Do you remember your first science fair project? All that research in the library, carefully printing your experimental procedure, plotting your results, and the nail-biting presentation for the judges — it’s all coming back, isn’t it? Well, thousands of students are going through that same thing right now in preparation for the 2009 District of Columbia Mathematics, Science & Technology (DC MST) Fair on Saturday, March 14 at the McKinley Technology High School from 8:30 until noon.
One piece of this is still needed, and that’s judges. For the senior projects that means very knowledgeable folks; trust me, these kids are sharp! For the junior projects, more a more general background is needed. And really, it’s not all robots! Expertise is needed in animal sciences, behavioral and social sciences, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, chemistry, computer science. earth and planetary science, engineering, environmental sciences, mathematical sciences, medicine and health sciences, microbiology, physics and astronomy, and plant sciences. The two top winners here will go on to compete with students from all over the world at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
To be honest, the DC fair has been pretty dismal in the past, owing primarily to a lack of staff support. I’ve judged science fairs across the region for several years and I can tell you that the DC fair has come a long way. It was still worth going to even when you were lucky to get a printed list of projects, let alone the catered breakfast and lunch, packet and clipboard, and staff support that’s provided today (by the very generous and competent Walter Reed Army Institute of Research). The reason it’s worth it is simple: the kids. These are the ones who have the drive to make a career in science and technology and a difference in the world. Many have had little or no exposure to the S&T community, so the 5 or 10 minutes you spend with them is priceless.
The deadline to register in DC is March 2, 2009. See you there?
And on the theme of fairness, here are links to other 2009 area fairs and the hours they are open for judging:
Northern Virginia Regional Science and Engineering Fair at the Wakefield High School, Saturday, March 7th, 9:30 AM until 1:00 PM
Montgomery Area Science Fair at the Reckord Armory Building at the University of Maryland, Saturday, March 21, 8AM until 5:30 PM
Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair at the Robinson Secondary School, Saturday, March 28th, 7:30 AM until noon
Prince George’s Area Science Fair at the Howard B. Owens Science Center at the PG Community College, Saturday, March 28th, 7:45AM until 1:00PM.