ISSF 2018 Student Committee Co-President, and IMSA Senior, Sonya Gupta shares her thoughts on what ISSF coming to IMSA means to her ~ “ISSF is a place to build long-term friendships and open my eyes to how large the world truly is.”
Hi! My name is Sonya Gupta and I am a current senior at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA).
My story with the International Student Science Fair (ISSF) started last year in the spring of 2017. When I was accepted to present at the International Student Science Fair in Busan, South Korea at the Korea Science Academy, I was honored to represent the United States and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) at such a prestigious competition. I still remember the excitement as I packed my bags and joined my fellow participants as we prepared to take part in an amazing transformative experience. I never truly grasped how unique and transformative this experience would be until I arrived.
As soon as I set foot on campus, I realized that this was more than just a competition; it was a place to build long-term friendships and open my eyes to how large the world truly is. Everyone came from different corners of the globe, from countries ranging from A to Z. Not a single person there had the same story or the same views. Some could barely speak English. Others could speak English a mile a minute.
However, none of this matter. There was a strong sense of comradery that emerged from this diversity. We were here to learn and explore together. Not only did we get to present our research, but we also got to hear what projects our peers were pursuing. While still working towards our goal of learning, we got to explore Busan and get to know more about each other. Through this experience, I gained a new worldview about the different conditions and cultures that exist.
From this experience, I realized that ISSF was not just about bringing students together for a science competition, but having a culmination of brilliant minds work together to solve the world’s problems. Leaving Busan, I was inspired to do more, to find a way to solve the pressing issues our society faces.
When I learned that IMSA was to host the upcoming ISSF, I was ecstatic. I knew I had to get involved and help make this upcoming ISSF the best it could be. I want to show the world how amazing and unique IMSA is, especially in how it challenges its students to think outside of the box and shape the future. But most importantly, I want to show the world what IMSA can do, what IMSA students can do.
Now, as the Student Committee Co-President for the upcoming ISSF2018, I plan to provide every one of the international participants with an opportunity to experience the beauty of science. Through ISSF, I aim to not only be able to introduce my peers to the community of researchers but also encourage international collaboration for coming generations. I yearn to inspire them the way that ISSF inspired me. I hope that this ISSF will ignite the flame to advance the human condition through the UN Sustainable Development Goals and provide the tools for my generation to better the world. I want to provide the participants the experience that I had with ISSF.
I have seen the multiple sides of ISSF, starting as a presenter and now helping to create the upcoming ISSF competition, and I am confident that IMSA will make history with an amazing competition this year. I cannot wait to see what an awe-inspiring experience Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy’s International Student Science Fair in 2018 will be.