By Thomas Guengerich

SOCORRO, N.M., Feb. 2, 2009 – The state Science Fair and state Science Olympiad events are looking for New Mexico Tech professors and students to be judges for upcoming events.

Director Tony Ortiz said the most critical need is for judges for the New Mexico State Science and Engineering Fair, which will be at New Mexico Tech on Friday and Saturday, April 3 and 4.

More than 400 bright young students qualify for the state Science Fair through regional competitions. Ortiz said he optimally needs 200 judges to critique and rate projects.

“Our most pressing need is for life science judges,” Ortiz said. “We typically have a good group of physical science judges at Tech, but we’re always looking for more life science judges.”

Ortiz encouraged Tech professors to invite their life science colleagues at other universities to volunteer for the event.

Anyone interested in serving as a judge on Saturday, April 4, should contact Ortiz at sciencefair@admin.nmt.edu or 835-5678.

High school and middle school students from around the state spend two days at New Mexico Tech present their projects in the gymnasiums. The state winners earn scholarships from industry groups, universities, military branches, national labs and other groups. The top presentations in each category compete for an entry into the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, which will be in Reno, Nev., in May. Only the top two – one in life science and one in physical science – win an all-expense paid trip to participate in the International Fair.

“The New Mexico delegation is very well represented among the winners at the International Science Fair,” Ortiz said. “Our students do very well internationally.”

As the event nears, Ortiz will also need Tech student volunteers to help coordinate the event.

The New Mexico Science Olympiad is in need of event supervisors. Ortiz needs volunteers to coordinate events in biology, computer science, chemistry and mechanical engineering.

Science Olympiad brings 25 middle school and 25 high school teams of 15 students to Tech for the day-long event Saturday, Feb. 21. With teachers and coaches, nearly 1,000 visitors will be on campus for the event.

Teams field pairs of contestants in more than a dozen practical science events that challenge students in problem solving.

– NMT –