SUU’s College of Science will host the annual Southern Utah Science and Engineering Fair (SUSEF) on Tuesday, March 22 — continuing a 35-year tradition for the regional science competition at SUU.
SUSEF is for students in grades 5-12 throughout southern Utah and spans several categories of competition, including animal science, behavioral science, medicine, physics, Earth sciences, environmental sciences and consumer sciences.
In addition to providing local students an opportunity to showcase their ideas to a broad academic community, the SUSEF serves as a qualifier for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). The top four students from the regional competition — counted among the world’s brightest young science scholars — will receive an all expense paid trip to the international competition where they will compete for millions of dollars in prizes, scholarships and internships.
According to Kristina Bronsema, SUSEF director and physical science lab specialist at SUU, this is quite an opportunity — one that could permanently impact the academic and professional futures of four local youth.
For its part, Southern Utah University does much to support the regional science community. In addition to helping coordinate the annual science competition, SUU’s College of Science provides instruction and resources to local science teachers through such initiatives as The Voyager, a traveling science classroom with the very latest in scientific curriculum and technology; the Cedar Mountain Science Camp, a summer day camp for local elementary school children and curriculum development model for elementary school teachers; and the Ashcroft Observatory’s community night every Monday evening, providing instruction and wonder to families, scout groups, etc.
Beyond serving as academic competition, the SUSEF does much to encourage students within the sciences by showing local youth of all ages the myriad interests and possibilities within the field of science.
The science fair is open to the public from 10 a.m. until noon on March 22. Bronsema and her colleagues encourage local educators as well as parents to take advantage of this opportunity to use the fair as a way to get the children under their charge excited about science and to give them an opportunity to explore the various fields of science.
She adds, “the projects are so diverse and inventive — the fair often proves just as inspiring to our students here at SUU as it does to younger children in the community.”
The competition is split into two groups based on age, junior and senior. The junior fair is for children in the fifth through eighth grades and will be held in the Sharwan Smith Student Center Ballroom. The senior fair, for grades nine through 12, will be held in the Centrum Arena.
After the public showcase and formal presentations to the judges, SUSEF participants will work together in a variety of science related activities. This year’s winners will then be announced in an awards ceremony at 3:30 p.m. in the Great Hall within the Hunter Conference Center.