Students advance to state science exposition


Experiment running for data collection. Photo courtesy of Choudhry, ’23.

After a year-long process, students submitted research projects to the Illinois Junior Academy of Sciences (IJAS) regional science fair at the start of March and will present at the state exposition April 22 and 23. Twenty-two research projects won gold and will be presented at a state science exposition for a chance for higher recognition.

An unheard of feat, the school won the High School Division for the region. They had the most projects qualifying for the state exposition which will take place at the Peoria Civic Center.

“I felt super accomplished when I finished because this process took a while. Mrs. Foley helped a lot. She had to write me a lot of late passes because I would stay in her class after first period started to finish my project,” junior Abdullah Choudhry said.

The process starts at the beginning of the school year where students try and get a grasp on the scientific topics at hand. It entails large amounts of preliminary research and experimentation to gather data for a research paper and recorded presentation video.

“I felt like I was doing a whole PhD dissertation,” junior Rohan Munagekar said.

A wide variety of projects were presented, from bladder cancer and water correlations to nutrition value within plants. Students received outstanding remarks from the judges; several received special section awards on top of the gold certificate.

Those who received a gold certificate will proceed to state.

A sweeping title for Barrington, several students even qualified for the best in their category: Rohan Munagekar in Biochemistry, Ziyun Ma in Environmental Science, Gabby Quaranta in Earth Science and Hassan Kanji in Materials Science. Senior Lily Dale won the Chairman’s Award for the entire science fair.

“It was super rewarding to be able to get the gold and the best in biochemistry, because I worked my butt off for a solid month going in every single day early. There were a lot of points in the process where I lost hope and I’m like ‘this is not going to work,’” Munagekar said.

The process is a part of a class which is held before the start of the 8:30 school day. Students go in before school to research and work on their projects throughout both semesters, working up till their due date in early March, some working till the last minute.

“I submitted it at 11:48 p.m. when it was due at 11:59 p.m. I had a 10 minute YouTube video to [upload] to YouTube, at that point, it just wasn’t processing and I’m like, ‘if this isn’t processed, then I can’t submit it.’ I was so scared,” Munagekar said.

Though a drawn out and sometimes stressful experience, the students felt it was worth it in the end.

“Upon reaching the end, I felt really relieved when I finally submitted the video and my paper because those were months worth of work done,” Choudhry said. “Once I got my results back, I just felt really happy because that kind of brought everything to completion.”