Special Star of Science and Engineering

McNeil Shines at Austin’s Regional Science Fair


Kolagotla (10) holds her trophy in front of her science fair project.

McNeil adds yet another star in the Maverick skies as sophomore Nisha Kolagotla returns from Austin’s Regional Science Fair with honors. The event had taken place on Thursday, February 18 at Palmer Events Center in Downtown Austin, and was held to challenge the bright minds of Maverick students.

There are 17 categories that students can enter their projects in. The top five projects in each category win 1st to 5th place medals at the Regional Science Fair, but only the top 3 winners from each of the 13 regions of Texas advance to the Texas State Science Fair. While the top winners from every State Science Fair advance to the International Science Fair, only 6 students from the Austin Regional Fair get to directly advance to the International Science Fair.


“[While] last year I won 1st place in the Physics and Astronomy category and [was able to] compete with the other 1st place winners for a chance to advance to the International Science Fair,” Kolagotla said, “this year, I won 2nd place in the Physics and Astronomy category, and did not get a chance to even compete or a chance to go to the International Science Fair from the Austin Region. So, I was disappointed about that.”


Despite the slight letdown, Kolagotla stated that winning first place isn’t everything. Though she is still qualified to compete in the State Science Fair as a 2nd-place winner, Kolagotla stated that science and engineering were subjects driven by self-motivation and passion.


“I do like science and engineering. I have always liked math and science in school, and have participated in science fairs every year since first grade. I enjoy researching new topics, and coming up with a project that I find interesting. The most rewarding part is when I observe something that I can’t explain based on the science knowledge that I currently have,” Kolagotla said.


And though she isn’t certain of how her experiences in high school will shape her, Kolagotla stated that she would prefer to persevere with her talent and passion for science and mathematics.
“I’m not entirely sure of what I will study in college, but my preferences are Physics or Electrical Engineering,” Kolagotla said.