Laalitya - Less than a month away!!!!!

Hello STEM Pursuers!

Its so amazing to think that the final event is so close now! It is just under a month and I am so excited to be meeting my mentor, Dr Ali, in person and to meet all of my fellow finalists! I know that this experience is going to be a great and truly life changing experience! I’m going to be able to meet other students and peers that are as passionate about changing the world and science as I am! Words can’t describe how ready I am to get my science on.

That being said, my prototype is coming together and I just need a few touches before I can pack it up and ship it to the innovation center! My entire summer plus a few months of work has all led me down to this path and this prototype. I can’t wait to share it with you all yet but on October 17, at 3 pm EST, all of the finalists’ innovations will be out into the open! I can’t wait to see what these other awesome innovation all of us have created.

As my innovation has been completed, I want to share with you my innovation plan. I used Research → Hypothesis→ Research → Testing of components for prototype → Selection of the most successful material → Building my prototype →Testing my prototype. Notice how this looks a bit different than some other scientific process? That’s because of my project being on the engineering side of scientific testing. I’m not just testing and then observing, I have to test some parts but then I also have to combine them into one device. That is why my engineering plan looks different!

While I’m talking about the scientific process, I also wanted to touch base really quick on trial and error. Errors and mistakes are a part of the scientific process, and if you don’t have any mistakes in your first trial/prototype then you aren’t digging deep enough to find an error! Everything can always be improved upon! The important thing is to see where you went wrong, fix it and then get your head back in the game! In my entry project of TraffEnerate, there were so many tweaks that I had to do over and over because that’s science. I won’t lie, it was frustrating sometimes, but you can’t get discouraged you have to keep on trying and trying, that is the true spirit of science! So for all of my fellow scientists and everybody out there, continue to pursue what you love, even and especially when it gets difficult.I know that you can do this, and the second that your experiment is successful, that moment is the best feeling in the world! Even though its a cliche, I do have to add Edison’s quote “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that will not work!”

On another note, how awesome was the solar eclipse? We went down to Western Kentucky for the totality and I was just--just in awe!!! In awe of nature and how there is something so perfect and beautiful. The entire world got silent, birds stopped chirping, crickets started their night song. It was like seeing a time lapse of the entire day but backwards and in real time. The afternoon soon faded away to dusk and night, and then back to dawn and the after. The eclipse was truly ethereal and I am so excited for the next one in 2024 (where totality is going to be an hour’s drive from where I live now!!)

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...coming back to my project... I'm so excited to meet my fellow finalists in October!

- Laalitya Acharya