The mission of the Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation (SARSEF) is to bring out the scientist in K-12 students. To this end, the Foundation helps more than 90,000 students in schools throughout the region to set up scientific projects on just about any subject that interests them. Although the emphasis is on the sciences, students may choose subjects in the liberal arts and even sports.
Around 2,000 of these projects will be on display at SARSEF’s 62nd annual Science Fair. The Fair runs from March 29 through April 1st at the Tucson Convention Center. Four hundred judges will review the entries. All first-placed projects will be eligible to go to the AZ State Fair in Phoenix in March. The top 7 high school projects will go to the International Fair in LA in May.
Past projects have studied:
- the effects of carbonated soda on teeth
- the antibacterial properties of Sonoran Desert plants
- the accuracy of computer simulations using flight test data
- a study of submarine design and its relationship to fluid dynamics efficiency
- the relationship between our changing environment and endangered species
- the effects of auditory memory in students with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder
- a survey of microbes in the gastrointestinal tracts of three species of Phrynosoma(horned lizard)
More than 60 percent of SARSEF winners go on to win a Grand Award at the International Fair (ISEF) — and they have done so for 14 years straight! The national average is just 15 percent per year.
At this moment the organization is still looking for volunteers to act as judges and for other tasks in support of the Fair. Judges do not need to have a scientific background, just a passion for encouraging kids to realize their potential.
SARSEF is funded by donations from businesses and individuals. Tucson Electric Power (TEP) is the primary sponsor of this year’s Fair.
The Weekly Green spoke with SARSEF Deputy Director Liz Baker.