With 1600 projects submitted to the Siemens Competition, a science, math and technology competition for high school students in the US, only 300 projects were selected to be semifinalists. Galileo senior, Selena Li, was one of the few chosen as a semifinalists for this prestigious contest.
Selena found out about this competition through a friend, ”Another high school student in my lab asked me if I wanted to join her research project so we could compete together as a team,“ she said. She agreed to join the competition because the idea of learning how to write a research paper sparked her interest in many ways.
The competition was a long process for Selena, especially since she was made it all the way to the semi-finals. Selena explained, “After you type up your 10+ page paper and submit it online, it gets sent to “initial judges” and they choose who advances to the next level….After this round, projects are organized by region and sent to specific universities. For California students, projects are sent to California Institute of Technology. Five individuals and five teams (regional finalists) are selected from each of the six regions and they have to virtually present a 12 minute oral presentation (poster & powerpoint) and 15 minute Q&A session with their regional judges.”
Selena had low expectations about her project when she submitted it, and couldn’t believe when she ended up as a semi-finalist, much less pass the first round. She said, “It was really surprising.”
Selena believes a few particular classes at Galileo peaked her interest in science. She said, “Everything pretty much started [with AP Chemistry] when I took Mats’ [Mr. Matsumoto’s] class, it was definitely challenging, but in a good way you know? I struggled, but I still learned and had fun in the class.”
Selena wants to give a shoutout to Mr. Matsumoto because he was the one who nominated Selena for the UCSF intern program. Selena stated,” That nomination allowed me to apply for an internship and then I got accepted. I was able to do research & have something to submit for this competition. So this pretty much all started when I joined AP Chem. Also, Mr. Ring & Ms. Nelson!I love how all these teachers are dedicated to helping their students through a ton of tutoring and retakes.”