The Story of Science Fair Success – Ella Sipe: A Dub Taking the Dub


Winning Dub: Ella Sipe proudly poses with all of the awards she won after attending the district science fair.

With so many graduating students at NAHS attending Georgia Tech, it is no surprise that many Dubs excel in the science field. This is perfectly demonstrated each year by the North Atlanta school science fair, where contestants show up and show out. Each year there are a select few projects that stand above the rest, and those students are invited to compete at the district level. This district competition occurred during the first week of February and once again North Atlanta students well represented the school. However, one Dub, in particular, stood out as awards were announced for districts: sophomore Ella Sipe.

Sipe’s project has resulted from a culmination of multiple years of research and experimentation on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). ALS came into the limelight a couple of years ago, especially thanks to the popular “ice bucket challenge” that took the internet by storm in 2014 and promoted donations to the ALS cause. This year for her project, Sipe focused on environmental factors that trigger ALS through extensive research. “I went through piles and piles of research and it took weeks,” Sipe said.

Sipe clearly represented the Dub spirit as she persisted to work on this project. While winning big is nothing new to her, this will be the first year in which she has been invited to compete at the International Science Fair (ISCEF). For Sipe, the journey of getting to ISCEF started with understanding her goals and looking at what she wanted to achieve – and achieve them she did. Sipe won the American Psychological Award, US Air Force Award, US Metric Association Award, Yale Science and Engineering Association Award, and the Office of Naval Research Naval Science Award in the senior division. “My family and I were really excited because I’ve been working to get to ISCEF for 5 years now,” Sipe said.

For any other students who have dreams of competing at ISCEF, Sipe has some advice. First, work hard in the early stages. Sipe says that preparing a good project and a well-thought-out board was one of her keys to winning. She allocated a couple of weeks to research and a couple to perfecting her board. She also advises Dubs to rehearse their presentation to come off more polished and knowledgeable to judges. Finally, she recommends knowing what category you are competing in and what awards you are aiming for. “I had my goal in mind the whole time I was working on this project and it’s what really pushed me forward,” said Sipe.

As Sipe progresses to the state and international science fairs, she will certainly carry the NAHS spirit with her. If you see Sipe in the halls make sure to congratulate her on her big win and wish her luck as she continues onward to represent the Dubs.