Two juniors heading to international science fair



Pooja Shah waiting to present at the State Science Fair.

The International Science and Engineering Fair will commence in May in Phoenix, and nine students from Brevard County will be attending ISEF and presenting May 12 to 17.

Juniors Pooja Shah and Lasya Damaraju will be West Shore’s representatives at the fair. Damaraju advanced after winning Best in Show in the chemistry/physical sciences category at the regional science fair in February, and Shah, who placed second in the plant science category at the State Science Fair in March, advanced to the international fair by winning a runoff after finishing runner-up best in show at the regional science fair.

“I was super-excited for the opportunity to go because ISEF is the most prestigious science fair in the nation,” Shah said.

Science teacher Paula Ladd is optimistic about Shah chances in May.

“She is an outstanding student,” Ladd said. “She should do well at the international competition.”

Shah’s project involves discovering a new signaling pathway in algae.

“I’ve been researching at a plant physiology lab at FIT for three years now, so I got my idea from working in the lab,” Shah said.

Despite the time commitment, Shah enjoyed conducting her research.

“It’s been very time-consuming and there have definitely been setbacks because you don’t always get the data you want,” Shah said. “But it’s been very worth it.”

Shah has done the researching and presenting in fairs to be prepared for ISEF.

“It’s my first time [going to ISEF], so I’m not really sure how it is going to be but I’m hopeful that I can place,” Shah said.

By Laura Shelton