Sarasota County’s most promising young scientists from grades 3-12 will defend their hypotheses, research and results as their exhibits are judged this week during the annual Regional Science, Engineering and Technology Fair. More than 160 volunteer judges will review elementary school projects from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 28. Middle and high school judging will take place 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 30. All judging will be held at Robarts Arena in Sarasota.
All schools in Sarasota County, including those in public, charter, alternative, virtual, private and parochial schools, as well as home-schooled students, are invited to participate in the regional science fair.
Sarasota County has produced a regional science fair for more than twenty years. Because the fair is affiliated with the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, students who are judged to have the top two high school projects will have the opportunity to compete in the annual Intel ISEF in Los Angeles this spring.
The Regional Science Fair encompasses fourteen categories, including biological, environmental, physical and earth/space sciences, math, engineering, computer sciences, and behavior and social sciences. Projects promote the development of inquiry process skills that are essential for learning.
The fair is a community-wide effort. Participating organizations include the Sarasota Agricultural Fair Committee, which allows the Science Fair organizers to use Robarts Arena at no charge for four days for the judging of the exhibits. The committee also donates lunch for students, chaperones and judges; donates award ribbons; and provides space to display the award-winning exhibits at the Sarasota County Fair each year in March.
The Education Foundation of Sarasota County underwrites the expenses for the regional fair, the affiliation with the Intel ISEF, travel for winning students to attend the international fair, and numerous cash awards made possible by community sponsors. Leading sponsors this year include the Dart Foundation and The Faulhaber Foundation.
Mote Marine Laboratory and New College of Florida provide members of the Safety Review Committee and mentors for students. The HuB works with students on exploring the market potential of their work. Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Florida Power and Light, and the Sarasota Manatee Manufacturers’ Association contribute in a number of ways, including encouraging employees, members and customers to serve as judges.
PHOTO ID: Judge Nancy Roberts with Brittany Wenger at last year’s Regional Science, Engineering and Technology Fair. Wenger’s work placed her in the top two slots for three years, earning her three trips to the Intel International Science Fair, all expenses paid by the Education Foundation. From there, the Out of Door Academy student went on to the Google Science Fair, where she won overall honors – including a $50,000 prize and an invitation to the White House.