Information for Students and their sponsors who qualify to attend the New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair (State Competition).

The 70th Annual New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair will be held April 1-2, 2022 on the New Mexico Tech campus in Socorro.  Exhibitors at the State Science and Engineering Fair have qualified to attend through their Regional Science Fair competition. 

New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair receives a copy of the your regional fair entry form, but we MUST also receive an official state registration form. 

You are required to bring the same project to the New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair.  However, you may change the name of your project, change categories, or change from a table to a floor exhibit (or vice versa).  In order to do this, you must indicate your changes during registration.


The New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair (NMSEF) accepts the top exhibits from the six regional science fairs in the state.  It is held each in early April on the campus of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NMIMT) in Socorro.  Its objectives are 1) to recognize and reward excellence in science, mathematics, and engineering projects carried out by middle and high school students from throughout the state and, 2)  to select the projects from the state to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) held in May in a major city each year.  The 2022 Regeneron ISEF will be held in Atlanta, GA, May 8-13, 2022.

The fair is divided into two divisions.  The Junior Division includes students in grades six through nine.  The Senior Division includes students in grades nine through 12.  Ninth graders may choose either of the two divisions.  Each division is further divided into categories:  Please make sure your exhibit is in the right category.

There must be at least six (6) exhibits per category.  The State Science Fair personnel reserve the right to reassign exhibits as deemed necessary.


Exhibit Check-In will take place from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, April 1st, in the lobby of the Joseph A. Fidel Student Center.  You must check in your exhibit before you will be allowed to set up.  Exhibitors may not check-in or set up exhibits on Saturday morning.  No exceptions will be made.

Parking is unrestricted; vehicles may park in any parking lot on campus.  Vehicles MAY NOT pull into the area behind the Exhibit Hall (Gymnasium) at any time.


The registration fee is $40.00 per exhibitor.  Included in your packet will be a Participation Certificate, a Science Fair pin, and one Saturday lunch ticket. 

Registration fees for student exhibitors may be paid for in advance with a School Purchase Order.  Schools may mail their Purchase Order to the Science Fair office prior to the Science Fair or email to  Purchase orders must include student name(s), school name and name(s) of sponsors. 

Students please note:  IF YOUR SCHOOL IS PAYING FOR YOUR REGISTRATION FEE, please do so in advance. Otherwise you will be charged for the payment during registration.

New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair ACCEPTS credit card payments. Payments can be made online here

Additional lunch tickets may be purchased during lunch. Other meals are the responsibility of the participants. 

Once a Student Exhibitor has checked in and received his/her registration packet, they may take their project to the Gymnasium to set up.  Junior Division exhibits will be set up in the West Gymnasium, and Senior Division exhibits in the East Gymnasium. 

One 120-volt grounded electrical outlet will be available for each exhibitor who requests one.  Exhibitors should come prepared with tools and other equipment to set up and repair their displays.  These items will not be supplied by Science Fair personnel.

After your exhibit is completely set up, it is your responsibility to find a Project Checker to review and approve your display.  Checkers will be wearing orange vests.  Your project will not be eligible for judging unless the approval sticker is properly displayed.  Nothing may be added to the exhibit after it has been approved by the checker.  The Exhibit Hall will close at 8:00 p.m. on Friday.  Plan your set-up time accordingly.

New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair and it's affiliates are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged equipment or supplies to any project while on display during the New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair.  This includes set-up and tear-down times. 

On Saturday morning, from 7:45 to 8:00 a.m., the Exhibit Hall will be open to exhibitors only to come in briefly to turn on displays, equipment, etc. in preparation for judging.  This time is to be used for this purpose only, and cannot be used to complete your exhibit set up.


All projects dealing with humans, non-human vertebrate animals, pathogenic agents, controlled substances, recombinant DNA (rDNA) or human and animal tissue must have the appropriate forms and certificates (protocols) on file with the Science Fair office. These forms must be signed and dated in accordance with ISEF regulations and your regional fair's deadline.  Your regional fair will forward them to the State Science Fair Office, and they will be reviewed by the State Fair Scientific Review Committee.  Exhibitors who fail to present the proper protocols will be disqualified.


There are two types of awards presented at New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair, special awards and category awards. 

Special awards are provided by industries, businesses, professional organizations, universities, and the branches of the Armed Forces. They include plaques, cash awards, saving bonds, merchandise, and scholarships.
Category awards include first, second and third place, and several honorable mentions in each category.  Junior Division, first place winners receive cash awards.  In the Senior Division, cash awards are awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.
In addition, Grand Award Winners are selected for each of the two divisions.  In the Junior Division, there are two Grand Award winners, one in the life sciences and one in the physical sciences.  These exhibitors receive cash awards and/or merchandise awards.

In the Senior Division, the top two exhibitors in the life sciences and the top two exhibitors in the physical sciences become ISEF qualifiers.  Their awards include all-expenses paid trips to for the students and their sponsors to attend and exhibit at ISEF.  Team projects are also eligible to receive Grand Award status. Two additional  Grand Award winners are designated alternates to ISEF.  In the event that an ISEF qualifier is unable to attend the ISEF, the Alternate would become an ISEF exhibitor.  Even if all the qualifiers go to ISEF, the State Science Fair will pay partial or full expenses toward the trip to ISEF for alternates, enabling them to go as student observers.  Student observers cannot exhibit their projects at the ISEF.

Two awards programs will be held on Saturday evening in the Macey Center Theater.  Names of winners will not be available to exhibitors or the general public until they are announced at the awards programs. 

The awards program for the Junior Division begins at 6:00 p.m.  The Senior Division program begins at 7:30 p.m. and includes a presentation by the winner of the Junior Academy of Science Scientific Paper Competition.  Open seating will begin 15 minutes prior the start of the Awards Assemblies. 

Exhibit tear-down is from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Student exhibitors must have their name tag to enter the Exhibit Hall to tear down.  Exhibits may not be taken down before 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, no exceptions!  Any exhibits and equipment remaining after 8:00 p.m. will be discarded.


Category award judges are drawn from the industrial, professional, scientific, and engineering communities from around the state.  They are formed into committees, one for each category in each division.  Each committee is responsible for determining the winners in that particular category. 
Special award judges are usually selected by the sponsoring organization. Not all projects may be judged. Sponsoring organizations limit their judging topics to their particular interests. All students MUST be in attendance.
Overall, judges look for well thought-out research.  They look at how significant the project is in its field, as well as how thorough the student was.  Was something left out?  Did the student start with four experiments and finish only three?  In particular, judges evaluate (1) how well a student followed the scientific method; (2) the detail and accuracy of the research notebook; and (3) if tools/equipment were used in the best possible way.

Judges applaud those students who can speak freely and confidently about their research.  They are not interested in memorized speeches; they simply want to talk with the student about the research to see if the student has a good grasp of the project from start to finish.  Besides asking the obvious questions, judges often ask questions outside the normal scope to test insight into the research such as "What didn't you do?" and "What would be your next step?"

Judging begins at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday without the exhibitors at their exhibits.  Each exhibit is judged initially by three category award judges.  After the scores for the three judges are combined, the judging committee meets and reviews the exhibits and their scores.  Special award judges follow their own criteria to determine their awards.

Judges interview exhibitors from 10:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.  Please be at your exhibit promptly.  The initial scores and the results of the interviews form the basis for the final determination of winners at the second caucus.

The length of the interview period will depend on the committee.  Exhibitors should remain at their exhibits throughout the judging interview periods for special and grand award judging.  Although not all student exhibitors will be re-interviewed, it is necessary for them to remain at their exhibit until 3:30 p.m. 


A luncheon will be served from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday.  As part of the exhibitor registration package, student exhibitors will receive a ticket to the luncheon.  Additional tickets may be purchased from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at the entrance of the Joseph A. Fidel Center, 3rd floor Ballroom. Other meals are the responsibility of the participants. 

Overnight accommodations in Socorro are the responsibility of Science Fair participants.  The State Science Fair office does not make motel reservations, nor are any dormitory facilities available on campus.  Make your reservations early!  Please refer to the City of Socorro website for lodging information.


The Exhibit Hall is open to the public from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.  Exhibitors are encouraged to be at their exhibits for at least part of the time on Saturday afternoon if possible.


Friday Evening:


On Saturday evening, immediately following the Senior Division Awards Ceremony, a reception will be held in Macey Center for all Intel International Science and Engineering Fair qualifiers, alternates, their sponsors and parents.  This includes all regional ISEF participants.  Regional Directors will be in attendance to answer questions and assist in filling out forms.  ISEF winners from around the state will be honored and plans will be finalized for the trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May.  It is important that everyone who will be a part of the New Mexico delegation to ISEF attend this meeting. 

ISEF qualifiers, their sponsors, Regional Fair personnel, and State Science Fair personnel make up the Official Party to the Intel ISEF.  Alternates and their sponsors may be included if they are being supported financially by a regional fair or the State Science Fair.

Anyone who is not part of the Official Party and is planning attending the Intel ISEF is responsible for their own arrangements.