“Unique and Innovative Ideas” Inspire Science Fair Organizer

  • Voices
“Unique and Innovative Ideas” Inspire Science Fair Organizer
Sanya Firozvi ’24

The event for Middle Schoolers was a passion project for Sanya Firozvi ’24 and her friends, giving them a chance to make an impact — and to lean into leadership opportunities in a new way.


On Jan. 26, 27 Middle School students presented research and experiments across an array of topics reflecting their interests and scientific curiosity at a science fair hosted in the Keim Center for Innovation and Research. 

The event, participation in which was optional, was the brainchild of three Upper School students — Hope Hauck ’24, Olivia Rivera ’25 and Sanya Firozvi ’24 — with a passion for STEM who wanted to encourage their younger peers to explore the world of science. 

Here, Sanya reflects on the inspiration for the idea and the hard work and dedication that went into bringing it to life. 

This time last year, I went on a walk around campus with Olivia Rivera ’25. Passing under the rose arches, we discussed our interests in STEM fields and identified a desire to find a way to showcase other students’ similar passions. I thought back to the stories that my mom has told me about her middle school science fair. Her experience piqued her interest and built her confidence in biology and chemistry. I decided I wanted to work with my friends and put on our own science fair.

Hope Hauck ’24, a good friend of mine, had also had the experience of competing in science fairs as a kid. When I brought up the idea with her, she loved it, seeing it as a chance to build connections across grade levels, and said she wanted to help.

I’ve been at Ravenscroft for 13 years, and when I entered high school, I came in with the goal of making an impact and giving back. I’m passionate about environmental science and computer programming and have used these interests as an avenue to do just that: Hope and I run the Upper School Women in STEM (WiSTEM), Girls Who Code and Science Olympiad clubs. Starting the science fair felt like an extension of those other roles. We applied our knowledge and skills from leading clubs — things like writing emails, planning meetings and giving presentations — to put on the science fair. 

Clockwise from top left: Hope Hauck ’24 and Sanya Firozvi ’24 were the event’s organizers; Anika Le Cheminant ’29 discusses “Musical Math,” a project she did with Izzy McKee ’29; Lilly Ferretti ’30 presents “A Smooth Connection,” co-created with Audriana Gaught ’30.

Once I saw that the science fair would be a great addition to the Middle School’s programming, we got started. Hope pitched the idea to [Middle School science teachers] Dr. Nunalee and Ms. Hedges at the end of the 2022-23 school year. With their support, we worked throughout September and October on planning a fair, inspired by the United States’ model of the International Science Engineering Fair and local North Carolina Science Engineering Fair competitions. We reached out to the local coordinators, who generously gave us tons of great tips for starting a successful fair. We wanted to give students creative freedom to research, experiment or model any science-focused topic they wanted. 

With tentative dates and a general structure, we presented the opportunity to the Middle School with the help of Jonas Lisson ’25 and Lucas Jeff ’24, who also served as judges. Initially, we expected just a handful of kids to join, so we were shocked when 12 students signed up to participate. Shortly after our presentation, we hosted our first meeting with the participants, and five more students appeared. Our email list grew every week, and by the day of the fair 27 students were ready to showcase their projects! 

To guide students’ work, we created a template with questions about hypotheses, background information and conclusions. We made project examples by refurbishing our old labs and research papers from AP Chemistry and AP Environmental Science courses. As we checked their documents, we saw a plethora of unique and innovative ideas come to life.

In the end, all of the Middle Schoolers who participated created impressively sophisticated projects. Ideas ranged from testing how different therapy animals affect stress levels and building a Jacob’s ladder electric arc display to figuring out which pair of athletic shoes is the stinkiest and determining whether the volume and weight of an object affects internet ping speed. 

Clockwise from top left: Judges Victor Kalorin ’24 and Jonas Lisson ’25 (wearing badges) speak with Middle Schoolers about their projects as visitors including faculty, students and parents tour the displays; Sanya displays the science fair trophies, which were 3-D printed in the Keim Center’s Innovation Lab; judges Lucas Jeff ’24 and Zoe Kirkpatrick ’25 team up to learn about students’ work.

Before the fair, I had zero experience in hosting an event. Hope, Dr. Nunalee, and I spent free periods planning out the best way to showcase everyone’s projects in a short period of time. We also collaborated with fellow members of the Upper School Science Olympiad team to judge the projects.

The fair was hosted on Jan. 26 in the Keim Center. Students were able to utilize the space to showcase their posters and even a couple of live experiments. Seeing the great turnout and the hard work that each participant put into their projects was truly inspiring. Every ingenious and innovative project impressed Hope and me — and the students and faculty who came to see what these Ravens had produced.

I learned many important life skills while coordinating this event, and I hope to carry them with me in college next year. I cannot wait to see the future of the Ravenscroft science fair and how it will flourish in the years to come.