Live from Intel Science Talent Search 2009

This week I am in Washington DC with forty of our nations most promising young innovators – all finalists at this year’s Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS). It is an extraordinary experience to listen to these high school seniors explain their projects, which can very well qualify for a Masters or PhD thesis, with so much passion and confidence. Identifying potential new treatment for multi drug resistant cancer, advancing the field of stem cell biology and immunology, highly advanced fundamental research in mathematics – these are just some of the projects submitted this year. The students’ capabilities and interests however go well beyond just math and science – more than two thirds of the finalists are accomplished musicians, most are actively engaged in volunteering and mentoring, some of them are highly athletic, some are editors of their high school news papers or magazine – these are not just future innovators, they are the future leaders.

Intel STS finalists go through a rigorous judging process as part of the competition but their week is also filled with a series of exciting events. Students meet leading scientists and visit places of historic and political importance. They display their prize-winning exhibits at the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, where they describe their research to thousands of visitors. One of the highlights of this week was the finalists’ white house visit to meet with President Obama. There was quite an excitement building up within the group as we boarded the bus for the White House, and it only grew as we lined up on the steps of the North Portico and waited for the president.

finalis tpic with president.jpgUpon arrival, the president congratulated the students on their extraordinary work and talked to them about the importance of sound education. He also pointed out the need to provide quality education to ALL kids and to get more of them interested in science and math. The visit lasted for about 15 minutes and on the way back I thought about how this experience might affect the lives of these young scientists. Today, during an elegant evening gala, we will find out the top winners for this year, but no matter who wins the competition, I am certain that we will hear from all of these students for many years to come as they continue with their breakthrough research.

Intel Science Talent Search is America’s oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition. You can find out more about Intel STS and Intel’s larger portfolio of programs aimed at advancing education around the world at: www.intel.com/education

 *White House photo by Chuck Kennedy

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About Suzanne Fallender

Suzanne Fallender is Intel’s Director of Corporate Responsibility. In this role, she collaborates with key stakeholders across the company to integrate corporate responsibility concepts into company strategies, policies, public reporting, and stakeholder engagement activities to advance Intel’s corporate responsibility leadership and create positive social impact and business value. Suzanne leads a team of experienced professionals who engage with internal and external groups to review Intel’s corporate responsibility performance and to identify new opportunities to apply Intel’s technology and expertise to address social and environmental challenges. The team also works closely with Intel’s investor relations and corporate governance groups to drive an integrated outreach strategy with investors on governance and corporate responsibility issues. Suzanne has more than 20 years of experience in the field of corporate responsibility and socially responsible investment. During her time at Intel, Suzanne has held a number of corporate responsibility-related roles, including leading programs empowering girls and women through technology. Prior to Intel, Suzanne served as Vice President at Institutional Shareholder Services where she managed the firm’s socially responsible investing division. Suzanne holds an M.B.A. from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and a B.A. from Trinity College in Hartford, CT. She has served on a number of leading industry advisory boards and committees on sustainability and corporate responsibility over the past decade and currently is a member of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship’s Executive Forum and the Net Impact Advisory Council. Follow Suzanne on Twitter at @sfallender.