I just returned from a two days trip from Washington DC. I went there to display my science project at EPA's 2013 National Sustainable Design Expo, known as the P3, which stands for People, Prosperity, and the Planet.
Last year 2012 in Intel Science fair, I was awarded special EPA’s Patrick H. Hurd Sustainability award for demonstrating a commitment to environmental sustainability and stewardship. My project was a Home-Based Arsenic Bio-Sand Water Filter, uses nano particles made with kitchen materials easily found in Southeast Asia to enhance a bio-sand water filter, so that it removes arsenic from water.
The EPA Patrick H. Hurd award granted me funding and my father to participate in and display my project at EPA's National Sustainable Design. It is held each spring on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The National Sustainable Design Expo brings together the P3 students, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and businesses that are working to create a sustainable future.
Preparing to attend:
Right after the end of last year’s 2012 Intel science fair, EPA published a news article about me and my project into their media outlets, web sites, tweeters and blogs. One of their Social media managers contacted me and informed me about some detail on 2013 expo even though it was nearly a year away at the time . But in the last three months, they started to engage more closely with me. Due to government sequester, the EPA was forced to reduce the length of the expo from 4 days to 2 days. The EPA was still able to keep the full commitment on having me & my dad to attend the expo with free of expense however, which I greatly appreciated!
Almost three weeks before the Expo, I was contacted by EPA’s program Assistant to give some of our info for them to arrange flight ticket and hotel booking. They also sent me a prepaid label to send in my project materials to the Expo. Unlike Intel, EPA’s expo allows project materials to be exposed and touched by visitors, and thus was far more friendly for public display.
EPA's Special Project Poster:
EPA’s Social Media manager sent me poster template which was 45 in wide and 18 in tall. I initially had a hard time to fit my 39 slides in it. Initially I sent that to EPA with all of my slides, but after few days they suggested me to reduce my number of slides to fit to their format. Instead of doing that, I spent three hours to put my content directly in to the poster. I created 4 columns in that and started adding top materials (Abstract, Literature review, Reason, Procedure, Results and Conclusion) and sent to EPA. They later confirmed me that it was just right!
Overall, the expo, which is free and open to the public, is a unique opportunity to discover innovative, cutting-edge environmental technologies developed by university students and their faculty advisors, learn what nonprofit organizations and government agencies are doing to advance sustainability, experience sustainable products that are currently available, and recruit talented hires with diverse educational backgrounds. I was able to meet with many of these influential people. Definitely the highlight of the day was when I got to personally meet the EPA administrator, Bob Perciasepe, who came to my project first amongst all others with the co-administrator, and spent at least 15 minutes talking with me about my project. I definitely had an enriching experience at the EPA P3, and I loved Washington D.C, with all its amazing museums, historical landmarks, and fancy government buildings.