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Oh The Places They Will Go

Left-Right: Alexander Coffman, Cameron Sharma, and Tatiana Vaniakin Photos: Lynette Giddings

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
― Dr. Seuss, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

Curiosity, determination, humanity, humility and passion. These are all words that describe the 2018 Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, Engineering for Rising STARS) Semifinalists. Broadcom MASTERS is a national competition in which middle school students compete against scholars from all over the nation to earn the opportunity to share their STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) passions with the world and to be amongst like minded peers. This competition is about more than just the science; judges inquire to learn more about their drive, their love for research and their reason for diving into STEM. Almost 3000 students earn the opportunity to apply for Broadcom yearly, of those students 300 semifinalists are chosen and then 30 finalists.

“Things may happen and often do to people as brainy and footsy as you”
― Dr. Seuss, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

The MathScience Innovation Center provides STEM opportunities for students in central Virginia, opening their minds to the potential that math, science, technology, and engineering can have on their educational and career aspirations. For the past 27 years, the MathScience Innovation Center has hosted the MRSF, which gives students the opportunity to collaborate, network, and learn how STEM studies and careers can impact and change the world. The fair showcases and acknowledges the amazing work students (grades 7 through 12) have engaged in throughout the school year. The MRSF is a portal to the Broadcom MASTERS Fair.

It is the only platform in our region that gives its students the opportunity to participate in the Broadcom MASTERS competition. Hundreds of our region’s scholars investigate questions that resonate with them due to anything from a loved one’s illness to a social ill in the communities in which they reside. These young scientists excitedly compete on the regional level in the hopes of sharing the truths that they have discovered over the past year, to grow in their research skills and to be awarded what I call the “Golden Ticket”; the Broadcom MASTERS certificate and application packet.

This year the MSiC is proud to announce its three Broadcom MASTERS Semifinalists! Alexander Coffman, Cameron Sharma, and Tatiana Vaniakin were all 8th graders at George Moody Middle School in Henrico County Public Schools last year. These students were ecstatic to learn of their semifinalists status. I was able to sit down and talk with them this year at their respective schools. Alexander and Cameron now attend Godwin High School and Tatiana attends John R. Tucker High School. It was amazing to hear about their STEM journeys and how each came to pursue his research question. Each of the students has a true understanding of the magnitude of their semifinalist status and were humbled by the experience. Our semifinalists were not amongst the 30 students chosen to travel to Washington DC this year for the ultimate week long STEM “Nerd Experience,” however, they now better understand the scientific process as well as how to communicate it and are looking forward to competing in the senior division of the MRSF to see where it will take them. High Sshool students who earn the top awards have the opportunity to attend the Intel ISEF (International Science Engineering Fair) and/or the Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair (VSSEF).

“Out there things can happen, and frequently do,
To people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don't worry, don't stew.
Just go right along, you'll start happening too!”

“You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.”

― Dr. Seuss, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

We at the MathScience Innovation Center count ourselves fortunate to be able to offer a platform of growth in which we are allowed to watch our future STEM professionals blossom. We are excited to see all of the places that you will go…

Article by: Vonita Lynette Giddings, Metro Richmond STEM Fair Director, MathScience Innovation Center Educator