Students Present at Texas Science and Engineering Fair

Students Present at Texas Science and Engineering Fair

After months of planning and hundreds of hours of research, students were finally able to showcase new inventions and ideas at the Texas Science and Engineering Fair, hoping to better the world around them and attract investors for their projects. Whether students were participating in teams or working alone, they incorporated real life problems, such as endangered species and water wastage, to create a new product that would wow the judges and bring a new perspective to an existing problem.

Seven Westwood students placed in state. Aarya Agarwal’ 21, Anuja Uppuluri ’21, and Prabhav Vanguri ‘20 placed second in their categories, studying the effects of water measurement, oil clean up procedures, and intelligence machines, respectively. Arjun Jain ‘18 also received fourth place for his study of microbiology. Aditi Merchant ’19, Yutika Raina ‘19 and Sree Maram ‘19 placed as well with their study of monarch butterflies and their declining habitats.

“Our project is basically determining the genetic diversity on milkweed plants because the monarch population is declining due to the loss of milkweed plants,” Maram said. “Everyone was super nice and caring, and the environment made [science fair] seem super amazing.”

Unlike other competitions, it’s possible to continue a project over multiple years if students are passionate about it. Agarwal and Uppuluri are both continuing projects that they created in middle school, but are arming it with more research. Since they are both freshmen, their goals for the years to come are more optimistic, due to their clear passion for their projects. Both students want to bring their projects to a large audience, and they want to, hopefully, commercialize their products to benefit others.

“[My project] was about household water usage,”Agarwal said. “My family was receiving unexpectedly high water bills, so we wanted to know why. I attacked a camera on top of the water meter, so it can send you pictures and you can know how much water you’ve been wasting. I feel it could be really helpful to the residents of Austin because this application sends you emails about your water consumption. That can help people cut down on wasteful water use and it can also identify leaks, which costs the U.S. one trillion gallons of water annually.”

Students spent months perfecting their boards and speeches in order to be ready for the questions the judges might ask.

“I worked for several months for research and putting everything together, but I think the most important part was actually researching and practicing your presentation,” Uppuluri said. “[I was the most nervous about] presenting to judges, because you have to stand there for several hours. And then, you don’t know when a judge is going to come, but you have to be ready in that time period of four hours or so. ”

Returning home from the competition, these students were congratulated by both their peers and their teachers. Pleased with their scores, the students returned to their classes, and will prepare for the next science fair.