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Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

Shelly Esque, VP, director corporate affairs group, Intel Corp.

I recently travelled to Seoul, Korea, where I was honored to share my thoughts with the dedicated and inspired educators and policy makers at the Asia Science Educator Academy 2011 (ASEA) .

At Intel we believe young people are the key to solving global challenges. A solid math and science foundation coupled with skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and digital literacy, are crucial for their success in the 21st Century. Today, many of my colleagues are directly involved in providing education programs, advocacy and technology access to inspire tomorrow’s innovators and create a highly-skilled workforce capable of driving a country’s future economic growth.

Intel has been investing in the development of our global STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program for years, contributing USD $1 billion each decade. ASEA is a prime example of Intel’s STEM program at work in the Asia Pacific region, bringing together national education policy makers, education specialists, curriculum planners and science professionals from 15 countries to develop action plans to support education. The event provided the perfect opportunity to launch the Intel Future Scientist Program , a two-day interactive workshop designed to help teachers understand how to create inquiry based lesson plans in science and to encourage innovation and creativity in their students by helping them to think like a scientist.

This complements other local efforts at play that facilitate student participation in research driven science fairs. Across Asia Pacific Intel enjoys strong partnerships with many local science fairs, including KISEF in Korea, the Department of Education’s National Level Science Fair in the Philippines, and the Taiwan International Science Fair. Organized by the National Taiwan Education Centre, the Taiwan fair celebrated a decade-long partnership with Intel this year.

India has already selected its representatives for ISEF 2012 at IRIS (Initiative for Research and Innovation in Science) 2011. IRIS promotes inventions and innovation among students and youth in India, encourages originality of thought among young innovators to enrich the quality of future human resource and build a pipeline of world-class talent.

I anticipate the unveiling of many more innovative solutions by the budding scientists of Asia Pacific at next year’s Intel ISEF fair in Pittsburgh. The annual science fair sees more than 1500 young scientists come together to share ideas, showcase cutting-edge science and compete for up to USD $4 million in prizes. The competition itself is exciting for the young people who enter – challenging them to make friends around the world and interact with their future scientific peers.

Intel’s work in fostering scientific talent around the region is evident in the increase in the number and quality of entrants from across Asia Pacific at Intel ISEF 2011. The performance of the 95 regional representatives was truly outstanding, marking one of the strongest showings the Asia Pacific has ever had at the event. Forty-two of the region’s finalists picked up grand prizes and two of the three top prizes went to students from the Asia Pacific region. Three students from Thailand won second place overall, winning the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award with USD $50,000 in prize money for their research into using gelatin found in fish scales to create biodegradable plastic. And two budding scientists from South Korea came third, winning the Dudley R. Herschbach SIYSS Award for developing a technique to improve the efficiency of water harvesting.

I am pleased to see so many exciting things happening in the Asia Pacific region, and so many students excited about science. I am looking forward to seeing their next success as we work together to encourage literacy in science and math and I anticipate hearing more success stories from Asia Pacific throughout 2012.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math