By Bob Flynn
Register News Writer
More than 300 middle and high school students from across Kentucky converged on Eastern Kentucky University Saturday for the 11th annual Kentucky Science and Engineering Fair.
The students were there to showcase their science projects and to compete for trophies, ribbons, university and private scholarships and special awards from corporations and organizations.
High school students were also competing for an opportunity to represent Kentucky at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles in May.
The students advanced to the fair by winning in local and regional competitions across the Commonwealth.
Their projects spanned 17 different categories: Animal Sciences, Behavioral and Social Sciences, Biochemistry, Cellular & Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Science, Engineering (Materials & Bioengineering) Engineering (Electrical & Mechanical), Energy and Transportation, Environmental Management, Environmental Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Medicine and Health Sciences, Microbiology, Physics and Astronomy and Plant Sciences.
Before the event, Dr. Barbara Ramey of EKU’s Department of Biological Sciences said the university was proud to once again host the event which she callled an exciting milestone for the science and technical education community in Kentucky.
The Fair’s mission, Ramey said, is to expand educational opportun ities for all middle and high school students and to enhance the visibility and importance of science and engineering in Kentucky by providing them with competitions that encourage and recognize student excellence in science and engineering research.
“The fair also gives the public a chance to see the quality of science being done in Kentucky middle and high schools and see what the students are capable of doing,” Ramey said.
The event proved to be very popular as a large number of people turned out for the public viewing Saturday afternoon to examine the students’ exhibits, which filled the floor of EKU’s Alumni Coliseum.
While many were family and friends of the students, there were also many local individuals and other science enthusiasts there as well to talk with the students about their projects.
Blaine Gerald, a retired science teacher now living in New Mexico, said he was in town visiting friends and heard about the fair and decided to stop by and check it out.
“I taught science and biology for many years, so I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to check out something like this,” Gerald said.
He spent a long time going over each exhibit and talking with some of the students and said he like what he saw and heard.
“I am very impressed with the work these young people have out here today,” Gerald said. “It always excites me to see the outstanding work that our students are capable of. There are some very talented individuals here. It’s great that Kentucky is providing these opportunities for them and others like them.”
Following the public display, an awards ceremony was held in the O’Donnell Hall in the Charles D. Whitlock Student Success Building..