Maharishi School senior Bimba Shrestha won the Forward Thinker Award this year at the International Science and Engineering Fair (INTEL), held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 10-15. A $1,500 cash prize (from award sponsor GoDaddy) was split with his project partner FHS student Doga Ozesmi.
The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), a program of Society for Science & the Public (SSP), is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. More than 1,700 high school students from over 70 countries, regions, and territories are awarded the opportunity to showcase their independent research and compete for more than $5 million in prizes.
Bimba and Doga’s project this year was titled “Tracking and Killing Insects Using Photonic Fences.” For their project, they designed and developed a photonic fence that locates and tracks insects. “We thought we’d done well,” Bimba said, “but not good enough to win. The Forward Thinker Award was a little bit of a surprise, but we aren’t complaining!”
Judging for the competition totaled about 10 hours. For the Grand Award, the judging criteria centered around the qualities of creativity, innovation, real-world applications, and teamwork, if applicable. Special awards, such as the Forward Thinker Award, had their own special criteria.
One special aspect of the fair for Bimba was that he was able to listen to talks by Nobel Prize winners and by motivational speakers. “Many of them spoke to the same message, the power of a service-oriented life. It made me more certain that the path I want to follow in my life is one that helps others and not just myself.”