Chamblee Scholars Reignite the Science Fair Flame


Science Fair participants Lior Weber and Daniel Luo pose with their project at Regionals. Photo Courtesy of Daniel Luo

Simran Kukreja, Staff Writer

Jack Bolte, Aditya Rao, and Matthew Wang’s project. Photo Courtesy of Jack Bolte

The Georgia Science & Engineering Fair (GSEF) is where students can showcase their original research, compete for awards, and get recognized for their achievements. Thousands of students every year compete in local science fairs across the state, and the winners are then invited to compete in one of the GSEF-Affiliated Regional Fairs. The top projects from each regional fair are invited to attend and compete at GSEF, and some selected projects are then chosen to advance to the Regeneron International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF). While the science fair was paused at Chamblee after the COVID-19 pandemic, with its reintroduction this year, a few students were able to qualify for GSEF.

“We made it to the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair, and we technically got first place, but four people got first place, so it was not really first place,” said Jack Bolte (‘24). 

Bolte and his partners Aditya Rao (‘24) and Matthew Wang (’24), centered their project on rocket fuel mixtures.

“We created different ratios of rocket fuel mixtures, and then we measured the thrust and the burn type. We were just trying to find the best fuel mixture to use for a rocket,” said Rao. 

The three of them were judged by two different sets of judges. One pair would come over, and have the boys present to them, while the other judges would simply walk around and look at projects, but the boys grew used to it. 

“We were kind of nervous at the start, but as we started talking about our project, it got easier,” said Bolte. “We expected to make it to GSEF.”

Bolte, Rao, and Wang did face a few challenges at the beginning when it came to presenting. 

“They tried to take away our project, like they told us that the rules said we were not allowed to do our tests there, but we brought it and did it anyway,” said Bolte.

Another Chamblee student who qualified for GSEF is Deeksha Khanna (‘24), but she received first honors in the fair, so she will also be moving on to the international competition (ISEF). She studied DNA sequences to learn more about the signature for Alzheimer’s disease, which she was already familiar with. 

“I was pretty interested in Biology to begin with, and I just wanted to find more of a computational approach,” said Khanna. 

Despite her familiarity with her topic, she was still worried about presenting and placing in the competition. 

“I was pretty nervous to present my findings in a cohesive manner, but also I was excited. Also, I was actually very surprised by the results, but equally as happy,” said Khanna. 

While Bolte, Rao, Wang, and Khanna all managed to make it to GSEF, there are Chamblee students who did not end up qualifying this year.  

“I didn’t really have enough time to do this. I just basically used our AP Statistics project for the science fair project, like we didn’t have a dedicated science fair project. So, if I were to do this again, I would actually plan stuff out, and then maybe I would make it,” said Daniel Luo (‘24).

His science fair project, and AP Statistics project apparently, focused on if wearing medical face masks can help runners improve their time, which tested as true. 

“We measured something called VO2 max, which is your maximum level of oxygen intake. We got half of the participants to wear masks between the two tests we did, and the other half did not wear masks. We saw there was a difference.”

Though the fair was introduced to Chamblee students this year, it was still a fun experience for those who participated, so many hope to see it grow in the future.

“This was a pretty fun experience overall, and we look forward to doing it again next year,” said Rao. “I look forward to seeing how [the Science Fair at Chamblee] grows.”