Arkansas State Science Fair at UCA

More than 300 of the state’s best high school science students will test their skills against each other at the Arkansas State Science Fair and the Junior Academy of Science meeting, to be held April 2 and 3 at the University of Central Arkansas.

The state science fair is sponsored by the Arkansas Science Fair Association, which is affiliated with Science Service of Washington, D.C. The Junior Academy of Science is sponsored by the Arkansas Academy of Science.

More than 250 students who have already won first, second, or third places at regional fairs in Arkadelphia, Batesville, Fayetteville, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Hot Springs, and Monticello are expected to exhibit their projects at the state science fair on Friday. About 75 students are expected to present the papers at the Junior Academy meeting on Saturday. This is the 50th

annual state science fair, and it is the 24th consecutive year that UCA has hosted these events.

Expense-paid trips for six students and their teachers to the International Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon, in May top the list of prizes that students can win in the state science fair. About 40 companies, professional societies and organizations provide financial support to cover the cost of providing awards and holding the fair.

The Arkansas Environmental Federation, Acxiom Corporation of Conway, Cardinal IG of Minneapolis, Protech Solutions of Little Rock, and the University of Central Arkansas are among the firms and organizations that help the ASFA provide major awards at the fair. Many volunteers from around the state donate their time and energy to holding the fair, and that number includes many UCA students, staff, and faculty.

Student winners from the Arkansas State Science Fair and regional fairs in Arkansas who have attended the International Science and Engineering Fair over the past 25 years have won significant awards.

More than 1,000 students from nearly 40 countries vie for scholarships and cash prizes each year at the ISEF. Since 1980, one of the two top awards at the international fair has been given to a student from Arkansas four different times.

The Arkansas students receiving those awards were Tammy Winstead of Springdale and Eugene Sargent of Fayetteville, both students of Bill Merrifield; Todd Rider of North Little Rock, a student of Bonnie Moody; and Jeff Schmidt of Little Rock, a student of Annice Steadman. Those students received expense-paid trips to observe the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, along with awards and scholarships worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Students participating in this year’s state science fair will assemble their exhibits in the UCA Farris Center on Friday morning, April 2. The exhibits will be judged during the afternoon by about 75 scientists, mathematicians and professional engineers from across the state. The exhibits will be open for public viewing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 3. The public is also invited to attend the Junior Academy of Science sessions on Saturday morning, April 3, in Burdick Business Administration Building, when students will present papers that describe their research.

Individual winners will be chosen in the fair and the junior academy in each of 14 categories: behavioral & social science, biochemistry, botany, chemistry, computer science, earth & space science, engineering, environmental sciences, gerontology, mathematics, medicine & health, microbiology, physics, and zoology.

Winners will also be chosen for team projects, where two or three students carry out research in one or more of the 14 categories. Winners will also be chosen for special awards provided by professional societies and the armed forces. The awards ceremony will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 3, in the Farris Center at UCA, and the public is invited to attend.

For more information contact Dr. Michael Rapp, retired faculty member of the UCA College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at (501) 327-4216, or Dr. Jerry Manion, professor of Chemistry at UCA (501) 450-5944. Rapp is the director of the state science fair, and Manion is the director of the Arkansas Junior Academy.