V__892EIsabella , Avery Rose and Ryleigh flew to Phoenix, Arizona, recently to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2016 (May 8-13). The Intel ISEF is the largest pre-college science fair in the world. Isabella joined 1760 students from over 75 different countries and territories who were competing for $4 million dollars of grant money for research. She got to be among some of the world’s most promising young scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. Avery Rose and Ryleigh were chosen to be observers and guides.

Isabella won the all-expenses paid trip by taking top prize at the Lowcountry Science and Engineering Fair, held at the College of Charleston in April.

Isabella said the quality of projects was extremely high. “People were really smart, so it was kind of scary,” she said. “The guy across from me pretty much had success at curing OCD and he didn’t win a prize.”

 The much-coveted awards were announced at the end of the week. Han Jie (Austin) Wang, 18, received first place Gordon E. Moore Award and $75,000 for developing microbial fuel cells that more efficiently convert organic waste into electricity. Syamantak Payra, 15, of Friendswood, Texas was awarded one of two Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards of $50,000 for developing a low-cost electronically-aided knee brace. Kathy Liu, 17, of Salt Lake City, Utah, received the other $50,000 award for developing an alternative battery component that could improve battery performance and safety. In addition, more than 400 Inter ISEF competitors received scholarships and prizes.

For Isabella, Avery Rose, Ryleigh, and the other participants, the week wasn’t all serious. On the first evening, they all broke the ice through an organized pin exchange. “With almost 2000 nerds who don’t know each other, what else are you going to do?” Isabella laughed. Dr. Neubauer, Isabella, Ryleigh and Avery Rose also visited the Grand Canyon and drank cactus milkshakes. “I hope I get invited to Los Angeles next year,” said Isabella.