After months of work on his project and days of busy engagement at ISEF, Sohail reports on the results of the judging:
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Special Awards and Grand Awards Ceremonies! [posted May 18th by S.A.]
So Intel ISEF 2013 has come to an end. What a ride it has been. It was probably one of the best weeks of my entire life!
There were two awards ceremonies: The Intel ISEF Special Awards and The Intel ISEF Grand Awards. Each ceremony had everyone on their toes. The Special Awards winners were chosen by appointed judges from the respective companies awarding the prizes. Awards ranged from Google and NASA to King Abdul Aziz ‘s Special Award. The ceremony ran very smoothly and although I did not win any Special Awards it was a lot of fun! The experience was unreal. I tried to get as much sleep as possible that night because the very next morning (today morning) was the Grand Awards Ceremony…
I woke up very early. Around 6 – 6 15 AM. Today was the big day, the day all the winners are announced. I was in line around 7 30, an hour before the doors opened, hoping to get a good seat and luckily I did. I was nervous the whole morning and shivered a bit at times even in the Arizona heat. When the doors finally opened I rushed to the middle of the hall and got seats near the front. My new friends joined me a little while later. For some reason when the ceremony began all my nervousness had vanished and I had come to a realisation that just being at Intel ISEF was a tremendous honor regardless of if I win a prize or not.
The atmosphere in the hall was very energetic and lively. The awards were presented in ascending order from 4th place in each category first, followed by 3rd place and so on. Each time a winner from my category was announced I moved closer to the edge of my seat. When the winners of the 4th place award in my category were all announced I began to feel nervous again. Had I won a better prize? Had I won a prize at all?
Following the 4th place award winners began the announcement of the 3rd place award winners for each category. When the names of the winners from my category were being announced I got a bit distracted by taking photos and then suddenly I heard “From Auckland, New Zealand…”. My eyes popped open. “From Auckland, New Zealand – Sohail Arif Abdulla”. My heart started racing and I quickly walked up the stage and joined the other 3rd place winners.
I felt so proud being honoured for my work at Intel ISEF and up on stage I realised how great a journey my Robotic Glass Cleaner has been through. From Brightsparks to Realise the Dream and now to Intel ISEF… wow. Usually I would have been nervous standing on a stage in front of almost 5000 – 6000 people but I was too overwhelmed with joy. I made it all the way to Phoenix, Arizona and won 3rd place in my category!!!
After leaving the stage we were directed outside the hall to receive our medals. I was handed a white medal with an elegant ribbon on which it reads “3rd Place Winner – Intel ISEF 2013″. I still cant stop smiling.
This once in a lifetime trip has been nothing but outstanding. I will cherish these moments for the rest of my life and I hope to share my experiences with the next Intel ISEF Finalist from New Zealand!
Thank you for following my blog.
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I am delighted that Sohail had such a great time in Arizona and came away from Intel ISEF with new friends, a prize, and even more enthusiasm about science and engineering. I look forward to this year’s Realise the Dream program and selecting another talented Kiwi secondary school student to travel to the United States to participate in Intel ISEF 2014.