Synopsys Alameda County Science & Engineering Fair hosts an annual fair open to all students 6th to 12th grade in Alameda County, however, hosting this amazing event is not all that we do! Board members spend the year reaching out to schools and teachers, offering Parent Information Nights and teacher training, both in their own classroom and to groups of teachers. Our goal is to equip every school site with an 'expert' and help them build the hands-on science programs within their schools. We offer e-Mentors to Title 1 students and first time fair participants. Additionally, we train our returning high school students how to mentor middle school students. These high school students host weekly or monthly Science & Engineering Workshops, at local elementary schools, encouraging and supporting the younger students to participate and compete at the county fair. Additionally, as school sites and teachers become more comfortable with science fair and use more experimentation, exploration, and engineering within their classrooms, we help them develop and maintain school site 'feeder' fairs.
"The science fair is an opportunity to show everyone what students are able to accomplish in the area of science." Tanvi, 10th grade AVHS
"My only question is "why not do the science fair?" the project helped; me to learn to manage my time wisely. There simply is no late work accepted - your work must be ready to present." Kari, 11th grade AVHS
"The science fair was a wonderful experience. Participating allows you to mature as an individual by taking on a massive project. When all is done the project brings you a wonderful sense of fulfillment that I've just never experienced in other classes. I can't wait to participate again next year." Christopher, 11th grade AVHS
Heather Pereira, Teacher - Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton CA
Teaching science in California is changing. We are happily embracing the Next Generation Science Standards and moving away from teaching students to memorize and regurgitate facts. With these new standards our students will be asked to think critically about science issues and to use engineering tools to solve real world science problems. When students participate in the Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair they are, simply as a consequence of the work, thinking critically and solving real world science problems. This is one of the main reasons that I have been heavily promoting the science fair to my students. The benefits to the students are incredible yet not fully realized by the students until they have been through the process.
Students seem to shy away from doing authentic independent science research. I am thrilled that I had the opportunity to teach a scientific research course this school year. There were 31 students enrolled in the course and each one went through the entire research project process and eventually presented their work to others. Students who go through this process learn to persevere, they learn to be goal oriented and they certainly learn time management. They also learn about content in a completely different way than they are used to.
We had more students from Pleasanton participate in the Alameda County Science Fair this year than we have ever had participate before. The momentum is definitely building! Students from our school did very well and they were thrilled to see so many of their classmates going up on stage to receive awards. The students enjoyed the course, especially the daily contact we had to talk about their projects and so they could work on and set up their projects at school.
2016 Grand Award Winner - Jessika Baral is one of 40 students in the nation named a finalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search and will be competing in Washington DC in March for over 100,000 dollars in scholarships.
2015 Grand Award Winner Hannah Edge - Life after the fairs!
Competitions such as ISEF, CSSF and ACSEF serve as catalysts for students' ideas and academic growth. In my case, it helped me reassess my project's presentation strategy and value. These competitions have highlighted the importance of strong presentation skills and the ability to connect with judges or potential investors. After ISEF and CSSF, I attended a number of medical conferences and met with a number of Angel Investors including Dr. Bashi, the Chair of Life Science Angels, a leading Bay Area Angel Investing Group. I received valuable feedback regarding my biomedical device and advice on funding. Today, I am in the process of having the project evaluated by kickstarter.com as well as incorporating as a startup. It is a long process and investors are savvy. They are looking for innovative solutions in the biomedical space, tailored presentations that capture the value of the market and that reflect a strong vision. As a founder, I realized that some of us start as subject matter experts, but we know virtually nothing about running a business. Entrepreneurship is difficult and it is time consuming, but there are a number of business leaders and investors willing to consult and advise young entrepreneurs. And as Sir Isaac Newton said, "If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants."
2014 Grand Prize Winner
Kumaran Ratnam - Dublin High School, has been named one of Popular Mechanic's 9 future breakthrough award winners. Selected from ALL of the science fairs throughout the country. http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/engineering/news/the-next-generation-9-future-breakthrough-award-winners#slide-1
2014 Grand Prize Winners
Vaishnavi Shrivastava - Mission San Jose High School, & Janel Lee - Amador Valley High School, BOTH have just been named to the Siemens competition Semifinalist list! Wow - way to go! This is so exciting considering the thousands of students from all over the country that enter!