Posted by Becky Sanders, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Mar 13, 2013 at 11:17 am
Hi there Chris Thank you for bringing us another great story. Very inspiring. Do you think Sahana and her mentors would like to come to the Media Center to do a 1/2 hour show about her work and maybe even show us some of her calculations. You could host! I'd produce. Fun stuff!
Posted by local mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 15, 2013 at 2:16 pm
It's easy to see why you think that, I assumed the same when I saw my first science fair -- but you really misunderstand the nature of these projects today. These days, students have the opportunity to work with and under the direction of adults with unique abilities and assets, at research centers or universities with resources they never had in the past, and not just in Silicon Valley. That is no longer discouraged, in fact, it's encouraged that students take advantage of opportunities around them to learn and do more challenging work. For the sake of a competition, they just have to describe the help they got, have official permission to use the resources at whatever company, university or research lab they use, and describe if their work is an extension of someone else's ongoing work or a unique stand-alone project. Judges interview the kids, they can tell if a kid really learned something or not.
This goes even for the younger students like in middle school. There's no point in restricting kids to a stale world of projects already done when they can do real work in the real world, using tools their parents couldn't even have dreamed of. Yes, that does mean kids whose dads have research projects at Stanford could piggyback on that work, but so often could other kids if they asked. Many of the teachers in the area know how to connect very motivated kids to such resources, too, as it sounds may have been the case here.
This young woman is obviously brilliant and highly motivated. Congratulations, Sahana!