ISEF students practice their presentations at Mock Fair

February 16, 2023

Practice for presenting research


Aditi Bhaskar

Junior Kate Kurata stands amidst one of many rooms at the mock fair. Students practice judging sessions with practice boards at this event.

On February 14th, in the evening, students gathered to practice presenting their love for science and engineering for a few hours. Over 50 students, ranging from seasoned seniors to nervous freshmen, recited their elevator pitches to volunteer judges from around the community. Practice boards– mostly printed papers laid out in a comprehensive order, or notes on a laptop screen– were used to point at while speaking, and pencils, or sometimes pens in varied colors, were used to mark up their papers with notes on how they could improve their presentations.

Sophomore Rubi Martin thought that  it was “super helpful” to have mock fairs. “People that are more chill come around and there’s less pressure to present your project,” they described. While Rubi didn’t have a specific script to begin with, “after the first interview,” they realized, “these are the things I need to hit on more, and developed it throughout.” Rubi’s a bit of both nervous and excited going into the fair, but definitely passionate, and ready to share her research with everyone!

Junior Kate Kurata feels “really nervous” going into the fair. “This is obviously not my first time doing a fair,” she says, “but it’s my first time going into it alone.” She’s nervous about her boards, and that she doesn’t have all her stuff done yet. However, Kate is excited about the awards night after judging, which is her “favorite part, personally.” She also enjoys that, over the fair, she gets to “talk to people” and “gain new opportunities.” She has made friends at the fair before and hopes to do so again!

Whether the students were prepared or not coming into the mock fair, they definitely will be prepared going into judging on February 27th. Approximately two lucky projects from Wilsonville High School will be selected to compete at an international stage in May.

Mrs. Danielle Schroeder says that “students this year have done a really remarkable job of thinking of the other person when they came up with their project ideas this year.” There isn’t really an egocentric focus of projects this year, since students are looking out into our community: both locally and at the larger scale. “Tonight really confirmed,” says Mrs. Schroeder, “that judges will see projects where students ask the big question: How do I fix the problems of the world?

The CREST- Jane Goodall Science Symposium will be held at Wilsonville High School in the gymnasium. Come visit the fair while it’s open to the public on Tuesday, February 28th in the evening to see the amazing work your peers have accomplished! 

Group presentations improve


Aditi Bhaskar

Presentations can be tricky – and group presentations can be trickier. Mock fairs give students great practice on presenting, so they’re ready for judging when the day comes!

Tuesday February 14th, during the mock fair, many students practiced their presentations. Presentations are difficult to perfect, and it may be even more challenging for group projects, where students need to coordinate who talks about which sections. Transitions must be wrinkle-free, and inter-group communication must be practiced.

Sophomores Megan, Mia, and Jenna worked on a behavioral project as a team, and they were at the mock fair to practice presenting their project. They worked through several interviews throughout the evening, and by the end of the night, they were all much more confident.

Megan says, “Me and my team are very effective within our communications.” The team uses eye signals and small taps during judging interviews. “The mock symposium really developed which points in our project we’re the most strong on,” says Megan. The team split the presentation sections into introduction, and procedures, and conclusion and divided that amongst themselves so that their project pitch would flow more smoothly.

Jenna is nervous about the fair, but in general, they’re “excited and pretty confident” in their project. Mia agrees, and mentions that the mock fair helped them “see anything they’re missing or need” based on “what the judges struggled to understand.”

Overall, the mock symposium helped Megan, Mia, and Jenna finesse their team presentation. Excitement levels are super high for the fair coming up in less than two weeks! Come support all the student scientists and engineers by visiting project booths at the district fair while it’s open to the public on Tuesday, February 28th!