Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.

IMSA Students Present at International Student Science Fair

By IMSA Biology faculty member Sarah O’Leary

The “universal languages” of science and mathematics cross geographic and cultural boundaries to bring IMSA students together with other like minds in the fourth International Student Science Fair.

Twelve IMSA students had the opportunity to travel to Kyoto, Japan in late October to participate in the fourth International Student Science Fair (ISSF) to share their research projects.

The fair was hosted by Ritsmeikan High School, a designated ‘’Super Science’’ high school affiliated with Ritsmeikan University. The week began with an impressive opening ceremony, including a sword dance, a welcome from the Japanese ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Policy Bureau, and a motivational speech by Mr. Kawagachi Kiyofumi, President of Ritsumeikan University.

Throughout the week, the students (see below list) were able to listen to research presentations given by students from around the world, including two of our own IMSA representatives.  Student Eva Yuan said the experience was very worthwhile.

“Before ISSF, I had not presented my research at such a large venue in front of such a large audience,” she said.  “The project presentation was the highlight of my trip.”

Student Suganya Rajendran agreed, stating that the language differences were not a barrier during the presentations.  “Although we spoke different languages and came from different cultures, we could still understand each other’s projects since science and math are universal languages,” Rajendran said.

Students were also involved in ‘’Science Zone’’ projects, such as building solar boats or working with computer programs on heart models.  During this activity, they were able to collaborate with participants from other schools who shared similar interests.

The end of the week brought tours to local industries, such as Sanyo and Panasonic, and the opportunity to go visit local shops and restaurants in Kyoto.

The poster presentation on Friday allowed all participants to showcase their work, and the closing ceremony was both inspiring and melancholy, as the students were all reluctant to leave their newfound friends and fellow scientists.

This was a great experience for everyone involved, and a wonderful opportunity for IMSA and its students to make connections throughout the world.

“Meeting people around the world with similar interests and goals has shown me how connected we really are,” said Rajendran.  “This was an unforgettable experience for me and it really opened my eyes to how many bright young minds there are in the world.”  

IMSA Student ISSF Participants

First Name    Last Name      Hometown

Karthik          Vantakala          Aurora
Stephanie      Brandt            Charleston
Jessina         Thomas            Freeport
Yaseen           Jamal            Glen Ellyn
Sammy          Nguyen          Lake Zurich
Ray                 Gu               Long Grove
Yifei               Huang           Naperville
Bob                 Lee             Naperville
Suganya         Rajendran      Naperville
Eva                 Yuan           Naperville
Janel                Jin            Northbrook
Luis              Carbajal         Shorewood