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Every year, students from our science and social science research classes participate in the prestigious Science Talent Search (STS) competition to take a chance at winning over $100,000 for advancing a scientific field on a global platform. Intel, the primary sponsor of the contest, recently made one of its last selections of the semifinalists, aa the company is choosing to end its twenty year partnership with the Society for Science & the Public. Although this is disappointing news, the Science Talent Search has begun a campaign to fin the best partner for future competitions.
The STS competition is a research based competition for high school seniors in which participating seniors are asked to write a research paper up to 20 pages long on any scientific field that they wish to study. Students have conducted research in fields such as biology, social science, and chemistry. A long with the report, the application also includes essay supplements, teacher recommendations, and student transcripts.
Regarding her experience, senior Ariane Marchese reflected, “All in all, it felt almost like filling out a college applications, especially since they asked for my SAT scores and extracurricular activities.” She is currently enrolled in the senior science research class. For the STS competition, she completed her research over the summer on solar activity and solar wind.
Although no one from our school was selected as a semifinalist, participants are still proud of their own research. Social science research student senior Delphine Zhang added, “There was significant work done on many social issues that resulted in amazing findings. Thus while there were no semifinalists for intel, the most important takeaway was the lengths we took to challenge ourselves by entering this competition. And that, in my opinion, is more meaningful than any award.”
Despite Intel’s annual business revenue of approximately $55.4 billion and annual donations of$6 million, which are merely 0.01% of their total net worth, to support the contest, the reasons for terminating its funding for one of the biggest nonprofit STEM organizations remain shrouded in mystery. However, Intel spokesperson Gail Dundas shed light on the topic by reporting that Intel would not completely end sponsorship until 2017, and further commented, “We’ve greatly increased the prize money. It’s been a great opportunity for Intel and a great partnership, and now someone else can get that opportunity… Overall, we are proud of its legacy.”
The Society for Science and the Public requires that their new sponsors begin their commitment by donating $6 million dollars a year for a minimum of five years. Additionally, sponsors are also required to compose proposals consisting of a description of a patron, an explanation of why the contender is an outstanding choice to support the STS competition, and monetary information detailing the donation plan.
In regards to the Science Research elective, Mr. Porzio affirms that, ” this will not affect [the] program in any way, as Intel is only one of the many competitions that research students compete in. Besides Intel, [students] compete in Siemens, NYCSEF, JSHS, Davidson Fellows and the Google Science Fair, to name a few.”