After a great summer of work and a last minute rush to get the documentation written up and onto the wiki, the last part of the iGEM experience was the trip to Boston for the students to present the project to both the Judges and the other competitors.
After all the fun of a transatlantic flight and passing American security we managed to get to the booked AirBnB which was in a neighborhood about as American as one could expect. The evening and next day was committed to preparing and practicing the presentation which was being given by David, Andrew, and Asal, with Chris taking point on finishing up the poster.
Come Friday, and Cardiff was up to present straight after lunch and by that point the talk ran like a well-oiled machine. Donning our team T-shirts, we were cheering on from the sidelines. They did a great job and represented the project flawlessly (see more about the project here!), but we’d need to wait until Monday for the judges to give their verdict (spoiler: It’s in the blog title). In true Woodhousian fashion, the Hamburg team following us gave a stellar performance of a quite similar project, but we were happy with our job.
Over the next 2 and a half days there was ample opportunity to watch 1/8th of the sessions going on (hugely parallel!), or visit the huge poster hall and talk with the incredibly enthusiastic students (seriously, I’ve never been to a conference or scientific event of any kind where people were so upbeat!). The range, scope and detail of projects was incredible, especially given the short working schedule, and the integrated STEM and Design work lead to some amazingly complete products.
Once Monday came around, we were delighted to be awarded a Silver Award for the project which was well deserved by the work of the students. The winning teams of the major awards were incredible and you can check out more of their work at the official igem 2016 website.
With a day and a half left before the flight back there was time to see a bit of Boston and I picked up a bike for a cycling tour of MIT, Harvard, and the Downtown area. After visiting a slightly awkward reenactment of the Boston Tea Party (for an Englishman!) and the best lobster dinner of my life, off to the plane for the long flight back.
Incredible science, incredible cause, incredible venue. Roll on iGEM 2017