Clara Wagner, Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy

2017 FRSF Grand Prize Winner; 2017 State of Michigan Science & Engineering Fair Grand Prize Winner; 2017 ISEF Best in Category; Special Award-Air Force Research Lab; and many other honors

During a visit to the Smithsonian, I saw a woodpecker exhibit and wondered why scientists couldn’t do better in preventing concussions in collegiate and professional sports. I started investigating and experimenting as a Science Fair project. I failed many times, but eventually there was success (as Thomas Edison said, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”).

Since first thinking about that woodpecker’s head, I have been fortunate to win many awards, scholarships, trips to ISEF, prize money, and even travel to India to present my work! It sounds cheesy to say it, but all that was of secondary importance to proving to myself (and the adults that inspired me) that I could do it!

And there’s more. At every level of competition, meeting people has been one my main highlights — spending time with both the Flint group and getting to know many international students. The best part was getting to speak with international students about our scientific interests and how our cultures vary.

Each year these experiences further cemented my career goal and passion to become a researcher and inventor. Without the opportunities and support provided by The Flint Regional Science Fair, none of this would have been possible. The Fair awards thousands of dollars in prize money and scholarships to students each year. It can seem as though these awards are a long way off, but I am living proof that it’s not impossible!

So, consider entering! Along the way you will enjoy the competition and meet new interesting people who have asked questions about science like yourself. Don’t forget to ask questions, read papers, and keep an open mind to other ideas. Pick a project you find fun and interesting, and you can make the perspiration worthwhile.