ISEF: the brain olympics


Melody Garcia Gonzalez

Poster in the ISEF room where students will meet with ISEF coordinators to discuss their projects.

ISEF is a science competition that encourages high school students to defy the boundaries of science. Each year, approximately 1,800 student finalists compete for an average of $4 million that is distributed among different prizes. The winner of this competition receives $75,000 for college.

Wilsonville High School has an ISEF program to encourage students to take a part of this amazing opportunity. Rodayna Abdelhalim, junior; Sam Duran, junior; and Chloe Kuhlmann, junior, all have or plan to participate in ISEF.

These three students will be participating in ISEF this year and each one of them has a unique reason for why they have chosen to create an ISEF project. Sam decided to participate in ISEF this year because he enjoys science and a friend came to him asking whether he would like to work on a project with her. Rodayna became interested in ISEF while she was talking AP Biology last school year, she says, “I got an idea and it was too crazy and time consuming that I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do it in any of my classes.” Chloe has been participating in ISEF since she was a freshman and considers it one of her extracurriculars.

Like with everything big and exciting, one always has expectations on how one thing will play out. Rodayna says, “My expectations for the competition this year is to see great projects and ideas that would inspire me for next year.”

On the other hand, Sam says, “I don’t really know what to expect I’ve never done it before, but from what I’ve been told it is a lot of work, but also really fun.” Since Chloe has had some really good experience with ISEF, she says, “This year, I’m hoping to go to state again and hopefully place somewhere for an award. Since I didn’t place for anything at state the last two years but now that I’m an upperclassmen, I have more experience and can do better.”

This competition unites people from all parts of the district, state, nation, and eventually, world! It’s a life changing-competition that teaches you a lot of lessons. Chloe says that this competition has benefited her by being able to obtain a lot of cool contacts and that, through interviews, she has become a better speaker. She says that she has learned about a lot of topics and has established good connections with the teachers.

Rodayna says, “I feel that the competition will help me develop my interest in science and help me get in contact with smart people that have the same interests as me. Also I think it will help me learn the process of developing an idea and keeping a journal for it.”

Sam says that he hopes that it will further help him develop time management skills and expose him to more fields of science.

ISEF is a great competition and Wilsonville High School students are lucky to have the opportunity to sign up to test their hand at a science project. So if you want a challenge and have fun, make sure to sign up!