Next Generation of Scientists Compete At Tech

SOCORRO, N.M. April 7, 2010 – More than 300 middle school and high school scholars from every corner of New Mexico will exhibit their research projects Saturday, April 10, at the 58th Annual New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair on the New Mexico Tech campus.

The student exhibitors will compete for more than $100,000 in awards and scholarships – and entry into the International Science Fair in May. Students qualify for the state competition by placing in one of six regional events.


Volunteers Needed

The Science Fair office at New Mexico Tech still needs volunteers judges, scorers and officials for Saturday's event.

Judges are needed in Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Medicine & Health, Microbiology, Cellular & Molecular Biology, Earth & Planetary Science and Energy & Transportation.

Any Tech faculty or students interested in volunteering should call director Tony Ortiz at 5678 or 6774.


The state Science Fair office at New Mexico Tech has put together an impressive array of scholarships from private industry, universities, military branches and divisions, scientific associations and national laboratories. Honors – and scholarships – are awarded in 15 categories of life science and physical science.

The event recognizes the many hours of hard work and research that students put into their projects.

“These students are very excited to be here,” Ortiz said. “For most of them, it’s the last step of competition, like the state finals in an athletic competition. This is a special experience to compete with all other students from New Mexico. They get to see what other students are researching.”

The event is has a social component. Many of the students have been coming to New Mexico Tech for the state event since their sixth grade year.

The categories include a wide range of sciences – from chemistry and zoology to behavioral science. In each category, at least four projects will win awards – first, second, third and honorable mention.

From the category winners, four students – two in life science and two in physical science – will win all-expense paid trips to the international event in San Jose, Calif.

“The 300 entries all represent the cream of the crop,” Ortiz said. “They’ve already been through two rounds of competition – at their school and at regionals. The projects we send to the International Science and Engineering Fair are serious competitors.”

Each regional science fair is also eligible to award entry into the International Fair. Typically, nearly two dozen New Mexico students participate in the global event and present a good showing for the Land of Enchantment.

Exhibits at the state science fair will be judged Saturday, April 10, during the morning and early afternoon, with display areas opening for public viewing later that afternoon, from 4 to 7 p.m. in the New Mexico Tech Gymnasium.

Awards will be announced in Macey Center. The junior division awards will be announced at 6 p.m. The senior division awards will be announced at 7:30 p.m.

The evening before the event, the Tech marketing department will host a pizza party for the visiting students and offer tickets to the evening’s Performing Arts Series show, featuring illusionist Jason Bishop.

New Mexico Tech has been hosting the New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair since the science fair's inception in 1953.

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By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech