Illustration courtesy of Sriya Kantipudi.
From engineering an artificial blood stream to programming an app that detects skin moisture levels to avoid dehydration, students researched and presented their innovative ideas with a slideshow at UPA’s first virtual Science Fair, hosted by the Science Alliance club.
Participating students had to follow guidelines posted on the Science Alliance website with a deadline to submit by Jan. 11, though the original deadline was Jan. 8. There were three winners for both middle school and high school. For middle school, first place went to Anish Raj (7), who won $100, second place to Sneha Madan (7), who won $75, and third place to Akshaya Ganesh (8), who won $50. For high school, Sriya Kantipudi (11) and Joann Jaison (11) won first place and $200, Joshua Joseph (9) and Krish Nirmale (9) won second and $150 and Reya Yeddula (10) and Mahima Bhella (10) won third and $100.
The science fair was announced through Schoology on Nov. 20, 2020, and the winners were posted to Schoology on Jan. 29. The winning project ideas are listed on https://www.upasciencealliance.com and previews of these are found on the “UPA Zoom Science Fair” public group on Spikeview. Participants’ projects were judged by science teachers and alumni based on originality and creativity.
“It was really interesting to see the differing perspectives as well as new ideas and innovations,” Science Alliance co-president Padma Bellamkonda (12) said.
Kantipudi and Jaison wanted to base their project on helping bees due to their declining populations. Their first-place idea was of a solar-powered beehive with temperature controls to kill parasites of bees called Varroa mites. They also embedded an AI-based microphone that would be able to detect the bee colony’s health based on the sounds the colony makes.
“My biggest takeaway from this project was it’s really important to pose as many questions as you possibly can and do good research and share this research with people that you know,” Kantipudi said.