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Make no mistake, Dr. Serena McCalla is a force of nature that cannot be resisted. She’s also so charismatic that the idea of resistance never comes to mind. It’s why so many of her students at Long Island’s Jericho High School make the cut to compete at International Science and Engineering Fair. And it’s why filmmakers Darren Foster and Cristina Costantini spend so much of their exhilarating doc, SCIENCE FAIR, with her. They spend time with competitors, too, including Robbie, a big brain that can’t quite conform to the strictures of formal schooling, and Kashfia, one of the few Muslims in her South Dakota School, where athletics are prized, and scholarship isn’t
When I spoke to all three on August 22, 2018, we talked about what attending the eponymous science fair does for its high schooler competitors, as well as why catching minds that are young and instilling a love of learning and a spirit of inquiry in them is so important.
We went on to talk about Foster and Costantini’s persona experiences with scienee experiments back in their high school days, having a door between them and the kids they’d come bonded with on the competition day, and a novel suggestion for funding the sciences in schools.Dr. McCalla is Science Research Coordinator at Jericho UFSD, and the President of iResearch Corp. Constantini previous work includes Pimp City: A Journey to the Center of the Sex Slave Trade and The Naked Truth: Death by Fentanyl. Foster’s previous work includes Borderland and Inside Secret America.