ISEF recap and future


The ISEF logo for the 2022 season. They had a successful time.

As the 2022 WVHS-West Linn Jane Goodall Symposium ends, so does the journey of approximately 250 students who, since late 2021, have been working super hard to make the best project they possibly could. 

For those who may be unfamiliar with ISEF, it is a science program in which students make a project to then present at the previously mentioned Jane Goodall Symposium. But before competing at the symposium, you have to go through plenty of other things. First you must register to compete, then submit a plan that has to get approved by the judges, and then you are clear to begin experimentation. 

After hours of experimentation and research, you then can start your board. When you finish your board, you present it at a mock symposium, which is a practice judging event where you are given feedback on your project by various teachers from the West Linn and Wilsonville districts. Besides that, it also helps give you an idea of what the actual event is going to be like and it’s great for helping prepare your words. 

After months of research and work then the two most important days come, Judging day and the Symposium event. Judging day was February 28th, the last day of the month. 

What happens on judging day is you stand next to your finished board and wait until a judge interviews you, during these interviews you are told to explain your project and you are asked follow up questions about your project. This is arguably the most important day of the ISEF season as what you say and do directly impacts the results of the next day which is the actual Symposium and award ceremony which took place March 1st this year. 

The Symposium is where the projects are on display for the public/community and you stand by them to answer anybody’s questions they may have about your project. Once the viewing is over then you go to the award ceremony where a keynote speaker gives a speech. 


This year the keynote speaker was Dr. Ann Bernert who was a former West Linn student and did ISEF when she was in high school. After the speech is done then the award ceremony truly begins, dozens of awards were given out to students, some of these awards included the Green Chemistry Award, Women in Engineering Award, NASA Earth System Science Award and plenty others. If you would like to see the full list of awards and winners you can go to the West Linn-Wilsonville school district website and on the search button write “Jane Goodall Symposium” and click the “Student Scientists Shine During CREST-Jane Goodall Science Symposium” article then from there you can scroll and click on the link that says “complete list of award winners”.  

The award ceremony lasted approximately an hour and towards the end was when the big prizes were awarded like category awards. Once the category awards were finished then the people who made states and internationals were announced. 

17 students from Wilsonville made states and they will compete in the Northwest Science Expo next month. 2 students from Wilsonville, those being Aditi Bhalkar and Isabella Scalise, won “best of the fair” therefore advancing them to the Regeneron Science and Engineering Fair which will take place in May in Atlanta, Georgia where they will compete at the international level. Although not everyone walked away with an award in hand everybody did still walk away with an amazing experience and other benefits. 

What are some of these benefits? To explain all the benefits and more is Danielle Schroeder who is the ISEF coordinator for West linn and Wilsonville, she has been Wilsonville High School’s coordinator since 2016 and many students credit a lot of their success to her. “There are so many benefits to ISEF: you get science elective credit, you can learn resume-building skills, you can “try out” a career in STEM, you get to dialogue with professional scientists and engineers, you get to network with STEM folks from all over the community, you get awards and cash prizes, you get to explore a passion and think outside the box, you can practice time management, budgeting, communication, technical writing, and more!”. 


Danielle recommends ISEF for everyone, “Of course! I love the ISEF program and I think it offers you tons of opportunities that students from other schools don’t get. There’s not very often when you get to sit down with a mentor, tell them about your ideas, and they just say “YES!”. 

The future of ISEF in Wilsonville is bright with the students who made state and internationals who will soon compete, but this is just the tip of the iceberg as each year new generations of young scientists join and compete in ISEF.