February 26, 2010
AE Regional Science Festival
More than 100 Senior Division (high school) and Junior Division (middle school) who won first, second, or third place at the Austin Energy Regional Science Festival last night (Thursday) now advance to the ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair in San Antonio, April 9-12. The winners were tops in 17 science categories and two team categories during the festival held at the Palmer Events Center in Austin, Feb. 25-27.
Murchison Middle School and Vista Ridge High School were the regional festival’s Sweepstakes winners. Sweepstakes awards go to one Senior Division school and one Junior Division school, each scoring the highest number of points accumulated from first, second and third place science project wins. Sweepstakes winners are awarded a trophy and the science department of each school received a $1,000 grant from Austin Energy. This is the fifth consecutive year for both schools to receive this award.
Three Best of Fair awards were also presented to two Senior Division individuals and one team project chosen out of all first place winners. These winners have the option to skip the state science fair in San Antonio and automatically advance to the International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, California, May 9-14. Travel expenses for these students are covered by Synopsys, one of the festival’s Gold sponsors. Winners for the individual projects include Max Wimberley of the Liberal Arts & Science Academy and Matthew Chang of Chang Homeschool. The Best of Fair Team Project award went to Shantanu Banerjee and Varun Koneru of Westwood High School.
In all, Austin Energy presented almost 200 first through fifth place awards as well as 32 special awards from universities, the armed forces and professional organizations that promote education in the fields of math and science. For a complete list of winners, visit the Austin Energy Regional Science Festival Web site at http://www.sciencefest.org/index.php.
The Austin Energy Regional Science Festival is one of the largest of 20 regional science fairs in Texas and one of just a few that include elementary students. These regional science fairs are the run-offs for Junior Division and Senior Division students who placed at their local school fairs and are competing for a spot in the state science fair.
This year, the number of middle school participants increased by about 120, or an almost 40% increase. There were 470 middle school projects, 220 high school projects, and almost 1,800 elementary projects. Participants came from 19 high schools, 37 middle schools, and 159 elementary schools.
The annual event attracts more than 3,500 students and their families. More than 400 judges and 100 volunteers from the City of Austin, local businesses, colleges, and elementary/middle/high schools contributed to the event’s success.