Brazil has 8 students awarded at a science fair in the United States

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Eight Brazilian students were awarded at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), considered one of the largest in the world of its kind.

The 2022 edition took place in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, from last Saturday (7) to this Friday (13). The event featured 1,410 projects from 1,750 finalists from 63 different countries.

In total, Brazil has 18 projects classified for the fair every year. This year, six of them won awards. Finalists competed for nearly $8 million in prizes such as scholarships, internships and field trips. The Brazilian delegation was composed of 26 students from different states.

In 20 years, young Brazilians have won 118 awards at the international fair. For the president of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, Helena Nader, the participation of Brazilian youth in the production of science is essential for the country’s scientific development.

“The participation of these young people in science is essential to guarantee the continuity of the scientific and technological development of the country, and to show them how much these activities contribute to the quality of life and to the intellectual and cultural advancement of our society”, says the biomedical professor at the Federal University of São Paulo.

A resident of Valinhos and a student at Colégio Técnico de Campinas, in São Paulo, Ligia Carvalho won three awards for her project. The teenager created software that transcribes, summarizes and captures images to transform video lessons into PDF files.

The student was invited to spend three weeks in Italy developing an artificial intelligence and also won US$ 5 thousand from an international philanthropic institution. According to the student, “we need more girls in this area because there is a lack of representation”.

Another award-winning project in this year’s edition is by Vinícius Moraes, 19, from Rio de Janeiro, in the “Energy: Sustainable Materials and Design” category. The young man, a resident of Campo Grande, in the West Zone of Rio, qualified for ISEF by the International Science and Technology Exhibition (Mostratec) last year, when he was in the 3rd year of high school at Matriz Educação college. The project developed by the student was one of 9 selected among 420 competitors.

“This award is not mine. It’s from Brazil. I am very happy with this achievement. The road is very arduous to get here. I am very grateful to be working on the front lines and it makes me very proud to see that, here at ISEF, young people are developing ideas that will certainly make a difference in our future”, said Vinícius after receiving the award.

Student creation is a sustainable alternative to reduce the use of disposable batteries: the “Seebeck-watch”. The student developed a system with thermoelectric thin films that takes advantage of the temperature difference between the human pulse and the external environment, generating electrical energy to power the watch.

According to the general coordinator of FEBRACE, Roseli Lopes, the engagement of young people is very important so that, from an early age, they exercise curiosity, the ability to observe, formulate hypotheses and also go out into the field.

“This early participation is essential for them to start research work and develop a different relationship with science, even in a school that has little infrastructure. And we see that they are enchanted and when they are enchanted, they become transforming people, who go in search of knowledge, and put it into practice to solve the problems we have”, says the researcher of technologies applied to education.

Another winner was João Pedro Armani, in the Animal Sciences category, with the project “Application of agro-industrial residues in the fight against the mosquito vector of arboviruses (Aedes aegypti)”. The student had already been awarded at the same fair in 2019.

“I was here the other time, for Febrace, and now for Mostratec. And I didn’t expect to win this award. It’s a great emotion, I think everyone should experience it”, said the student after the award.

The director of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), José Garcia Abreu, says that the freedom of younger students gives them an even greater ability to create.

“Unlike master’s and doctoral students, who have a fixed deadline and schedule for project delivery, scientific initiation students have a lot of freedom, which gives great results when combined with their blossoming creativity. They have an impressive creative ability to think up theories, design experiments, it’s fascinating. And it really helps to have young researchers in research groups”, says the researcher.

Road to international fairs is long

The projects were selected for ISEF through awards at two other fairs: nine of them via the International Science and Technology Exhibition (Mostratec), the largest science fair in Latin America, and another nine by the Brazilian Science and Engineering Fair (Febrace).

Held since 2003, Febrace has already taken 168 projects to the ISEF international fair. Students classified by the fair have won 70 awards at the international event until this year’s edition.

As for Mostratec, started in 2001, students had 46 projects awarded at the international fair, including the 2022 awards.

Beatriz Gama, another 17-year-old student from Rio de Janeiro, came in 3rd place in Human Sciences at FEBRACE, but did not enter the classified group for ISEF. Seeking to complete the project and get new awards, the student has been getting scholarships and incentives to take her project forward and be able to help other students in their learning process.

The “serious game” created by the teenager aims to help students to learn interactively the subjects provided for in the National Common Curricular Base (BNCC). According to her, the objective of the game is to raise the level of learning and reduce the inequality between rich and poor students in the country.

Beatriz explains that the virtual game, which can be accessed by tablet or cell phone, offers a narrative with activities that teach content in an interdisciplinary way.

“The game works with the student entering several different universes and stories as the main character. As he completes the adventures, he will level up and learn the skills listed in the National Common Curriculum Base. An example of history is the experience in Egypt, where the student learns not only mathematics, but also geography, history and the arts”, says the student.

According to the young woman, the purpose of the game is to encourage students to learn in a different way and also to help those who had learning loss during the pandemic.

“I think the game will help underprivileged students a lot, mainly because of the pandemic, and mainly because it is motivating and engaging, that is, you don’t learn just to learn, you learn because you feel motivated to be in that environment, to discover new things and especially to use what you learn at school in a practical and natural way”, says the student.

*under supervision of Helena Vieira

Source: CNN Brasil

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