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By Sherry Xu

This Thursday, January 15, the OC Science Executive Board arrived at Portola Hills Elementary School. They were ready to inspire students to join Portola Hills' school-wide science fair. Neah Lekan paced the stage, getting a feel for the room. He would be the main speaker alongside fellow Executive Committee member Michelle Xu.

As the clock neared 6:30, Science Night guests began trickling in. Excited to learn more about OC Science,they stopped by a signature booth set up by the organization. Executive Committee members Juwon Lee and Minh-Thi Nguyen and Technology Director Sherry Xu explained OC Science’s mission and first initiative, Orange County Science and Engineering Fair, encouraging everyone to sign the petition to show their support.

Orange County Science and Engineering Fair board member Arnold Shugarman kicked off the event. He gave students and parents a background of science fair and introduced OC Science. Michelle Xu and Neah Lekan then took the stage, with their powerpoint presentation “How to do a Science Fair Experiment” behind them for all to see.

Michelle and Neah went through all the steps of the scientific process, starting with "Choosing a Topic" to ending with "Communicating Results." They inserted a few jokes along the way, keeping the atmosphere comfortable and light-hearted. As they presented, parents, ever so thoughtful, took notes for later reference.

Following the 20-minute presentation, all Executive Board members started their interactive segment, a fun review "quiz." Eager students raised their hand to answer questions and were rewarded with a piece of candy for their efforts.

OC Science Board members then held a Q&A.  Parents and students asked about their own experiences with science fair. They also voiced concerns they had about the process, and much more. OC Science answered thoughtfully, providing helpful and informative replies.

Finally, Portola Hills students huddled together for a quick raffle run by their school's PTA. Meanwhile, others were free to roam about the room. 4 example projects by OC Science Board members, 2 of whom had been selected as Broadcom MASTERS semifinalists, were on display.

The night ended on a bright note. The students of the OC Science Executive Board smiled for a photo with Portola Hills PTA Science Fair Committee Chair Melissa Calvano, OCSEF co-president Prasanthi Sathyaprakash, and OCSEF board member Arnold Shugarman. The event was a great success and rewarding experience. OC Science members were delighted to give back to their community, and Portola Hills Elementary School families returned home with a new understanding of science fair and bellies full of candy and other tasty goodies.