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More than a science fair

Placer County region’s brightest students to shine at Sacramento STEM Fair
By: Deleste Magda
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Students from Placer County will join hundreds of students from across the region to put their science, technology, engineering and math skills to the test.

Participants from Placer area schools including Del Oro and Granite Bay High School, Western Sierra Collegiate Academy and E.V. Cain Middle School have spent months working on projects that tackle important issues in science, technology, engineering and math.

Bowman Charter School is one of the schools participating in the fair.

“The kids are really excited about going to the fair,” said Kevin Rick, science instructor at the Bowman Charter School. “It is wonderful and these kids have exceeded my expectations.”

He said that he is constantly impressed by the kids, because they come back to class on Monday wanting to tell him about the projects they worked on over the weekend.

“It is the only class I’ve had where the children voluntarily spend more than six hours over a weekend doing extra science stuff,” Rick said. 

They will showcase their projects at the annual Synopsys Sacramento Regional Science & Engineering Fair (Sacramento STEM Fair) 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 14.

“Our students are some of the best and brightest in the world,” said David Miller, president of the Sacramento STEM Fair. “Grand prize winners routinely go on to win top honors at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.”

He said this year is more than just a science fair.

“Along with the regional competitors, international flavor this year will be added this year,” Miller said. “A group of 8 students from Sacramento’s Sister City, Jinan, China will join us to showcase their projects and interact with our students.”

He said this opportunity was made possible thanks to the Jinan-Sacramento Sister Cities Corporation.

In addition to hundreds of student projects, this year’s Synopsys Sacramento Science & Engineering Fair also features free events for members of the public including teachers, students and parents.

This includes the College & Career Expo where over 50 exhibitors will be on hand for the College & Career Hands On Event sponsored by DeVry University.

“This event provides a great opportunity for students and parents to get free information from UC, CSU and Community Colleges as well as organizations like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, California Highway Patrol and City of Sacramento,” said Ryan Endean, media specialist for the Sacramento STEM Fair. “Another goal is getting girls excited about STEM education.”

He said the Women in STEM event has an inspiring panel of professional women from science, technology, art and math backgrounds will be sharing stories and advice based on their professional journeys, careers and how they use STEM education every day.

Miller said several workshops will be held to benefit students, parents and teachers. Golden 1 Credit Union will host a workshop on financial planning for students. Creative Marbles Consultancy will host a college admissions workshop to help families navigate the complicated world of financial aid. And teachers can attend a free hands-on workshop to show how STEM projects can meet Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards requirements.

“These events are free and open to the public,” Miller said. “You do not have to be a participant in the Fair to attend the workshops.”

Each year, the Fair features hundreds of students competing in middle (6th – 8th grade) and high school (9th – 12th grade) divisions for awards and prizes.  

The Fair is open to students from schools in Amador, Butte, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba counties. 

The Fair has a long tradition of sending top talent to compete at the international level.  This year’s grand prize winners will go on to compete at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair to be held May 10 to 15 in Pittsburgh, Penn.

The Fair is a partnership of the Sacramento Regional Science & Engineering Fair Foundation (SRSEFF) and the Synopsys Outreach Foundation with additional funding from Intel, the Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG), the California Association of Professional Scientists (CAPS), Aerojet, and many others.