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Carlos of screen

High school science fairs provide students with excellent opportunities to showcase their projects and create lasting memories. However, in Science Fair: The Series, the show captures the global journey of students who dedicate months for preparation and have sleepless nights to have the chance to compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Along with this, the series follows the ups and downs of being a teenager in this ever changing world. The streaming reality series features University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa freshman Carlos Ochoa-Marquez and his dedication to his research as one of the students.

Carlos at an Air Force science fair

The series not only show cases the brilliant minds of young innovators, but also the fun that comes along with these endeavors.

Ochoa-Marquez began filming his junior year of high school at Monte Vista High School, in Monte Vista, Colorado. The project he worked on aimed to see if arbuscular mycorrhizae (a symbiosis between plants and members of a phylum of fungi, the Glomeromycota) would have a positive effect on the growth cycle of 3 different agriculture plants (potato, alfalfa and zucchini) when these plants were exposed to drought, overwater, and cold scenarios. Ochoa-Marquez conveyed that his research explores global climate change and its impact on agriculture, especially in a small town like Monte Vista.

Although Ochoa-Marquez didn’t make it to the international competition that year, he enjoyed participating in the filming and sharing his experience of striving for a spot in the world’s most prestigious fair. The following year Carlos continued his endeavor with arbuscular mycorrhizae and agriculture plants, earning him a spot at the 2023 International Science and Engineering Fair held in Dallas, Texas.

Carlos and his family

UH a “dream school”

Ochoa-Marquez began his college search in his freshman year of high school to see what his options were for the future. “One day, I went on Google and found that UH Mānoa was listed among the top schools for botany,” Ochoa-Marquez said. “The environment in Hawaiʻi is much different from my hometown in Colorado, and that change of pace also added to UH Mānoa becoming my dream school.”

Carlos of screen

Ochoa-Marquez is now in his second semester majoring in botany and is very appreciative of his experience filming the series. “I want to get this series out because it’s inspiring to have people from different backgrounds and know you can do great science and research at any age,” Ochoa-Marquez said. “Never let others define what you can or can’t do solely based on your age.”

Science Fair: The Series can be streamed on Disney+, National Geographic and Hulu.

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