Sarah Walker represents school district at Intel fair

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Sarah Walker

Gresham High School junior Sarah Walker recently had the opportunity to meet Sir Harold Kroto, a co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and three Nobel Laureates.

“It was surreal to be around such distinguished scientists,” she said.

Walker represented the Gresham-Barlow School District at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair May 12-17 in Phoenix, Ariz. During the fair’s special awards ceremony, she received a scholarship of $5,000 to the Oregon Institute of Technology.

“I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go,” said Walker, who plans to study computer engineering. “It was an honor to be chosen as an ISEF finalist. I love STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) because of the way it brings science and scientists together to create a better world.”

Walker is a student leader on the Gresham High School FIRST Robotics Team, the Go4Bots, and held an internship in Portland State University’s Electrical and Computer Engineering department through the Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering (ASE) program.

She estimates spending more than 100 hours since September 2012 creating her project, which is focused on using artificial neural networks, very basic models of the human brain’s mechanisms, for information processing.

This is the third year Gresham High has hosted the Oregon at-large fair for the Northwest Science Expo System. This year’s event featured more than 80 student projects, with more than 130 student participants from 11 public and six private schools.

“Ask questions and enjoy the journey of scientific discovery,” Walker advises students interested in STEM. “I think that I am lucky to have found an interest in such an exciting and rapidly growing field. Females are underrepresented now, but I hope and believe that there will be a shift toward more diversity in the STEM demographics of the future.”

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