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.
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.