The Colorado State Science Fair, Inc. honors excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; providing opportunities for students from all regions of the state to create and present their research in environments that nurture interests in science and technology; promoting professional skills, high ethical standards, diversity, and continuing intellectual development.
The Colorado State Science Fair, Inc. was established in 1977 as a private, non-profit organization to run the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair (CSEF). The CSEF has actually been held annually since 1955 and is the state-level event in a year-long process of local and regional science fairs. More than three thousand students participate in science fair programs state-wide. The purpose of the CSEF is to stimulate student interest and encourage students in science and engineering through recognition of their research knowledge, ability and achievement.
Each year, a number of experiences are made available to the student finalists who participate in the CSEF. Tours of university and local corporate research facilities provide opportunities for students and their families to see research in action. Additionally, the judges' interviews allow the finalists a chance to interact with professional scientists and engineers. Over the years, many students have said that having the chance to meet and speak with their peers about their science projects is the most beneficial aspect of the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair.
In addition to getting the opportunity to interact with working scientists, CSEF finalists compete for awards in the categories of Animal Sciences; Behavioral & Social Sciences; Chemistry; Earth and Space Sciences; Energy & Transportation, Engineering; Environmental Sciences; Mathematics and Computer Sciences; Medicine & Health; Microbiology; Physics; and Plant Sciences - either as an individual or as a team project. Recognition for outstanding research in each of these categories as well as an award for technical writing are presented each year at the CSEF Awards Ceremony. The top four Senior Division projects are awarded trips to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) each year.
The Colorado Science and Engineering Fair has been undoubtedly one of the most important events of my young life. I was always a very energetic and curious child, but school and sports were hardly engaging enough for me. Fortunately, my school already had a well established science fair program that my brother had participated in for years, so I was quick to begin my science fair journey in the 5th grade. Little did I know how much of an impact science fair would have on my life.
The three most invaluable things provided by the CSEF were the friendships, experience and opportunities. Living in a small community and going to a high school with less than 120 students meant that I was one of the few students truly interested in science and engineering, but CSEF gave me a place to connect and build lifelong friendships with like-minded peers. Science fair also gave me something productive to focus my energy on, and helped me to refine my skills in research, experimentation, public speaking, presentation design, and coding (things I never would have done in school). But the most important thing that CSEF has given me is the opportunity to succeed, from countless awards from many generous donors to the opportunity to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix. THis year, because of science fair, I was awarded a paid summer internship right after graduating high school. Now I am having the time of my life helping to develop a wildfire monitoring drone at the NOAA lab in Boulder. My hard work has already begun to pay off, but I know that my experience through CSEF will continue to propel me to succedd throughout the rest of my life.
Leighton Burt (CSEF Alumni 2011-2017)