Friday, May 15, 2009

Grand Awards - Friday May 15th

I'll post more later .. but I know there are lots of people anxious for this ..

7 Awards for Canada today at the Grand Awards

4th place to Taneille Johnson in the Biochemistry Category
4th Place to Christopher Chopcian in the Engineering, Elec & Mech Category

3rd Place to Xingyu Zhou in the Energy and Transportation Category
3rd Place to Zach Elgood in the Environmental Management Category
3rd Place to Abi Uthamacumaran in the Medicine & Health Sciences Category

2nd Place to Nirusan Jayaranjan in the Engineering, Elec & Mech Category
2nd Place to Ratna Varma in the Medicine & Health Sciences Category.

The students were sitting right up front, with lots of flags and cheers. They've had a great week, and really made some great new friendships!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Special Awards - Thursday May 14 - Part Two

Oh Canada!

Four Special Awards Tonight.

1. American Association of Physics Teachers - 2nd Prize of $800 to Sayuri
2. IEEE Computer Science Award - 3rd Prize of $350 to Tavian
3. IEEE Computer Science Award - 2nd Prize of $500 to Kent
4. Sierra Nevada College - Full 4 Year Scholarship (valued at $23K per year) to Kent

Our students had front row seats, lots of Canadian thunder sticks, hats, bandanas, etc.
They cheered louder than anyone, and seemed to have a great time.

Student Mob Day - Thursday May 14 - Part 1

Back to the Black Bear Diner for breakfast. The portions are huge, the food is good, and the bill is small. A chaperone's (and treasurer's!) dream.

Today is public viewing day. Each year, approximately 5000 students from Kindergarten through Grade 12 from surrounding schools come to view the fair. It's high energy, and chaos all at the same time! The students have to be at their booths for the morning.

The one restaurant they have all wanted to go to this week is Olive Garden, so we decide to go for a mid-afternoon lunch .. as we're full from breakfast!

Tonight is the Awards ceremony .. there will be another post this evening with all the news. I'm going to try to update live on Twitter .. we'll see how the connection is from inside the arena.

Judging Day - May 13


Front Row: Stef, Jen, Chris, Jake, Ratna, Beth, Romita, Lia, Taneille, Michael, Abi

Back Row: Sayuri, Andrew, Claire, Tavian, Kent, Emma, Alex, Jonathan, Xingyu, Juno, Zach, Nirusan, Mathieu

Today was judging day. It's the reason we're here .. yet the most stressful day of all. This is what everyone has been preparing for .. for weeks, months, even years ....

Anyone who has something to put at their display has to do it between 6 am and 7 am (IISEF rules .. trust me .. these aren't the chaperone rules!!). We tell the kids they can go in sweats or whatever, then come back and get dressed. I get down to the lobby at 5:45 to make sure we don't miss anyone .. and the kids start appearing not long after.

The one thing we've learned is that everyone has their "own rhythm" on judging day .. and we try to be as respectful of that as we can. Some like to go early and sit quietly outside, some want to be surrounded by the energy of other people ... some want to practice "just one more time", and yet others want to talk about anything other than their project!
We've also learned not to organize a really formal breakfast for this day .. as most of the students don't eat much. We also know they will be ready to eat a horse by lunchtime! So we sit outside the coffee shop, and greet everyone, and make sure they've eaten something. We send some back up to comb their hair, we straighten a few ties, (we teach some students how to tie them first!), we advise on what top goes with the shoes and the jacket, we remind them to wear their nametags, and, most importantly, we make sure they get on the bus!
Chaperones are not allowed in on judging day .. only the students. So after the students are all gone, we swing into action to get lunch ready. They get a 90 minute lunch break .. but by the time you get 1570 people out of the judging area, get to a restaurant, order, and eat, it would be time to go back. So we usually "scout out" a location in advance, then take pre-orders for lunches. This year the lucky winner was Quizno's. So Caitlin and Liane get the brilliant idea of photocopying one sheet of the menu, and getting the kids to circle what they want.
We take the order over at 9 am to find out that Quizno's doesn't open until 11 am. Cathy manages to sweet-talk them into opening the door, taking our order, and having it ready for us to pick up at 11:15. We are lucky enough to have Chris's dad, Mike, who is spending the week here in Reno with us and had rented a car. We go over to Safeway to pick up a few other supplies .. pop, chips, fresh fruit, granola bars, chocolate chip cookies. Cathy wants to get some diaper wipes (to use to clean their hands .. no other purpose that we know of) but Stef assures us he's got a ton of wipes and serviettes in his room left over from pizza the other night.

We head back to the hotel to wash the fruit, and collect the other stuff that we need for lunch. Back to the convention centre (you'll notice that one of the important chaperone criteria is owning very comfortable shoes!) to find a spot on the floor to set up.
We stop first at Quizno's to pick up all the subs. The place is crazy by now, with other teams coming in to order a dozen subs at a time .. not to mention their regular lunch hour crowd. They have everything ready for us (we were smart enough to pre-pay too!) so it's a quick in and out trip.
When we get to the convention hall, we are pleasantly surprised to find out that they have a whole exhibit hall area set up with tables and chairs for lunch, so we grab four tables, and get lunch all ready for everyone to arrive. We laugh loudly though when Cathy realizes the "hand wipes" that Stef thought were left over from the pizza are actually little packages of crushed red pepper, and grated parmesan cheese! We discuss the merits of attempting a "sand blasting" version of germ removal with pepper or cheese, but decide perhaps the washroom is a better bet!

All set up for lunch.
(in this picture, Cathy, Claire, Spencer and Ray getting cookies ready for each table)

The students arrive absolutely famished .. and relieved to have the first judging portion over. They have all seen between one and five of their Merit judges (they will see six in total over the course of the day) and some have seen Special Award judges as well. Emotions, however, can run high. One bad judging experience, none of your judges doing "cartwheels" as they are leaving, or noticing your neighbour getting more judges than you, can cause total panic. On the other hand, having a judge say he/she loves your project, or finding a business card from a Special Awards judge on your table can make your day. And sometimes both happen over the course of the morning!

We try to chat with everyone one at a time. If it's been good, then we help them build on that energy .. but if it's been not-so-good, then we pull them outside for a chat to try to help them re-focus. We clean up, take the offical Team Canada picture (shown at the top), then head outside for a little fresh air before they have to return for another five hours of judging.
We see them again for a quick afternoon break. The leftover chips, drinks, chocolate bars and apples are well received. Everyone's a little calmer, and looking forward to the evening.
At the end of judging, everyone returns to the hotel to get dressed for a buffet dinner and dance. There's one party for the students, and a separate one for the adults. All the students head over to the Grand Sierra for their party, and the adults head out to another restaurant for dinner.
After dinner, there were a number of students who were tired, and wanted to come back to the hotel to swim in the pool and watch a movie, so they do. They head down to the pool with a couple of plastic Canadian flag beachballs for a game of pool volleyball. Meanwhile, back at the Grand Sierra, when the band takes a little break, Tavian asks if he can play the piano. They agree, so he gets on stage and starts playing. The band comes back early, and joins in for a jam session.
Meanwhile, Cathy's son, Tyler, has been asking his mom if the chaperones have "had a chance to have any fun yet" .. meaning go to the casino. So we all decide to go and blow a dollar or two on the one cent slot machines.
In this picture: Spencer, Caitlin and Liane.
Cathy and Susan were at the two next machines over ...
Eventually, everyone makes their way back, and heads to their rooms for a good night's sleep.
Tomorrow .. Finally .. they get to sleep in a little!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chillin' - Tuesday May 12

We let everyone sleep in a little today before heading for breakfast at yet another "gourmet delight" in Reno .. the Black Bear Diner. Once again, we are in a couple of different groups .. Stef had taken three students who had Safety violations to the Convention Centre to correct those. The rest of headed off to eat. The restaurant is decorated Good food, huge portions and we all decide we probably aren't going to need lunch!

We're noticing that the groups are mingling a lot more, and they are not always sitting with the same people. Everyone's getting to know everyone else, and they all seem to be enjoying each other's company.

A number of the students want to practice their presentations again, and a number also have pieces to take to their projects (binders, updates, etc) so we split them up for the morning, asking them to meet us in the lobby at 11, and we'll head to the Historic section of downtown Reno. A number of them ask if they can go to the mall instead, so we decide to let them have that option. At 11, there are five who want to go downtown, and all the rest want to head to the mall! Ray, Gus and Susan take the five downtown, and Liane, Spencer, Caitlin and I head to the mall with the rest. Stef is still with the projects clearing violations with a few of the students.

Downtown Reno is a bit of a disappointment. There was one antique store, an old book store, two souvenir stores and a lot of pawn shops and deserted motels. The group went looking for a skateboard store for Jake, and finally figure out that not only was the store out of business, but it had been knocked down, and was now a parking lot! The group though found a free tour bus ride that took them up to the university, then back down to city centre. Well, after they got on that is. The bus stopped right in front of them and they tried to get on. The driver informed them that she couldn't let them on as that wasn't a real bus stop, and directed them two blocks away to the bus stop, where she drove around a loop to come back and pick them up! Then, as they were all getting on, she closed the rear doors on a passenger, and they had to sit while her supervisor was called and performed an accident investigation.

One of the things we had located before coming was that Circus Circus does free performances. Trying to salvage the day, the group headed over to view the show. But there was nobody there, the stage was dark, and there was no trapeze or other equipment evident. When they went back out to catch the bus, the investigation was over, and the bus had gone. That's when they caught the next one for their short tour. The really funny part was that after they caught the city bus to return to the hotel, it took them on almost the exact same route the tour bus had!

Meanwhile, the other group headed to the mall. One of the ladies that I works with is an avid knitter .. and actually plans some of her vacations around yarn shops. So on our way to the mall, we happened to pass a yarn store that she had talked about. I called her from outside the store to see if there was anything she had wanted, and she said that she had looked on their website and there wasn't. We decided to take a picture of the store just for posterity!

At 2 pm is the Nobel Laureates panel. This year, there were 8 Nobel Laureates in attendance, and the kids have the opportunity to ask questions, meet them, and listen to them talk about their experiences. Jonathan has two of the Laureates sign the shirt that he's wearing. After that, everyone comes back to the hotel to hang out for a little while, and to get ready for the Host City Welcome dinner at the Grand Sierra Hotel.

Dinner was yet another buffet, with a country band for entertainment. Choices were chicken and pot roast .. both of which were pronounced the best buffet of the week! After dinner, the band was playing, but no-one was dancing. Liane got the Canadian gang out on the dance floor, started teaching them grapevine steps, as well as a few others, and made up her own dance with the kids following along. They got a couple of songs in, then, just as others were starting to join them, the band decided it was time to take a one hour break.

We always try to get lunch for judging day organized the night before, so we hand out order forms for subs, and try to get the kids to fill them out. While waiting for everyone to gather, a large game of "Stella-ella-ola" breaks out in the corner. The kids decide they all want to head back to the hotel, so we decide to come back. This picture was taken just before we boarded the bus. A number of them decide to head to the pool for a little relaxation before bed. Curfew is 10 am tonight as tomorrow is judging day.

Let the presentations begin - Monday

So the day begins with a long walk to breakfast. One of the things about being in a city that's relatively flat, with mountains in the background, and all the hotels being a little "large scale" is that things sometimes appear closer than they are! It took us 25 minutes or so to walk to our breakfast spot, but the fresh air actually felt pretty good. One of our students, Xingyu, was writing an AP exam this morning as well.

After breakfast we split up again .. some students having to go back to the convention centre for safety violations, or to put materials that they worked on yesterday at their booths. We set up time slots for each of the students to present their projects to pairs of chaperones who will critique them. Each student has a 20 minute time slot .. 10 minutes to present, and 10 minutes to answer chaperone questions. Spencer and Caitlin took some students, Ray and Susan took another group, and Liane and I had the rest. Stef was helping students at the convention centre, and Gus was "scouting out" some of our next meals!

I often get asked what the student's topics are, so, for some examples, here's what Liane and I listened to today.
Sugar Production, Waste Reduction - Turning Wastepaper into Fermentable Sugars for Bloethanol;
Optimization of Hydroxyapatite Bioceramics Deposited by Suspension Plasma Spraying;
The Aging of Mesenchymal Stem Cells;
Probabilistic Evolution in Dynamic Equilibrium; and
Making Mysterious Molecular Misfits - Finding KF4- and Super Anions.

In the afternoon, Conan O'Brien appeared at the Science Fair. It wasn't announced that he was going to be there, but he wandered around looking at projects and chatting with the students.

Some of our students were there, others chose to continue work on their projects or revise their presentations after the morning critique. Some chose the "hang out by the pool" option instead of either of those.

While we've seen lots of students and chaperones already, tonight at the Opening Ceremonies is the first time that we will all be at the same place at once. A buffet dinner is served, then we all head into the Opening Ceremonies themselves.
The event is MC'd by a local news host, Wendy, who .. how do we say this politely .. is very enthusiastic. She tells everyone that instead of shaking hands for the rest of the week, we are to bump elbows instead. In her enthusiasm, she reminds everyone not to sneeze into the air, but to sneeze into your elbows instead. Being the bright kids they are, everyone immediately recognizes that we are not sure that this is a significant improvement, to sneeze into your elbow, then bump it directly on someone else instead of shaking their hand .. but I digress ....

Remember though, that when the elbow bump replaces the handshake worldwide, that it all started here at IISEF 2009!
The "warm up" act for the ceremony are some performers from Cirque. They are absolutely amazing! If you look closely at the pictures on the right or left, you will see that this gentleman is balancing on top of a board, on top of 6 or 7 cylindrical items stacked on top of each other. There were a couple of other acts besides this one.
Here are some statistics on this year's fair.
There are a record 1563 students with 1223 projects (some are individual projects, some are teams). These students are from another record 56 countries, including Columbia and Viet Nam who are here for the first time. 20% of the projects either already have a patent, or have a patent under consideration. 54% are Male, 46% are Female. As per usual, this last statistic elicits equally loud whoops for both sets of numbers! 37% are Seniors (Grade 12), 32% are Juniors (Grade 11), 19% are Sophomores (Grade 10) and 12% are Freshman (Grade 9).
The official them of the Fair is "Inspired To Change Our World". (The unofficial theme of course is "wash your hands", as jars of hand sanitizer are everywhere .. including in the student gift bags) A message delivered by Intel CEO, Craig Barrett, challenged the students to make a difference. He also reminded them that the two things that no-one can ever take away from you are a good education, and your personal integrity .. and to make sure that you remember both in your professional accomplishments.

One of the highlights of the night is always the "Shout Out" where representatives from each country go on stage with the posters that they made. Here's a picture of all of the country posters, and the student representatives. The Canadian students had unanimously chosen Claire to represent us after her disqualification from the fair. She was absolutely beaming on stage.
After the ceremony we returned to the hotel for yet another party in Stef and Spencer's room.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A long and crazy day - Sunday Part 2

As you'll notice from the number of empty booths in the picture, there aren't as many "keen" students as the ones from Canada .. Jake being the only project in his row who was completely set up. So as the Intel Media Relations department was wandering around looking for people to interview, he was one of those selected. I know for sure Mathieu was also interviewed, not sure about any of the other Canadians.

It really took almost the whole day to set up. We would get students started, then move along to the next group. But then one would want to re-do their binder and one had forgotten something, etc, etc. A couple needed to go out and purchase things .. batteries, leads, binders, stands, so we did the usual "divide and conquer" with chaperones and kids and got it all handled. In between, we had a few safety violations to deal with as well. Because we'd had such a huge breakfast, it was past 1 when we realized we hadn't really eaten lunch. So Liane, Spencer and Caitlin grabbed the kids for the luxurious McDonalds lunch, then headed back to the convention centre.

Because of the SRC issue taking up a good part of the day, we hadn't focused on getting our "Shout Out" poster done. Shout Out is one of the highlights of the opening ceremony, where representatives from each country make a poster. At one point in time, each country is announced, and a couple of representatives run on stage with the poster that they have made. It's a loud, colourful and energetic display! So, as is our tradition, we select a student from each of YSC, Montreal and BASEF to go make the poster together. So Claire, Tavian, Jen and Jake came with me to record a 25 second video and make the poster, while the rest of the group went to the Pin Exchange.

Pin exchange is another IISEF tradition. Students bring pins (and other items like pencils, flags, bracelets, etc) representing their city, region, country, and then trade with other students. It's really a brilliant way to get the kids to all meet each other. Jake had also been looking forward to pin trading, so, since our poster was taking a little more time, we let him head over to the pin exchange part way through. Below are Tavian, Jen and Claire with our completed poster.

Jake, despite his arrival half way through the process, came home with the greatest colleciton of pins and other stuff, including the only Russian flag that had been available for trade! After pin exchange, we all head back to the hotel. Some of the kids didn't eat much at pin exchange, so we decide to have a "hotel party" and order 8 pizzas, pop and chips. We wound up with most of the gang back in Stef and Spencer's room eating pizza, and either hanging out, or working on projects, binders or speeches. Eventually, we realize the 11 pm curfew has passed .. and send them all to bed!

A long and crazy day! Sunday - Part 1

The old line from the Peanuts cartoons always started .. "It was a dark and stormy night ...". The IISEF version is "It was a long and crazy day ...."
Yesterday was project set up. It sounds pretty simple .. Go in, set up your project, put out your books. Done. Doesn't always happen that way!

I want to take a step back first for a minute though. First to apologize for the lateness of all of these. We've had some internet connectivity issues here, but have got it figured out now. Secondly, I've used a lot of names, and haven't properly introduced everyone. Many of you know some of us, but not all.

Students here come to represent Canada from three different fairs: YSC - Youth Science Canada holds a "virtual" fair to select 16 students from across Canada. The 16 students chosen that way are Tavian, Christopher, Lia, Claire, Zach, Beth, Mathieu, Emma, Nirusan, Tanielle, Juno, Michael, Ratna, Kent, Xingyu and Jonathan. Chaperones with them are Stef, Spencer, Caitlin and Liane. The second fair is BASEF - Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair. The 4 students from that fair are Andrew, Alex, Romita and Jake. Chaperones with them are Ray and Cathy. The third fair is Montreal. The 4 students from that fair are Sayuri, Stef, Abi and Jen. Chaperones with them are Gus and Susan. But when we get here, we're all one big happy family .. sharing rooms, supporting each other, and all extremely proud to represent the great country of Canada!

So yesterday morning, when we went to check the SRC (Scientific Review Committee) list, we were delighted to see only one name on it from Canada. Usually this simply means that there was a form forgotten, or they have a question of clarification. An appointment is booked, the student and one or two mentors/chaperones accompany them, the question answered, and project set up continues.

So yesterday morning we started out with Stef going to the convention centre with Claire (who had had the violation) and four other students who wanted to make changes to their abstracts.
The rest of us had a more leisurely breakfast, then collected in the lobby to head over with the projects. While on the bus, we had a text from Stef to say that they had had their appointment, and Claire had been disqualified, and that the two of them were going to head back to the hotel.

Rest of us got to the convention centre and started setting up. One of the things we so appreciate about all of these students is how different they all are. Some of them decide to re-do pieces of their projects, some discover missing pieces, etc. So the chaperones set about just walking from student to student, checking in with each, supporting them with what they need then moving on.

When Stef returned, we put our heads together to see if there were any grounds for an appeal for Claire. The issue was an ethical one. She had performed a procedure that is legal for her to do in Canada, but is not in the US. The IISEF rules follow the US rules. So while her paperwork was all complete, and appropriate for a Canadian competition, it was not going to stand up here.

What we needed was a specialist in a very particular area .. single cell neuroscience research on vertebrae animals. Coincidentally, we happen to have one of those on our BASEF SRC committee. He has 7 years of Post-Doc in the US, but obtained his PhD in Canada, so is familiar with the rules on both sides of the border. We called him at home on a Sunday afternoon, and he spent five hours working with us to draft an appeal letter. The appeal interview, however, was not successful. Claire, however, is a remarkable young lady, who took the news with grace and poise, well beyond her years. While disappointed, she understands the issue, and it's a lesson from the school of hard knocks for sure.

We're heading to breakfast now, but I'll post more about the rest of the day a little later.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

We're here! Kids, luggage and projects ....

Well .. we made it! We actually got here quite a while ago, but it took us a while to get settled, get our rooms, and then get the right stuff in the right rooms ... but we're finally organized!
So we arrived at Toronto airport this morning at 5:20 am. Stef is getting smart, and brought an empty suitcase .. so that when we had to re-arrange all the suitcases to get them under 50 pounds, we had a place to put the stuff. Lots of re-organizing, but we finally got all the suitcases under weight, and were ready to go. The one thing that held us up was having to check in one person at a time and pay for the luggage one person at a time. We held our breath going through customs and immigration .. but no issues at all. Andrew got the golf bag full of light bulbs, switches and leads pulled out for extra screening, but was able to explain it all, and so off we went.

First order of very important business was breakfast .. so we split up into various groups and went for muffins, fruit, egg sandwiches, yogourt ... took up a large chunk of the departure gate area .. but everyone started chatting and getting to know each other. Juno led everyone in a large game of Mafia .. which the kids all enjoyed playing (or most of them anyway) and the chaperones didn't understand!! It looked like a combination of duck-duck-goose, charades and Second City stand up .....

Flight from Toronto to Chicago was uneventful .. except it felt more like a day at Canada's Wonderland .. several roller coaster versions that is ... Once we arrived in Chicago, we again got very lucky as our gate to Reno was very close by. Everyone was hungry by then, and we found a food court. Cathy was in heaven as we had three Starbucks between the two gates. What a great airport! The Montreal gang arrived, and joined us at the gate. More introductions, more pictures, more hugs.

So we're apparently not the only convention in town this week .. the women's National Bowling Championships are here too! There were a lot of them on the plane as well. It was an absolutely full flight. As always, we hold our breath as we approach the baggage carousel. All of a sudden we hear a yell and look over to see a very large Welcome Team Canada sign being held by one of our YSC student's parents.

It takes a few minutes, but everything arrived. The next challenge was getting it all onto the bus .. it took a little reorganizing, but we figured it out. It's a beautiful day.. the sun is shining, the mountains are gorgeous .. everyone is snapping pictures.

Finally arrived at the hotel .. it's pretty amazing! The whole first floor is a casino. The second we walked into the door, we were overwhelmed by neon lights, the clanging of slot machines, and all the people holding drinks 10 feet inside the front door! Stef, Gus and I decide to get in line to check everyone in while the rest of the chaperones unload the bus.

Well .. as per usual, they had our 20 rooms spread over 8 different floors. We had the most amazing and patient front desk clerk, who spent almost an hour checking us all in .. but we managed to get on two different floors in the hotel .. much better than 8! By this time though, everyone was hungry .. OK .. really hungry. Most of the rooms weren't ready .. so we moved all the BASEF stuff into one room, all the Montreal stuff into one room and all the YSC stuff into yet another. Gus "negotiated" a table for 32 at the coffee shop in the hotel, and we all headed off through the casino. The kids weren't sure which way to look first .. particularly as we passed some of the cocktail waitresses in their "outfits" (or lack thereof).

So, for a coffee shop, it was pretty amazing. For $9.95, we got a salad, perfectly cooked prime rib with potatoes and veggies. Lots of orders of "chicken fried steak" and various other combos. Cathy asked for a cranberry and soda .. and was confused when she got a large 32 oz. glass of soda water. Until about a minute later when the waiter arrived with a second 32 oz glass of cranberry juice!

Stef, Cathy and Gus then went to officially register at the Fair. In the meantime, the rest of the chaperones went back with the kids to see if their rooms were ready, and distribute keys, luggage and kids! Over the course of the afternoon, a few went shopping, a few went swimming, a few hung out ..

There was only one SRC (Scientific Review Committee) violation posted, for Claire with YSC.

We all re-convened at 7 in Stef and Spencer's room .. and, for the first time today, have internet access. (My laptop up until now, had still been in someone else's room). A "reminder" of the rules, and our next few meeting times. Everyone decides they don't really need dinner (since we had "lunch" at 3:30 pm Reno time .. but a big group run over to 7-11 for drinks and snacks seems to excite everyone.

So I'm here in Stef and Spencers's room, with 10 of the kids, 5 chaperones, and we're all just hanging out and chatting. Curfew tonight is 10 am (which sounds unreasonable, except that translates to 1 am our time .. and we've all been up since 4 am this morning.) You can probably figure that the rooms are huge! In the few minutes it's taken me to take the picture and upload, we've been joined by four more students!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Only Three More Sleeps!

Well .. we had our last meeting at Dofasco last night before heading out to Reno this coming Saturday morning. Handed out jackets, trading pins, double checked paperwork, discussed how to pack all the "weird and wacky" things that we're taking with us .. and tried to hypnotize everyone into remembering their mantra for the week ... "GET A RECEIPT".

Their presentations were amazing .. everyone has worked hard on upgrading backboards, binders, and elevator speeches.

We will be meeting 16 of the other students (the ones chosen by YSC) at the airport on Saturday morning. We're all on the same flight to Chicago. We then meet up with the 4 students chosen from the Montreal Regional Fair in Chicago, and we're all on the same flight to Reno. Might I apologize ahead of time to anyone on that flight who is not with IISEF!?

Here they are in front of Alex and Andrew's project. The "glow" from the LED lights is making them all look a little red ....