Eleven bright young scientists from Costa Rica were honored with a ceremony yesterday for their participation and achievements at the 2012 International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), an event organized by Intel. The ISEF event took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania back in May, and it attracted 1,500 young scientists, engineers and inventors from all over the world. The Costa Rica Star reported on the progress that these bright young Ticos made as they prepared for the ISEF, and also when two of them received awards for their projects.
The ceremony took place at the auditorium of the Presidential Office in the Zapote district, just east of downtown San Jose. President Laura Chinchilla congratulated the young scientists along with Minister of Science and Technology Alejandro Cruz and Mike Forrest, General Manager of Intel in Costa Rica.
Two projects from Costa Rica garnered awards at the ISEF, and both inventions are designed with the goal of improving the lives of people who live with disabilities. Luis Gerardo Leon and Jose Miguel Gonzalez each took second place awards. For both Ticos, this was their second time competing at ISEF, and their persistence paid off.
In the case of Luis Gerardo Leon’s impressive project, the RIIS-ED: Prototype of Wheelchair for Quadriplegic People Controlled by Neural Impulses was the highest honor earned by a Latin American entry at the ISEF. The Braille printer project from Jose Miguel Gonzalez was recognized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office Society as a ready-for-production project.
President Laura Chinchilla has repeatedly emphasized the importance of fostering interest in science and technology among the young people of Costa Rica. During yesterday’s ceremony she stated:
“Thank you so much. You have not only reached an important personal goal but are also helping Costa Rica move ahead. Our country has the most transcendental resource that any nation that dreams of progress should have: the intellect of her people.
You have made your country and your families proud. You are reaffirming the course that Costa Rica must stick to in order to keep moving forward. I would like to underscore the kind and thoughtful spirit of your projects geared towards helping those who live with disabilities. That is a segment of our population that requires a lot of attention and needs solution to improve their quality of life, and that’s where you decided to invest your time, intellect and effort.”
Minister Cruz added the following:
“You are the seeds of our scientific talent incubator. We feel proud of your efforts that found success this time and elevated the name of our country.”
Costa Rica has been participating in the ISEF since 1998. More than 100 young Ticos have represented our country therein. The two projects that earned awards this year are among the highest received at ISEF by young scientists from Costa Rica.