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  • Shiv Davay

Thermo Fisher Junior Innovators Challenge - #1 Opportunity for Middle Schoolers Invested in STEM

First of all, I’d like to start this blog off by saying that I cannot express enough that this opportunity is like a Christmas present given to those who at a young age are heavily invested in research and want to make a difference among those around them.

Unfortunately, I found this opportunity very late in my middle school career, which was in 8th grade, so I only had one chance to make my project count. Therefore, I’d like to create this blog as a piece of advice to those who choose to participate in the Thermo Fisher JIC along with providing tips on how to start a project.

Let me start by explaining what this competition is all about and why middle schoolers may enjoy being a part of this competition. This is a smaller-scaled version of the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), which is a global science fair hosted by the Society for Science and Regeneron for high schoolers. This competition starts off with individuals participating in their local fair, which they can find through this website: Society for Science

After locating a regional fair and registering for it, each individual has to think of a creative and innovative science fair project that has to compete with other students attending the same science fair. At the science fair, each participant will be evaluated based on a specific rubric designed by the science fair organizers, and usually, the top 5 get the opportunity to apply to the national level of the Thermo Fisher JIC. The applicants are in the top 10% of all regional fairs in the nation, so applying is a big honor too. From there, the applications are reviewed by a panel of judges that determine who the top 30 finalists are. Those finalists get the opportunity to present their projects in Washington D.C. during finals week and have the opportunity to meet new people with similar goals.

Moving onto my project, you can see that my project is called “Ferrofluid Solves Cancer”, because I was researching a new method, which could be an addition to current methods of solving basal cell carcinoma and cervical cancer.

More about my project can be found on another blog that I have written: DavayShiv Medium

Pictured: Shiv presents his Magnetic-Mediated Hyperthermia to judges at the regional science fair. His project placed 4th and he is an applicant to the 2023 Thermo Fisher JIC.

Credit: Shiv Davay

Finally, I will explain how to get started with an innovative and creative project and what tips could help with pitching projects to judges. My recommendation is that you pick a certain problem that you may have seen is prominent within certain fields like AI, medicine, physics, and engineering. Next, try to brainstorm innovative solutions and look up current projects that are being developed and take inspiration from those to create your own project that might resolve certain factors that may have not been taken into consideration. Try to imagine an experiment that you could do at home supervised by an adult and find materials to make it happen. Make sure to manage time wisely because creating a winning project takes time, dedication, and tons of effort. Therefore, I suggest creating a timeline with deadlines as to how much time you’d like to spend at each step of creating the project. After the project is complete, make sure to create an elaborate poster board that shows all the information you have collected along with tons of images that will show the judges the data that has been part of your research. During your pitch to the judges make sure to state statistics and facts about who your research may impact and how vital it is to support your findings and what you plan to do in the future after this project.

In conclusion, I’d like to state that participating in this science fair competition was one of my best memories of being in middle school and I would like for this opportunity to be spread throughout the United States so that more students have the opportunity to bring creative solutions to enormous problems that our society faces today.

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