Kush Gulati at Florida’s State Science and Engineering Fair.

On February 7, Hillsborough County held its annual Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Earth and Environmental Fair. Local high schools sent nominees to present science projects for the competition. A Newsome High School sophomore, Kush Gulati, received first place in the senior division. His science project centered around his love for the earth and protecting the oceans.

Kush’s science project was entitled ‘Save Our Oceans: Studying the capability of naturally occurring substances to neutralize pollutants in ocean water.’ He completed his science project on the capabilities of natural substances (such as peppermint oil, potato roots, orange peel) to neutralize oil, fertilizer and microplastic pollutants in ocean water.

Gulati stated, “Ocean pollution caused by fertilizer runoff, microplastics and oil spills pose a real and present danger to ocean ecosystems and marine life. We currently either do not have a solution or have largely chemical-based solutions to fight these pollutants. This project attempts to study the potential of utilizing abundantly available and naturally occurring substances as a solution to the problem.”

He picked this project idea because of his passion for protecting the planet and its oceans. He volunteers his free time at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota and Summerland Key as a research assistant analyzing coral reef sites. He also volunteers as the marketing chair at the Youth Advisory Council with Reef Renewal USA to help protect the coral reefs.

Speaking of his interest in protecting coral reefs, Gulati also said, “I worked to be certified as an advanced scuba diver as soon as I was eligible. I have always enjoyed scuba diving as a hobby. Although, while diving I observed many coral reefs which had become degenerated over recent years. When I researched more, I realized the extent of harm being caused by ocean acidification and warming waters on corals. I have felt a sense of urgency to act and started to volunteer in every way possible to help. My ambition is to incrementally do more for this cause.”

Gulati qualified to compete at the state level, representing Hillsborough County’s senior section for the State Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) of Florida held from April 2-4 at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland. He was awarded NOAA’s Taking the Pulse of the Planet Award and the West Panhandle Regional Science & Engineering Fair Award. He was also a finalist at the SSEF for Outstanding STEM Research.

Previous articleStart Your Engines For The Honorary Mayor’s Race Of East Hillsborough County
Next articleElegant VW Atlas Cross Sport Is Incredible, Airy
Ashley Abene
Ashley Abene has written for the Osprey Observer since 2023. She has a master’s degree in writing and literature and a bachelor’s degree in professional writing from the University of South Florida. She has taught college-level writing and literature at USF and Southeastern University for over nine years. She’s a blogger at Peace Filled Family and enjoys writing children’s books. She’s also a mom to three kids, and her husband has been serving in the military for over 20 years.