The Science Fair: A rite of passage – 2 Menes qualify for states


Photo courtesy Nicole Nakasuji

Sophia Barbaria, Kalea King, Kyra Wise pictured

Caylen Maria Corpuz, Staff Writer

Two weeks ago, nine students from Moanalua participated in the Central Oahu District Science and Engineering Fair. Two of those students, senior Lawrence Lilly and junior Sophia Barbaria, were district finalists and are now preparing for the Hawaii Science and Engineering Fair next month. 

Participants had the freedom to choose what type of science and/or engineering they wanted to base their research on. In compliance with Oahu’s COVID-19 restrictions, the fair was held virtually on WebEx, with a panel of three judges assessing the students.

Instead of creating the usual tri-fold poster board, participants had to prepare presentation slides, and were given 5-6 minutes to present them.

 “I had a lot of information to share, so condensing that information was kind of hard,” Lawrence Lilly said. 

Though given a short amount of time to share his ideas, Lilly managed to move past this first round and qualified for states. His project, “Redesigning TheBus routes in Urban Honolulu” came from his interest in transportation and its efficiency. After a talk with his friend, Lilly realized that many of the bus routes in Honolulu are confusing. 

“I thought about ways to make [the routes] more simple,” Lilly said. His project consolidated the routes to be quicker and more efficient. 

Sophia Barbaria also qualified to move on to states with her project, “The Physics Behind Tennis.” As a tennis player herself, Barbaria was able to learn through her research just how effective the type of spin you put on a ball is. 

“I didn’t think it’d really work [as well as it did] but my coaches always told me to use top spin, use back spin, and stuff like that in certain situations,” Barbaria said. 

Another factor of the virtual fair students had to consider was turning in their projects on time and correctly. Sophomore Kyra Wise was one of the many participants that had to adjust to the virtual format. 

“I feel like in some ways it’s more stressful because there’s a lot more that you have to get done, but you don’t always know how to get it in,” Wise said.
Wise worried about submitting forms and if she were uploading it correctly, and how to confirm whether or not others could see the project she submitted. 

Despite her worries, Wise was able to deliver her project, “To Sleep Better at Night, Do We Need Less Blue Light?” smoothly. Wise conducted several tests regarding the amount of screen time one had before sleep, and surveyed those individuals to see how they were affected. 

Even with the fair being virtual this year due to the pandemic, Barbaria, Wise, Lilly and six other Moanalua students stayed positive about what they gained from their experience. 

“I feel like it’s kind of a rite of passage for school, because you know, science fairs are always talked about,” Barbaria said. 

“It gave me a little more experience in presenting in front of new people, and I’m used to presenting to the people in my class,” Wise said, “so I think it gave me more knowledge on how to present better.” 

Details of the state science fair are still to come, with two Moanalua students expected to participate.