Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions

What is LRSEF?
The Louisville Regional Science and Engineering Fair is an annual science and engineering fair held in Louisville, Kentucky. Students in grades 6-12 from 52 Kentucky counties may enter the fair.

In addition to winning trophies, cash and other awards, top Junior winners are nominated to enter the national Broadcom MASTERS competition. Top Senior winners are promoted to compete in the International Science and Engineering Fair.


Virtual Fair Questions

How do I register for LRSEF 2021?
Register at lrsef.stemwizard.com. from December 4, 2020 through February 17, 2021.  Science, engineering or computer science projects are accepted in any one of the 21 categories. Register at the Senior level if you are in grades 9 – 12; register at the Junior level if you are in grade 6 – 8.

Teams of up to three students can work together on a project and register as a TEAM project. 

Students Under “Student Registration,” create your own username and password to set up your account. Select your school name from the AT LARGE list. From your account, you can work on and track your project progress by filling in each of the LRSEF Milestones. You can change your title, abstract, presentation materials up to 11:59 pm on Wednesday, February 17.  No late projects will be accepted.

When you register, also ask your 2021 STEM teacher to also register on lrsef.stemwizard.com under “Teacher Registration” so they can see your progress online, help you with all the parts of the process, and approve your project for LRSEF. Once your teacher registers, you can select their name from the drop-down menu.

What if my school is hosting its own Virtual Fair OR already has a STEM Wizard page?
Under special arrangements, some LRSEF schools have their own STEM Wizard registration page. For 2021 these may include Ballard HS, Central HS, Valley HS, Nur Islamic School and others. Check with your teacher/sponsor to see if your school has their own page; if they do, you must register on your school page. If you register by mistake as an At Large student, you will not find your school name in the drop-down list. Then, you will have to delete your registration and start over. If you are at one of the schools listed above, your teacher/sponsor will promote you to LRSEF when they approve your project. After you are promoted, you will see all the LRSEF Milestones and be able to pay your registration fee. 

What is the cost of LRSEF 2021?
A $10.00 fee per student is payable online with a personal credit card, a PO# from your school or with the Amazon grant. LRSEF does not accept cash or checks. Registration fees are non-refundable if you choose to withdraw or do not show up to participate.  Note: teachers must verify if you are eligible for this grant by sending a list to LRSEF.  If you qualify, then click the “Amazon Grant” button and your fees will be paid directly by the grant.

How will LRSEF 2021 be conducted online? 
LRSEF 2021 Virtual Fair will be held all day from 8am – 6pm EST/9am – 7pm CST on Saturday, March 6.  

Every registered, approved and paid project will be judged in its Category by a panel of up to 4 judges in the morning hours. Mark your calendar now to be available for 15-minute personal interviews via Zoom.

You will know in advance the time of your morning interview. On fair day, you will enter the Zoom room for your level and category at your designated time. Judges will have already reviewed your abstract and presentation, so they will want you to speak about your project and research for 5-8 minutes. You should be prepared to answer questions from the panel of judges in the remaining time.  

In the afternoon, students who rank in the top of their categories will advance to second and third round judging. New Zoom interview times will be sent to students and you will again have a 15-minute appointment with different panels of judges.

What materials do I need to prepare for LRSEF 2021 Virtual Fair?   
You will NOT be making a tri-fold poster about your project this year for LRSEF. You are also not required to submit a research paper or a lab notebook.  These are both optional items.

Instead, you will submit a title, a 250-word abstract and a written presentation (such as Power Point) including the elements that you have put on your poster for past fairs. (limit 12 pages) You may also make and link judges to a 2-minute video of yourself talking about your project. These elements will be uploaded into the LRSEF Virtual Fair Milestone in STEM Wizard. 

Complete details for how to prepare your materials can be found on the Student and Teacher LRSEF webpage or uploaded from the LRSEF STEM Wizard page -see Guidelines document under Useful Links. 

Be aware, as in the past, all forms in the Forms & Files Milestones MUST be filled out completely and uploaded (including the LRSEF Teacher/Parent/Guardian Permission form, available in the Milestone and on our Stem Wizard page). Your project must also meet all the safety standards always required, so be sure to review and answer the LRSEF Safety Certification Milestone. 

Projects with incomplete files after 11:59 p.m. Feb. 17, 2021 will not be accepted for the Virtual Fair.  

LRSEF is using the same requirements as the KY Science & Engineering Fair and the Regeneron International Science & Engineering Fair, so your materials will be ready if your project advances.

What are the Awards for LRSEF 2021?
LRSEF has raised funds to award ribbons and cash to the top 3 projects in each category, if selected as worthy by the category judges.  From these top projects Best of Fair projects will be selected; there will be 5 Best of Fair Senior Projects and 3 Best of Fair Junior Projects. 

Team projects are eligible for Category Awards, and must share the cash prize, each student on the team will receive their own ribbon. 

Three top schools at the Senior & Junior level will be awarded a cash prize and trophy. 

LRSEF will also promote every 1st & 2nd place winner to the Ky Science & Engineering Fair to be held online on March 27, 2021.  

The 5 Best of Fair Seniors will be nominated as Finalists for the Regeneron International Science & Engineering Fair to be held online in May 2021. 

The top 10% of the Junior projects will be nominated to enter Broadcom MASTERS 2021, which is a national competition culminating in a weeklong STEM event, held online in October 2021. 

The decisions made by the LRSEF judges are final. No re-judging will be held. For complete criteria, see the Judges page of the LRSEF website.

Will there also SPECIAL AWARDS at the LRSEF 2021 Virtual Fair?
Yes, all students will be eligible to be judged for up to 39 different Special Awards, with some being national and some being locally sponsored. Check out last year’s awards to see some of the winning projects and prizes. 

For 2021, you may nominate your project for up to 3 awards by completing the Special Awards Milestone in your registration before the February 17 deadline.  If you are eligible for the AMAZON award, you should indicate this in the Special Awards Milestone. 

Your project materials in the Virtual Fair Milestone will be judged online by a panel of qualified special awards judges for all special awards during the week of February 27 – March 3, 2021. You will NOT need to be available for a Zoom interview for the first round of judging for the Special Awards. 

Special Note for the “TOP TEN” Special Awards!  
Zoom personal interviews will be held on Thursday March 4 between 4 – 8 pm EST/5 – 9pm CST for several finalists selected for these ten Special Awards. So, if you have nominated yourself for one of the top ten Special Awards, you may need to be available for a panel of judges to talk with you about your project on that day. Advanced appointments will be made for this process. 

A list of these “Top Ten” Special Awards will be made by February 1, 2021. 

How and when will the LRSEF 2021 Awards be announced? 
Awards will not be announced on March 6, 2021. LRSEF 2021 will host an online Awards Ceremony in the week following fair day. The date and time of the Awards Ceremony will be announced by January 1st, and likely be held on Sunday, March 7 or Monday, March 8 as an online video-based event. After this online Awards Ceremony is held, all awards will be posted online at lrsef.org

How will I receive my awards?   
Since the LRSEF 2021 will be a Virtual Fair, the distribution of ribbons, checks, trophies and certificates and other prizes will not be handed out in person during the Award Ceremony.  

LRSEF is exploring several options for distributing awards including, mailing awards, sending awards to each school for distribution or hosting one or more “drive by “events so that students and families can register to safely pick up their awards. 

Watch lrsef.org for announcements about details about the Award Ceremony and distribution of 2021 awards as fair day approaches.  


Project Questions

Why should I do a science and engineering fair project?
If you enjoy solving problems and creating hands-on experiments, you can work independently and create a good science fair project. Your ability to put it all together with a research paper, a display board illustrating your work and rehearsing a short talk about your work will be very rewarding. These experiences will help you learn about the world around you in a different way than the typical homework assignment in science or mathematics. You can also meet new friends AND win prizes!

Does my school have to host a fair for me to enter the Louisville Regional Science & Engineering Fair?
NO! You can enter LRSEF independently. Each school is allowed to enter five projects in each category. A school fair is only necessary to narrow down the number of projects if there are more than five in a category. If your school does host a fair, you need to do your best at that event so you will be selected to come to LRSEF.

How long do I need to complete a competitive science or engineering project?
Most well-thought-out projects take 6-8 weeks to allow enough time to plan the project, conduct experiments, collect data, chart progress and document results.

What are the categories?
LRSEF has 21 project categories including Plant and Animal Sciences, Astronomy, Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science, medical and behavioral sciences. Your project must fit into one of the 21 categories. For more information, visit the Student Resources section of our website.

How do I come up with an idea?
Ideas come from many places: radio, magazines, and newspapers. The main thing is to find a topic area that YOU care about. If you are interested, you will do a much better job. Do not just take a random idea that is not really yours because it is difficult to work hard on something you do not love thinking about. Additional resources are available in the Student Resources section.

I have an idea, but don’t know how to start. What can I do?
Check out the websites we recommend and look at the sample project ideas. Talk about your idea with your friends and family. If you are still stuck, contact LRSEF with a specific question. We will reach out to you and help you get started. If you are tackling a difficult problem, we can put you in touch with a local mentor.

Why do I need to fill out forms?
All science research has protocols to follow, and the forms we ask you to complete have been developed to reflect what would be required in a true research project. Forms are also necessary for your safety and protection.

I do not have a teacher to assist me. Can someone help me?
Definitely! Contact us at info@lrsef.org with specific questions. We will respond and help guide you through the process. You may also reach out to adult neighbors or friends with an interest in STEM subjects to help you.

May I work with a friend?
You may create a team of up to three people, but your project design must require teamwork. When the judges come to interview your team, 16 percent of your score will be based on how well a team worked together and the need for partner(s). Do not choose to work with a friend just because you think it will be easier. Work with a friend because you share the same passions and you feel your project will do better with his or her partnership.

How do I register for LRSEF?
To register and file your project with STEM Wizard, click on the Apply Now tab on our website or go to https://lrsef.stemwizard.com/. Your registration and all of your project information must be complete by the registration deadline.


Other Questions?

Thank you for your interest in LRSEF. For additional information or questions, email us at info@lrsef.org

Send your detailed question and contact information, including a preferred phone number and time for one of our volunteers to contact you. Please note, LRSEF does not have a phone number, only email.