I actually went this year (I'm a freshman) and I did scientific research at a lab, and I'm working on a project next year for ISEF, and again in a lab (but in a different professor.) Both my parents are NOT scientists or doctors or have connections.
First, decide a general interest, very general, such as physics, chemistry or biology. But don't close all other options after that. I found my topic (nanotechnology) through complete accident and through the slightest of chances.
Ask your teachers, definitely. They will definitely try to find someone. Unfortunately, my teacher contacted someone and no one was doing nanotechnology at that university.
So what did I do? I called professors at a different universities. I asked if I could meet with them, talk to them, explain to them my goals and interests, and see if they can help me. I ended up with a great mentor. It's all about initiative- if you aren't willing to call up to find a mentor, how are you going to do a project with him?
By the way, to do a project for ISEF at a lab you need form 1C, and there's a section where the professors have to write everything you did- so if you say to the judges you made a new solar cell, but on the form it says you only measured voltage, you will get in some trouble!
Anyways, once you have a mentor, he or she will DEFINITELY help you find what you want to work on.
Now, the scientific research/internship part. It looks great for college! Plus it may help you do more projects for upcoming years (trust me, you'll wanna return to ISEF!) After the science fair, e-mail different professors or ask your original one to conduct research with them.
Once you tell professors you've competed at ISEF and you have previous experience, they'll pretty much let you work in their lab. But it's your duty to call them or e-mail them!
Take it easy, and e-mail me if you have more questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
In coming sophomore research with two professors already
· 1 decade ago