Innovative students present at Buckeye Science Fair


Harsimran Makkad

EXCELLENCE. Students from across the state are chosen as qualifiers and alternates for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). The ISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition with participants from over 75 countries, regions, and territories.

  Numerous budding scientists used their creativity to design experiments for the high school Science Fair in late January. The students that received superior ratings moved to the District Science Fair. From there, four students from SHS were chosen to attend the Buckeye Science Fair, which took place on April 7.

  The Buckeye Science Fair itself contains two rounds of competition but also selects students to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the highest level of competition, which will be held in Pittsburgh from May 12 to 18 this year.

  Senior Harsimran Makkad competed with her project “Modeling Transcription Factors for Use in the Direct Reprogramming of Cells,” sophomores Rohan Mathur and Andrew Ripberger presented their project “Optimizing Trustless Algorithms,” and freshman Arvind Prasad spoke about his “Novel Design to Determine Sun Protection for Natural Products.”

  Around 80 projects were evaluated in the first round, and from there, 11 projects were chosen to move on to the second round.

  The first round involved students participating in the standard style, presenting their projects to the judges. In the second round, students presented panel style with shortened speeches given to judges behind closed doors.

   Prasad and Makkad qualified for the second round, and additionally, Makkad was named ISEF first alternate.

   This year is Ripberger’s first time competing in Science Fair alongside his partner Mathur.  

  “The Science Fair is way more competitive than I would have ever thought. The research presented at the state level is incredible. Many projects that you’d see would almost be indistinguishable from the research in any professional journal.

  “There are many quirks involved with competing at Science Fair on any level and some aspects that you cannot control, but I would still highly recommend that anyone who even thinks it might be interesting compete. It really is a great experience at any level,” Ripberger said.

 On the other hand, Makkad has been participating in science fairs since seventh grade. She originally entered to improve her presentation skills, and although her first year did not produce satisfactory results, she decided to continue.

 Now as the first alternate for the ISEF, Makkad can reflect on all the things she has learned from her past experiences.

  “I have learned a lot about how to set up experiments as well as how to write scientific reports and create boards to display my process and findings.

  “But most of all, Science Fair has made me more confident in myself. I never thought I would be able to meet people I did not know and talk at length about anything, and now I can present my findings, hold conversations, and answer questions from people I have never met before,” Makkad said.

  SHS’ students showcased their inventive abilities throughout the various rounds of Science Fair and are sure to have good showings in the years to come.