Students Explore Climate Solutions at Science Fest

Three photos from the Science Fest.

Austin held its first science festival in 1956, and every February, almost 3,000 students from 23 school districts in 12 surrounding counties present projects at the Austin Energy Regional Science Festival. Public, private, and home school students display more than 1,800 projects that fit into 17 scientific categories, ranging from Animal Sciences to Robotics and Intelligent Machines.

The first in-person festival since the pandemic was held February 23-25 at the Palmer Events Center, and it was clear that students, volunteers, and judges were excited to be back.

For over ten years, the Office of Sustainability has sponsored a special climate award category for students at the senior, junior, and elementary grade levels. This year’s recipients of the Office of Sustainability’s Climate Protection Innovation Awards are:

Tanuj Tekkale poses with City staff at the Science Fest.


Tanuj Tekkale, 12th-grade student, Vandergrift High School

Tanuj’s project was entitled “Optimizing Functions of Simulated Polymer Photodegradation for Large-Scale Plastic Disposal.” In simple terms, Tanuj’s project suggests using lasers to eliminate the world’s excess plastics. Tanuj is a 12th-grade student at Vandergrift High School.

An icon of a water bottle with water drops.

 Aishah Ahmed, 7th-grade student, Austin Peace Academy Middle School

Recognizing the world’s need for clean drinking water, Aishah’s “Crystal Clear Water” project advocates using only renewable energy sources to purify and heat water for usage. Aishah is a 7th-grade student at Austin Peace Academy Middle School.

Anirudh Deepak poses with his award at the Science Fest.

 Anirudh Deepak, 5th-grade student, Homeschooled

Anirudh’s “Solar Desalination” project proposes using solar energy to remove salt from oceans to solve the world’s water shortage and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Anirudh is a 5th-grade home-schooled elementary student.


The planet’s future is in great hands based on these and several other projects. Congratulations to everyone participating in this year’s Austin Energy Regional Science Festival. Learn more about the students awarded and see photos from the event.