“Think Beyond”. That was the motto of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair of 2018 (May 12-18), of which I was blessed to be able to attend. In the beautiful city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the experiences, memories, insights, and inspiration that I wrought from ISEF will forever be cherished in my memory. Sitting around 1800 other top high school researchers from 81 different countries at one of the most prestigious science fairs brought me to tears realizing that I am one of those 1800. I presented my research on Using Deep Learning to Identify Critical Documents for Clinical Decision Support Systems. Simply put, I attempted to use AI to help Doctors make better decisions. But ISEF told me to take it further. It is not enough to merely present research; why not make it happen? Why not make it into a company, why not make it into something everyone can use? Think beyond research and make it truly happen.
It is truly inspiring to see the various amounts of ideas from all around the world in all various disciplines and categories. The intellectual capability of mere high school students who are willing to do research is astounding and inspiring. These high school students with their projects ranging from finding cures to viruses, creating automated systems, to reducing heavy metal concentrations in water represent the future of the next generation.
Not only was the intellectual on display during the fair, but compassion and kindness too. On the first day, there was a pin exchange with all of the ISEF competitors. Getting to meet all the competitors from all around the world, some from Sweden, some from Australia, some from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia truly made me feel like I was part of something, something bigger than myself. That this group of people, this group of 1800, not only were we competitors, but we were also friends, fellow innovators, fellow dreamers. As much as we wanted to win, we wanted each other to succeed, we all wanted to make our mark in the world.
But the beauty of it all is that we all could and we all can, everyone can. All it takes is an idea, grit, and determination. Take that one idea that you have, that one dream or aspiration, write it down, put it in bold. And begin to dream, begin to plan, begin working on it! All it takes is a human and a dream.
“It’s not about the resources you have, but about how resourceful you are” – Tony Robbins
Despite not winning any special awards or recognition, ISEF enabled me to realize that anything is possible if you truly believe in yourself and your idea. It can be done. Think big, try something new, experiment, start with a problem and accomplish it. Don’t let your goals be small, shoot for the stars. Don’t let your inability and your circumstance stop you from achieving what you always wanted to achieve. Choose to Think Beyond.