Awards Ceremony Set for April 10
The finest young scientific minds in Sarasota County will be honored with prizes, scholarships, cash awards and – for two gifted high school students – a chance to shine in international competition thanks to the 2014 Regional Science, Engineering and Technology Fair.
Science Fair director Brad Porinchak announced winners by grade level and research category this week. First place projects will be on display at the Sarasota County Fair from March 14-23.
The two overall winners of the high school contest will go on to compete internationally this spring. Sarasota High School’s Rebecca Elsishans and Cardinal Mooney’s Courtney Alexander Astore will represent the county at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in Los Angeles, California from May 11-16.
Elsishans’ experiment, “Optimization of CO2 calcination reaction using a nickel catalyst,” captured top honors in the environmental science division. Astore’s project, “Linking the Severity of One’s Autism Diagnosis with Symptoms and Causations,” won in the behavioral and social science category. All expenses for their trip to the Intel ISEF will be paid for by the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.
Susan Scott, executive director of the Education Foundation, said that 822 Sarasota County students from 49 public, private and home schools submitted 657 individual and team projects to the regional competition. More than 160 volunteer judges evaluated submissions and interviewed students from grades 3-5 on January 28 and from grades 6-12 on January 30. Their scores determined the overall winners and winners in each of the categories.
Sarasota County Schools collaborates with the Education Foundation of Sarasota County and the Sarasota County Agricultural Fair Association to present the fair each year. Students participate by completing research in science, engineering, math or technology using the scientific or engineering method, and then submit their projects for judging at Robarts Arena in late January. The Education Foundation underwrites the regional fair, the county’s participation in international competition, and cash prizes provided through the generosity of community sponsors.
The Intel ISEF has been called the “Olympics, the World Cup, and the World Series of science competitions.” Now in its 63rd year, the Intel ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college science competition and the only science project competition for students in grades 9-12. The Intel ISEF brings together students, teachers, corporate executives, and government officials from around the world. This year, more than 1600 students from 70 countries will compete for over $4 million in scholarships, tuition grants, scientific equipment, and scientific trips.
Local sponsors support the Regional Science Fair at various levels. Leading sponsors include the Dart Foundation and The Faulhaber Foundation.
Major scholarships underwritten by sponsors are presented to outstanding high school student participants. The Faulhaber Foundation Prize for the Scientific Exploration of Nature will be awarded to two students for their accomplishments. The Dart Foundation Award for Medicine & Health, the Dart Foundation Inspiration Award, and two Omar Y. Cooper Student Achievement Awards will also be presented at the annual awards celebration scheduled for April 10.