Nearly 100 experts from Aera Energy and other Kern County companies support this year’s virtual event
So many things were cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the 2020 Kern County Science Fair.
Some Kern County students scrapped their projects, while others like Ishaan Brar, a senior at Stockdale High School in Bakersfield, made improvements to their projects in preparation for the science fair in 2021.
The hard work paid off. Brar’s project took first place in the Biomedical Engineering category at the Kern County Science Fair in March and will be entered at state and international competitions in April and May.
“For too long, students in Kern County have been behind students from other regions because of limited access to global events like the International Science and Engineering Fair,” said Brar, who hopes to be a physician one day. “Getting this opportunity to compete at the state and international levels represents a new chapter for students in Kern County.”
Brar was shadowing physicians at local medical clinics when he first learned about a design flaw in catheters that lead to the death of about 13,000 people in the U.S. every year. In 2020, he developed a catheter prototype to address that flaw. In 2021, he further improved his catheter and presented it as part of his project.
Aera provides 27 judges
About 230 students entered the science fair this year, down from 680 in 2020. This year, 96 employees from Kern County companies volunteered as judges—including 27 from Aera Energy—to support the event hosted by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools.
“I was very impressed with how much research and work these students put into their projects,” said Matt Kedzierski, a data scientist at Aera Energy, science fair judge, and president of the Kern County Science Foundation. “Having students present in front of strangers on a computer screen to talk about their projects was really difficult. They did a wonderful job.”
“We couldn’t have made this year’s Kern County Science Fair a reality without the help of our judges who came out to support our local students.”
“We couldn’t have made this year’s Kern County Science Fair a reality without the help of our judges who came out this year – and continue to come out every year – to support our local students,” said Michelle Roy, science coordinator, Kern County Superintendent of Schools.
“We were so disappointed to have to cancel the science fair last year,” Roy added. “Even with the pandemic, we can’t stop supporting the creativity of our future scientists, doctors, engineers and mathematicians of the future.”
Brar says this experience will always remind him he has the “grit and passion” to do anything he sets his mind to.