Intel STS Success – A Former Finalist Reflects

This blog was posted on behalf of Rachael Herold, a Process Engineer with Intel’s Technology and Manufacturing Group, and former Intel Science Talent Search (and Intel ISEF) finalist. Rachael received her Bachelor of Science and Engineering in Chemical Engineering from the University of Iowa in 2008, and is currently working on her Master’s degree in Enterprise Systems Innovation and Management at Arizona State University.

It is a surreal experience to return to the Intel Science Talent Search eight years later as an alumnus. I had the opportunity to meet this year’s finalists today at the public exhibition at the National Geographic Society. A few things about the STS have changed since I attended in 2004: different hotel, public exhibition is at a different location, and the students have “abstract business cards.” Despite these small changes, the emotions of nervousness, passion, and overwhelming excitement afflicting the finalists remains the same. Each finalist described their project with pride and enthusiasm before we swapped “war” stories from the interviewing process. Like the finalists from 2004, many feel overwhelmed that they did not know the answer for every question asked during their interviews. I remember these same emotions and encourage the finalists to understand that knowing how to find the answer is as important, if not more, as knowing the answer.

This visit has given me the chance to look back at the role that the Intel STS and Intel ISEF have played in my development over the last eight years. The STS is an opportunity to strengthen communication skills, challenge your mind, and network with students, world renowned scientists, and professionals that share an enthusiasm for scientific endeavors. This networking opportunity had a profound impact my life, unbeknownst to me at the time, when I met Lewis Scarpace, then Intel Director of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). As a freshman at the University of Iowa in Chemical Engineering, I contacted Lewis Scarpace about career opportunities at Intel and found myself moving to Santa Clara, California in the summer of 2005 for an internship at Intel in EHS. This internship would not have been possible without the networking opportunities at Intel STS. After this amazing experience, it came as no surprise that I returned to Intel in 2008 as a full time Process Engineer at the manufacturing facilities in Phoenix, Arizona.

Rachael at Intel STS 2004

As an employee at Intel, I have only begun to learn how much Intel is dedicated to supporting math and science education at all ages. Intel offers endless volunteer opportunities to employees to mentor K-12 students in the scientific methodology, as well as sponsorship of events such as Intel STS and Intel ISEF. Today, the impact that these competitions have had on me is even more apparent: increased confidence, problem solving skills to be applied in research and industry, strong communication skills, and an appreciation for the necessity in offering students these opportunities. No matter what the outcome of Intel STS 2012, each of these students is a winner – they will walk away with new lifelong friends, strengthened interview and presentation skills, a larger scholastic network, and, hopefully, the desire to help younger students have these same opportunities.

Linda Qian

About Linda Qian

Linda focuses on CSR communications both internally and externally with Intel's global Corporate Responsibility Office. She graduated in December 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Conservation and Resource Studies from the UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources. Follow Linda on Twitter at @lindalqian and @Intelinvolved. She is also active on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and Instagram.

One Response to Intel STS Success – A Former Finalist Reflects

  1. Kamil says:

    Great article just one very minor dtaiel, Erika DeBenedictis spells her name with a k !! Erika was one of my kids in Albuquerque. As the regional ISEF affiliated fair director in Albuquerque, I have been privileged to know Erika and her family for several years now. She’s an amazing young woman brilliant and full of humility. I got to take her to ISEF for five years in a row from 8th grade (as an observer) until last year when she graduated. These kids are all amazing!