My Experience at the USA Science & Engineering Festival

by Heather Thorstensen | Apr 28, 2016

This is a guest post written by Sigma Xi member Thorsen Wehr, a freshman at the University of Washington. Sigma Xi sent Thorsen to the USA Science & Engineering Festival thanks to support from DIRECTV.

ThorsenWehr_AtPodiumRecently I had the honor of representing Sigma Xi as a student researcher at the USA Science & Engineering Festival's X-STEM event in Washington, D.C.! The event is aimed towards educating K–12 students in current science endeavors as well as promote interest in STEM. It was absolutely amazing, full of great speakers from astronauts to startup company representatives.

(A full speaker line-up is online.)

My presentation to these students was to inform them on how to get into science research, including where to start and how to create a successful research experiment. My goal for this event was to inspire students that might have been on the fence about research to commit and try it out! The presentation went very well, with a crowd of students lined up to ask additional questions after the time ran out. I am still taking email questions from students and trying to help them all figure out where to take their interest in STEM. I even got to sign the trading cards they made of me like some sort of celebrity! 

TradingCards1I was sure to mention the Chronicle of The New Researcher, Sigma Xi's online journal for high school research, which has been very beneficial for me, and am excited to see a flood of new, exciting research be submitted next year. I was excited when given this opportunity because after the success I have had with student research, I want every student to be aware of the plethora of support and recognition that is waiting for them. It is my honor to take my experiences through research and use them as an example for the future of student research. If my presentation convinced even just one student to take their passion for STEM and apply it towards research, I am glad that I went. 

Through this presentation, I have learned just how engaged these students really are about science. I was expecting to see a room full of students brought in by their schools, unwillingly sitting through lecture after lecture. What I found was a room full of attentive students sitting on the edges of their seats, some even taking notes. I am very glad to see that there is such a large group of interested students for the future, and am glad I could be the one to help them on their road to success. The footage of my talk should be up soon on the USA Science & Engineering Festival site!


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