PEN and PV Students Compete At Science Fair

by Fiona Yang PEN and PV Students Compete At Science Fair
• Panthers and Sea Kings at the L.A. County Science Fair.

The Los Angeles County Science Fair will be held on Friday, March 20, at the Magic Box in downtown Los Angeles, with several students from Peninsula and Palos Verdes high schools in attendance.
The students who qualified for the County Science Fair were the top 13 at the Palos Verdes Science Fair held on Feb. 14. This was Palos Verdes’ third year holding the science fair. Peninsula chemistry and science Research teacher Melissa Klose was among the adults that run the fair and oversee the students.
“The PV Science Fair and the County Science Fair are similar in regards to what they are searching for in the projects, which include communication, background research, methodology and more,” Klose said. “Therefore, [it is my job] to connect the students to people and experts outside of school to guide them in the direction of research they may want to go.”
Some students do consult professionals to aid them in their projects, but other students choose to work independently. Peninsula High junior Aksh Garg is among the latter.
“My interest in drones and 5G networks started off only as tentative exploration of a new field, but now I am extremely passionate about my project,” Garg said.
“I am very proud of my project because I really struggled to create it, but seeing how I overcame those struggles and achieved something that, at one point, seemed out of reach is really amazing .”
Garg and other students dedicate several hours outside of school to develop their research and produce results, even more so when done independently. It is through their fascination with their topics that they are able to motivate themselves through the process.
“Not necessarily all students have a mentor, a lot of them just ask questions of people and self-learn,” Klose said. “The students are typically chosen for the County Science Fair because they are very passionate about what they do, and put in a lot of time, energy and attention into their projects.”
Passion becomes the determining factor in the Science Fair, as students truly committed and concerned about their projects tend to fare better than the rest. As a result, both schools take top spots at the Science Fair each year thanks to their dedicated students.
“I expect my students to do well, but I think the most valuable lesson is for them to have the experience of sharing their knowledge with different kinds of people, including adults and scientists in the community,” Klose said. “It is more important to learn those scientific skills and experience that you do not receive in your normal science classes in school.”
Klose is not alone in hoping that the students take more than just an award from the Fair.
Palos Verdes High junior Abbie Maemoto is one of the students attending the LA County Science Fair that shares Klose’s sentiments.
Maemoto’s project focuses on new cancer research, as the goal of her project is to improve the quality of life for patients afflicted with the disease.
“I compete at science fairs because I hope to show others the importance of research and how the research of a teenager can make a huge impact on some of the issues that plague our world today,” Maemoto said.
The Science Fair provides an opportunity for the students to present their solutions to issues in the world to a wider audience as well as a haven to make memories and build lifelong relations.
Peninsula High senior Katherine Wedekind is among the students that will attend the Science Fair for the last time, and cherishes the experience she has received all four years.
“I have made so many great memories with close friends through this research program and am really lucky to have found something I am so passionate about,” Wedekind said. “I will definitely miss the hours of carpooling, running to get food in between interviews, and being anxious at award ceremonies with my friends, but I am really thankful for this experience.”
Although students attending the Fair, whether their first time or their last, the event will serve as a memorable experience for all. Hopefully, the students will leave with new skills, new goals and new connections by the end of the Fair.

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