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Three Commack Students Compete @ International Science & Engineering Fair

From Commack to LA: A Daily Blog from Richard Kurtz, CHS Science Teacher/Mentor 
Day 1 - Saturday May 13, 2017
Team Long Island Science and Engineering Fair including students Charity, Raphael, and Abbigayle from Commack left yesterday afternoon for Los Angeles and arrived in the evening. On Sunday they will set up their boards at the convention center.

Day 2 - Sunday May 14, 2017

A long day for our ISEF students. Early breakfast then a meeting to discuss the schedule for Sunday.
Then off to the LA Convention Center were the ISEF Fair is taking place. The students unpacked their shipped poster boards and re-hung them and then set their area up with their logs, binders of research articles and poster board. Each student was required to have a safety inspection and a verification that their work was properly displayed and complied with all regulations. Our students passed the inspection. Each student had a practice session with Mr. Kurtz. They are in awe of the process and the large size of this event. They kept repeating all day, I cannot believe we are here. They all had a goal since 9th grade to be part of ISEF.

In the evening the participated in what is called the pin exchange where students from all over the world trade pins with each other. A great way to meet and mingle with other like-minded students from different cultures.

Till tomorrow from LA, CA...

Day 3 - Monday, May 15, 2017

An action packed day!
The students had down time today and went on a tour of Warner Brothers Studio and ate lunch at Santa Monica Pier.

In the evening they attended the fabulous and inspiring opening ceremony. The Keynote speaker was Manu Prakash Assistant professor of Bioengineering at Stanford University. This wonderful scientist develops inventions that can be used for practical purposes by people all over the world. They inventions are inexpensive and offer solutions to problems for people who live in poor conditions and are surrounded by poverty. For example he invented a foldable paper microscope called Foldscope that cost less than one dollar and a 20-cent hand powered blood centrifuge. The evening ended with a few representatives from each of the 78 countries at the fair being announced and coming on stage. Tomorrow lots of practice and two of our students taking an IB exam.

Day 4 - Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The competition is getting close so the focus today was very much upon getting ready.
The students went to the convention center in the morning as they set up their board area practiced on their own and made one last check. Abby and Charity stayed behind as other students went back to the hotel to practice. The students practice for about an hour before they took their IB Spanish test. There is an IB testing center on site for all IB students at the fair. There was also a panel discussion of successful entrepreneurs who were ISEF finalist alum. Very impressive, motivated and dedicated young people giving advice to the students in the audience. Our students practice most of the afternoon.

At the end of the day all ISEF students participated in a social event. Tomorrow is judging!

Day 5 - May 17, 2017

It was an exhausting and exhilarating day for our students. Abby and Charity had to be at their IB Spanish exam at 6 am. At 8 am the judging started for all three of Commack's ISEF finalists. Judging was intense; there are special awards judges and grand award judges. Students were judged 10 to 15 times over the course of the day which included a morning and afternoon session. The students were asked tough questions as the judges are checking that the students have a true understanding of the science behind their research. After the competition all competitors and their chaperones had an extra special treat. Everyone was bused over to Universal Theme Park.

The park was completely open for rides and food. There were no lines for the rides and you just walked right onto your ride of choice. Harry Potter area was a definite favorite. Even Mr. Kurtz could be seen wondering through Hogwarts trying to learn new teaching techniques to bring back to Commack HS!

Day 6 - May 19, 2017

Today was Public Day. People from all over Los Angeles came to the convention center to observe projects and talk to participants. There were many young people visiting from area schools. Finalists spent the time answering questions and engaging with people who were curious about their research. Charity's sister Trinity, a former ISEF finalist, visited the event.
In the evening special awards where given out. These awards are sponsored by various companies, governmental organizations and individuals. Our students did not receive any Special Awards. Friday is the final day of ISEF, with the Grand Awards ceremony in the morning, and then we are immediately off to the airport for our trip home.

Day 7 - May 20, 2017

The Commack ISEF team returned safety to New York. Raphael received a third award and Abby received a fourth award. Our students represented Commack district with distinction! They worked hard and took advantage of this great ISEF opportunity meeting and engaging with students from all over the world. We all appreciate our great school district for supporting educational programs that offer great opportunities for our students.
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