $1,000 to Adelina (YSC)
Patent and Trademark Office
1st place of $200 to Janelle (BASEF)
International Society for Optical Engineering
2nd place of $1,500 to Chris (YSC)
Society of Experimental Test Pilots
1st place of $1,000 to Lauren (YSC)
In addition to these 9 awards, every finalist and student observer here will receive a copy of “Mathematica” software from Wolfram Research.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
The kids are slower to appear this morning, but appear they do. We start off with breakfast in the hotel lobby again. They have a pretty good selection of juice, cereal, dried fruit, eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, rice, muffins and pastries. It’s all a la carte, and the prices are reasonable.
The kids are really starting to mix together and just enjoy each others company.
So today is one of those “madly off in all directions” sort of days. Three of the students have media interviews scheduled throughout the morning, two are writing exams, a number want to work on their projects or hang out at the e-lounge, and some, well some are feeling less cerebral, and really just want to go shopping!
Leanne, Ray, Dustin and Spencer decide to take a large group on the train down to Hollywood Boulevard. The girls want to window shop on Rodeo Drive, or just see someone famous!
Caroline and I stay back to play “traffic cop” and get all the rest where they need to go when they need to be there. We take turns being stationed in the hotel lobby, and convention centre lobby and sending groups of students back and forth between the two places. The Marriott across the street has free wifi in the lobby, so it’s become another popular collection place. And, most importantly, there’s a Starbucks on the second floor of the convention centre, and another one beside the Marriott, so Caroline and I are both very happy. Happy chaperones makes for a good week!!!
I often get asked about the nature of the projects that these students do. So here’s a sample of the Canadian project titles – you can see why by the end of each Fair, I’m even better than before at Trivial Pursuit:
Inhibition of the ATPase Activity of the Hepatitis C Virus NS3 Protein by Human Lactoferrin; Identification of Ezrin as a Colonic Substrate for Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase Sigma; Indoor Ground Manifold Tracking through Low-Cost Stereoscopy; Traffic Lights Fuzzy Controller; Simplifying SODIS: Recution of UV-Impeding Turbidity through Macroscopic Filtration; Plants Purify Pee
The goal is for everyone to arrive back at the hotel circa 2:30 to do another round of presentations before we head over to dinner and the Opening ceremonies this evening. I’ll let you know later on how well that actually executed!!
Sunday, May 8, 2011
So I thought I should start off this post with the “cast of characters” who will appear on these pages in the next few days, just so you can keep them all straight. (Although, if it makes you feel any better, I’m still working on some of the names myself!)
Youth Science Canada (YSC) Chaperones are: Caroline, Leanne, Spencer and Dustin.
BASEF Chaperones are: Cathy (me) and Ray
Montreal Chaperones are: Gus, Wilson and Barry
YSC students are: Adelina from Richmond Hill, Sabrina from Sherbrooke, Emma from Ottawa, Howard from Richmond Hill, Rui from Saskatoon, Anqi from Waskatoon, Chris from Calgary, Megan from Walkerton, Zeyu from Calgary, Nicholas fom Surrey, Vivienne and Janelle from Waterloo, Lauren from Oshawa, Dheevesh from Mississauga, Lexie from Grimsby, Linda from Vancouver, Grace from London, Reda and Alexandre from Quebec City, and Michael from Toronto
BASEF Students are: Janelle, Sarah, Yiquan and Ishan
Montreal Students are: Marianne, Katherine, Chloe and Meagan-Helen
Now that we have that all straight ….
Caroline, Dustin and I head over to the registration area, after the pre-requisite stop at Starbucks (you’ll note this become a theme over the course of the week!). We were among the first in line, so picked up the 40 or so nametags and registration bags and packages, then put the nametags and packages together, eat our breakfast, and await the arrival of the rest of the group.
Ray, Leanne and Spencer, in the meantime, herd the kids through the breakfast buffet in the hotel lobby, then have them gather their projects from their rooms, and make the long duct-tape laden parade from hotel to the convention centre. We are excited to see that none of our projects have any SRC violations (thanks Tom and Patrick back home!) and we can proceed to set up. I'm the only mother on the trip this time around, so I remind them all (for the first time!) to call their Mother's for Mother's Day. Delighted to hear that many of them already have!
Setting up always sounds like a simple process, but invariably, some of the group are done in half an hour, some take all day. We tell them all that we want to see them all in the convention centre lobby at 1 pm, regardless of what stage they are at. Nick has a media interview scheduled, so Spencer is to take him back to the hotel to do that on Skype.
Every year I threaten to bring a pedometer and actually measure how far we walk on set up day. Between several trips back and forth between hotel and convention centre, and then the circuitous route through the 24 projects over and over again, it’s a day for comfortable shoes indeed. And, truthfully, there’s a part of me that doesn’t really want to know how far I’ve walked .. it might just make you more tired than you already feel! Communicating with walkie-talkies, cell phones (and some days, it just feels like telepathy!) we manage to get all the kids projects up. As the students finish, they go find some other Canadian student to help.
At 1, there are only three projects that have not completed their safety checks, so we decide to all head out for lunch together, then a couple of the chaperones will head back with the remaining students to finish the safety checks after lunch.
Leanne and Dustin have scouted out the Panini Café. We wait about 25 minutes for tables, and wind up breaking up into five different smaller groups to eat. HUGE portions of salads, dip platters and paninis, and we are all totally stuffed. Leanne eyes one of the dip platters from another table, and the kids bring it over to us after they are finished.
After lunch, we head back to the hotel and find that the gang from Montreal have just arrived and are checking in. I introduce some of the chaperones from the other teams who haven’t met each other before (while all of the other chaperones except Caroline have come to ISEF before, they haven’t all come to the same fairs .. Ray and I have been here for five straight years. Caroline has been to a lot of Canada Wide fairs)
The Montreal group head out for lunch, Ray and I head back to the convention centre to do safety checks, and the other chaperones settle in to listen to presentations. We ask the students to sign up for a time slot, then have them present their projects for feedback and questions. There are no real safety check issues, so Ray and the students head back, while I head off to an Advisory Council meeting.
Every year I threaten to bring a pedometer and actually measure how far we walk on set up day. Between several trips back and forth between hotel and convention centre, and then the circuitous route through the 24 projects over and over again, it’s a day for comfortable shoes indeed. And, truthfully, there’s a part of me that doesn’t really want to know how far I’ve walked .. it might just make you more tired than you already feel!
Ray collects a student from each of the three Canadian Fairs, and they head back to the Convention Centre to make the Canada “Shout Out” poster. As part of the opening ceremonies, each country is announced, and a student representative carries the poster from their country on stage. It is one of the most colourful and creative segments of the entire week, and a huge favourite among the students.
The kids have now had a chance to look through their registration packages, and discover a special surprise for the week .. the Wednesday night host city dinner is going to be held at Universal Studios! They have closed the park to all but the ISEF delegates, and we’re going to have dinner and spend the evening there.
The students are very excited about the Pin Exchange. They are to have dinner there, so head off as a group across the street to the Marriott hotel for the evening. As a member of the IISEF Advisory Council, I’m invited to a special dinner at Wolfgang Puck, and allowed to bring a “date”, so Ray and I head over there.
We arrive back at the hotel at 9 pm, the same time as the kids do. Some of them got so carried away having fun mixing, mingling and trading pins that they actually forgot to eat! Leanne, Spencer and Dustin head to a supermarket down the street and return with bottled water, fresh fruit, chips, and cookies. We order some pizza from a place next door, and the party moves up to Leanne and Caroline’s room on the 6th floor.
Someone has to get up early in the morning to accompany Vivienne to the convention centre to complete some administrative paperwork connected with an AP exam she has to write later today. I offer to do that, if one of the other chaperones agrees to do my bed checks later so that I can go to sleep. Offer readily accepted by just about everyone else!