Is it too late for me to participate in Siemens?

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Is it too late for me to participate in Siemens?

Postby rk7919 » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:13 pm

6/24/2014

Hello,

I am currently a junior (rising senior) and I really want to participate in this year's Siemens science fair. I don't have any significant experience participating in science fairs, but I do have some lab experience (I'm participating in a six-week internship at a biomedical research facility until mid-July). I know I want to do something in biology, but I have yet to narrow down a topic and find a mentor. I have looked up some professors at a nearby university and some of them have research I am interested in. I would greatly appreciate it if you could answer my questions

1. Is it too late for me to try to complete a project before the Siemens deadline, which is this September 30? I would unfortunately not be able to actually meet with my mentor and conduct experiments until July 20 since I am working, but I can definitely do background research, etc before that.

2. Approximately how long can it take to find a mentor who is willing to help a high school student?

3. When emailing or otherwise contacting my mentor, should I mention that I want to do research for the purpose of a science fair, so that they know that I am aiming to complete a project by a certain deadline? Or is that considered impolite?

4. I have read the article on Science Buddies on how to find a mentor, but I am still unclear on how exactly I should phrase my request. Should I say something like "I'm interested in your research, and I would like to work in your lab to learn more about this topic and have the opportunity to conduct research to submit to the Siemens science fair?" That sounds a bit awkward so I would appreciate it if someone could help me phrase my request :)

5. If it is too late for me to participate in Siemens, what other advanced science fair opportunities (such as Intel, etc.) do you think I would be able to participate in?

Thank you so much! I really appreciate it.

rk7919
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Re: Is it too late for me to participate in Siemens?

Postby Terik Daly » Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:30 am

Hi rk7919,

These are good questions. What kind of work are you doing in your internship? Given the timeline you have to work with, it may be very beneficial if there is something you are working on in your internship that you could port over to a science fair project. Have you talked to your advisor at the facility you are working in to ask if s/he would be willing to mentor you on your project?

If you can't meet the Siemens deadline (and it will be very tight to do so), there is the Intel Science Talent Search and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, both of which are also very prestigious. Their deadlines are later in the year (Nov 12th for STS; the ISEF dates will depend on which regional fair you compete in).

As far as how long it takes to find a mentor, it can be quite variable in my experience. It sounds like your best bet may be connecting with someone at the facility you are working in right now.

I think it's perfectly fine to mention that you are working on a science fair project. (It's what I did.)

With regards to your phrasing question, you may think it sounds a bit clunky, but I think it gets the point across. Be aware that your mentor may not know about the Siemens Competition.

Let me know if I can help with anything else!
All the best,
Terik
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Re: Is it too late for me to participate in Siemens?

Postby rk7919 » Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:25 am

The work I'm doing at my internship is kind of specific to to facility I'm at, since not a lot of places use the technology they have, so unfortunately, I don't think I would be able to use it for a science fair :/ Also, it's a bit far from where I live, so I'm only going to be staying there for the duration of my internship and I wouldn't be able to get there after the internship is over. Thank you for your advice though, it was really helpful!!
rk7919
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:06 pm
Occupation: Student: 12th grade
Project Question: Learn more about getting started with big science competitions
Project Due Date: September 30
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Is it too late for me to participate in Siemens?

Postby Terik Daly » Sat Jun 28, 2014 11:44 am

Hi rk7919,

Hmm . . . that does make things a bit more challenging. Have you thought about doing something with computational biology (or a similar field)? These kinds of research rely heavily on computers, instead of lab experiments, to learn new things about how biology works. If you did something like that, you could probably work from home or school and then work with a mentor over the internet, via email or Skype. Your search for a mentor wouldn't be as geographically limited in that case, either. If other areas of science interest you in addition to biology, there's a lot of research that can be done in planetary science, oceanography, and astronomy using data that's available online. It's still a perfectly valid science fair project--you ask a question and test a hypothesis, etc. The difference is that you use freely available datasets (which is what a large number of professional scientists do!).
All the best,
Terik
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Re: Is it too late for me to participate in Siemens?

Postby rk7919 » Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:43 pm

Thank you for your suggestion! I will definitely look into doing a computational project because I hopefully won't be as restricted in lab access/equipment/mentors/etc, and the deadline is fast approaching. If I am to do so, do you know if I should find a mentor who simply works in the field I am interested in, or if I should find a mentor who specifically works with the computational aspect of that field?

Thanks,
rki7919
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Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:06 pm
Occupation: Student: 12th grade
Project Question: Learn more about getting started with big science competitions
Project Due Date: September 30
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Is it too late for me to participate in Siemens?

Postby Terik Daly » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:07 am

Hi rk7919,

I think the most important thing it to find a mentor. Working on the computational aspects of the field would be a plus, but it's more important to at least have someone who knows the field.
All the best,
Terik
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