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The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

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Sidney Tranel
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(she/her) Sidney Tranel is a junior at West and this is her second year on staff. Outside of school she works at Monica's, loves spending time with her friends and playing the violin.

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Nine West students compete at the Eastern Iowa Science and Engineering Fair

West students presented their scientific research at the Eastern Iowa Science and Engineering Fair held in Cedar Rapids Mar. 16.
Carolyn Walling
Matthew Bedell ’24, Sabrina Du ’25, Anjali Lodh ’25, Precilia Kangni ’24, City student Amal Eltayib ’26 and Shanza Sami ’26 hold their awards after the awards ceremony.

At 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning, nine West students began propping up their trifolds, ready for a long day of defending their scientific research.

The Eastern Iowa Science and Engineering Fair (EISEF) is a regional science fair held annually in the Cedar Rapids Lindale Mall. Every year, over 100 junior high and high school students across eastern Iowa gather in hopes of qualifying for Regeneron’s International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) and potentially winning special awards. 

Exhibit and special awards judging were held from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by extended special awards judging from 1 to 2 p.m. 

Seven out of nine West students competed in EISEF for the first time, including Sabrina Du ’25. 

“It was my first time and surprisingly it was really fun getting to see all the projects and meet people from all across the state,” Du said. 


At 1 p.m., West students Anjali Lodh ’25, Adam Salem ’26 and Shanza Sami ’26 were notified that they were among six other students who advanced as finalists. Finalist judging began with a seven-minute round, during which finalists presented their exhibits to a group of judges, followed by rapid-fire questioning. Shortly after, finalists completed a 20-minute interview with judges to discuss their research in further detail. 

“Getting the opportunity to present at the Eastern Iowa Science and Engineering Fair was an invaluable opportunity. Having a place to display the hard work put into my research was amazing and being able to receive feedback on my presentation skills will help me grow as a presenter,” Salem said. “Getting the opportunity to be a finalist at an event like this is something many don’t get the opportunity to be. I’m fortunate to have been able to participate and take my project all the way to the finals.”

Additionally, Lodh believes that the input received from judges during the preliminary and finalist judging rounds was useful. 

“I had a great time presenting my research to different judges,” Lodh said. “It was super cool to get feedback on what I could do differently in the future and have discussions with experts in the field I researched.”

After over four hours of judging, students tore down their exhibits and gathered in the evening for the awards ceremony. 

West’s exceptional performance in EISEF resulted in a total of 11 special awards being issued across the nine projects. 

West’s student researchers also hope to compete at the upcoming State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa (SSTFI) held April 4-5. 

“I’m really excited for another opportunity to present my research at SSTFI and I feel a lot more prepared after EISEF,” Du said. 

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About the Contributor
Shanza Sami, Reporter
(She/her) Shanza Sami is a sophomore at West High. This is currently her first year on staff as a reporter. Outside of the journalism room, you can find Shanza biking, perusing through a new book or adding songs to her Spotify playlist.
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