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09 Sep 2020
Syona Mehta in WBAIS Team that Wins 3rd Place at International Science Fair

 Syona (on right) and Lillian

 Syona Mehta

Fourteen-year old Syona Mehta, a student of The Walworth Barbour American International School, Israel, and her co-student Lillian May Berger, won the 3rd prize at the NESA Virtual Science and Engineering Fair (NVSEF), an event in which over 800 teams from schools in various parts of the world participated. Syona is the daughter of Sweta and Bhavesh Mukesh Mehta.

The Near East South Asia Council of International Schools (NESA) Virtual Science and Engineering Fair (NVSEF) is an international competitive group science project, supported by government departments in the US. It is open to upper elementary (and middle) school students from over 75 countries, who are asked to conduct scientific research, multicultural conversations, and exchange of science and engineering investigation and problem-solving ideas.
For the NVSEF this year, Syona and Lillian developed a project to collect the plastic that flows through rivers. Their aim: to reduce the amount of plastic in the sea, as they had learnt that 90% of plastic in the ocean enters through rivers. Beginning late 2019, in the four-month period till March, the two developed a design, tested their prototype, wrote up a report and submitted it for the NVSEF.
When the results were announced, they were among those selected for the 2nd round. This time they were asked to research and answer five extremely difficult questions within five days. During this phase, they were ranked 2nd among the six teams shortlisted for the final round.
Syona said this was the “most challenging round” where they were asked to rewrite their entire report including microplastics as well, which introduced a new set of independent variables. Within just three days, the two students managed to complete a new report alongside their ongoing schoolwork. 
When the final results were announced in mid-May, Syona and Lillian were thrilled to learn that they had won the Third Prize.
Syona has always been interested in research and is an active member of her school’s Global Awareness Investigation and Action (GAIA) Club which involves elementary, middle, and high school students in environmental research projects to develop skills as researchers and policy developers. 
She has represented her school at the international level in football and also plays the trumpet and piano. 
Syona is also a member of the Japan Karate Shotokan Israel since the age of six and has been a member of Israel National Team at international competitions. She has won many national level and regional titles. Most recently, at the end of June, she successfully passed her Black Belt test, earlier scheduled for March, but then postponed due to the lockdown. Even during this period, Syona continued to train four hours a week. 

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