Local Youth Scientists Showcase Their Independent Research
On Saturday, March 8, 2014 over 400 students from schools across the county showcased their independent research projects to more than 100 volunteer judges representing local scientists, university research staff, educators, graduate students and community partners. The annual Santa Cruz County Science & Engineering Fair provides an essential foundation for new scientific discoveries as well as mentoring opportunities for scientists and graduate students from our local universities. Generous funding from Seagate Technology has continued to provide the support needed for this important scholastic forum.
We have a very diverse group of schools involved in the fair, with students from public, private, and charter schools coming together in a common scholastic forum. Our participation in Pajaro Valley schools is continuing to increase, and this year both Watsonville HS and Pajaro Valley HS students are represented. Each year, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Register Pajaronian, and other media outlets come to speak with students, take photos, and highlight the scientific excellence of our young scholars.
Anyone who visited the public viewing of projects on Saturday evening had the opportunity to explore projects on power from ocean waves, wifiís effect on plants, driving habits of Santa Cruz residents, ants and where they get their energy, air quality in the San Lorenzo Valley, ocean health computer programs, bacteria on reusable shopping bags, GMOs affects on insects, river water quality near orangutan habitats, and much more. Volunteering as a judge, or visiting the public viewing, one will be filled with awe as they stand among hundreds of sophisticated research projects, and imagine the amount of time and thought that went into creating them.
Award winning projects were marked for public viewing on Saturday, but students' actual placing and the announcement of special awards and overall awards will take place at the Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, March 18 at Cabrillo College's Samper Recital Hall. A list of award winners is available online. Forty of the top Junior and Senior Division projects will go on to compete in the California State Science Fair in April and the two top High School projects will attend the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in May with more than 1,600 high school students from over 70 countries, regions, and territories to compete for more than $4 million in awards.
Largely because of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), our world has changed. Today, with the requirements of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, experiences like the Science & Engineering Fair are just what our students need to develop the 4Cís of Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, and Critical Thinking.
Clearly, the students participating in the Santa Cruz County Science & Engineering Fair are deeply involved in their research and provide all of us with new ways of thinking and the potential for solving serious societal and environmental problems. Students continue to amaze our scientific community with thought-provoking questions and enthusiastic, insightful approaches to investigating hypotheses. Through the interactions with our judges from the local science and engineering community, each student receives acknowledgement of their pursuit of scientific discovery and feedback on how they can take the next step in their research. The continuous process of inquiry and learning is what is most important, and ultimately what the Science and Engineering Fair represents.
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Science & Engineering Fair 2013 News