Interview: How to Become a International Science Fair Finalist

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We interviewed Ishan Puri, the former CEO of Empowerly & Stanford graduate, placed 1st in California Science Fair and went on to compete in London. 

1. “Could you describe your preparation process?”

Ishan: I tried science fair since 3rd grade. I experimented across domains and disciplines to find areas that I excelled in and also enjoyed. I started with a question that I found personally exciting. Then I did research online to find out more about the cutting edge of that problem and potential solutions. I reached out to experts to learn more and asked them how I could help them. Once I conducted experiments, I worked on analyzing the results and drawing conclusions that made sense. Then I practiced the presentation several times before the actual fair.

2. “How old were you when you won? What previous experience did you have?”

Ishan: I was in 11th grade. I had been competing since 3rd grad without winning once. I finally got to the state and national level after several years of trying.

3. “How did you create such successful project?”

Ishan: It was a multi-year research project at UCLA with Professor Ed Stabler. We worked over time and I applied our research to a field I was passionate about within linguistics – creativity and mathematics.

4. “Where did you get your resources? How did you research?”

Ishan: I emailed many professors to convince them I was worth their time. I was lucky to get a few responses and chased those intensely.


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