Humanities Whiz Kids Screening Sheds Light on Young Scientists

By Ashli Duncan '11Opinions & Editorials Editor

As part of the Humanities Institute program “Engagement: Mind, Body, and Soul,” Whiz Kids, directed by Tom Shepard, was screened in Garrison Theater last Tuesday. The film follows three high school students as they prepare for The Intel Science Talent Search, a prestigious science competition that awards the top scientists a grand prize of $100,000. Each year, over two thousand students compete for prizes totaling more than $1.5 million. In the end, forty finalists travel to Washington D.C. to present their science projects and go through extensive interviews.

The students featured in the documentary come from a variety of backgrounds and communities. However, they are all driven by a passion for science research. The students undertook a number of impressive research projects, including paleotology, botany , and environmental contaminants.

The documentary emphasized that the students in the film are defined by the pursuit of science; little else is important to them. The documentary is impassioned in nature. For the students, science encompasses their identity, so when their theories are challenged they seem to lose themselves. One student scientist said, “I don’t want to do things other teens do because it just doesn’t look like fun.”

These students are doing research that many adults in the same field have yet to develop. This must-see film is an inspiring account of student acheivements in the field of science. These students are amazingly dedicated, and are living proof that hard work pays off, and sometimes in unconventional ways.