South African students win Intel science awards

South African students Danielle Boer and Alessio Giuricich have been awarded top prizes at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) held in California on 13 May 2011.

The two accepted awards for their ingenious, impartial research on the subject of social challenges through science.

The ISEF is the world’s most well known global high school science competition, which offers a platform for grade nine to 12 students from all over the world to display their independent research. Awards are available in the form of bursaries, scholarships and prize money.

Boer, from St Dominic’s Academy in Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal, was given a unique nod in the sociology subcategory for her research concerning how to improve the overall productivity of factory workers through the use of music. She obtained a bursary worth R42 000 (US$6 063) to finance her tertiary education.

Giuricich from Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town received R7 000 ($1 010) in prize money for winning the special award within the behavioural sciences subcategory for a project that analyzed sugar dependence among adolescents. He additionally came second in the Intel Grand Awards, taking home an additional R10 500 ($1 516).



Supporting innovation


The competition is jointly funded by Intel and the Intel Foundation, along with further awards and support from corporate, academic, and government organisations.

“We champion the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for the reason that we recognize that math and science happen to be imperative for innovation,” said Shelly Esque, vice-president of Intel’s Corporate Affairs Group. “This global competition features youth attempting to remedy the world’s most pressing challenges by way of science.”

The two South African students defeated over 7-million of their peers who competed in local science fairs with the aspiration of reaching the ISEF. Only 1 500 youngsters coming from all over the world ended up being invited to the ISEF to share their ideas as well as present their cutting-edge research, in so doing standing a possibility to win awards and scholarships.

“This global competition features youth looking to solve the world’s most demanding challenges through science, and we are extremely proud of the South African learners who excelled in the international stage of the competition,” said Parthy Chetty, head of Intel SA.

Chetty credited persistence and gruelling hours of research on their projects as key to the students’ achievements.


ISEF selected their finalists from 443 affiliate fairs in 65 countries, regions, and territories, including, for the first time, France, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and China. The sheer numbers of finalists was whittled down by way of a challenging assessment process.

The research was assessed by hundreds of judges coming from a range of scientific disciplines, each individual with a PhD or the equivalent of six years of related professional experience in one of the scientific disciplines.

Along with their prizes, the Intel Foundation in addition awarded a R6 921 ($1 000) grant to each winner’s school and the Intel ISEF-affiliated fair they represent.

ISEF is owned and administered by the Society for Science and the Public, a non-profit organisation devoted to public engagement in scientific research and education.

“We congratulate the top winners for having the drive and curiosity to undertake these significant scientific questions,” said Elizabeth Marincola, president of Society for Science and the Public.

“Their work, and the work of all of the finalists at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, illustrates what students are able to achieve when they are inspired to pursue inquiry-based research.”



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