Results and Impact: 50th Anniversary Science & Engineering Fair

The Louisville Regional Science & Engineering Fair (LRSEF) was held on Friday & Saturday, March 7& 8, 2014 at the University of Louisville.  LRSEF attracted — 201 projects created by 209 students, including eight team projects. Students and teachers represented twenty schools across five Kentucky counties: Bullitt, Jefferson, Oldham, Hardin, and McCracken.

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the science and engineering fairs held in the Louisville region, LRSEF welcomed its first title sponsor General Electric Appliances and announced a new Best of Fair GE Award Fund of $25,000 established by a GE Community Leadership gift designated for LRSEF by Kevin Nolan, VP of Global Technologies.

Beginning in 2014 and continuing for the next nine years the top three LRSEF Senior winning projects will receive $600 each from this new fund, while the top three Junior winning projects will each receive $250, along with a special commemorative trophy designed and manufactured by GE Appliances at Appliance Park.

The 2014 winners of the Best of Fair GE Award were, at the Senior level, Chita Kumar and Nicholas McClure of Ballard High School (Jefferson County) and the team of Jason Bunch(Elizabethtown HS/ Hardin County) and Erin Burba (Paducah Tilghmann HS/McCracken County) who currently attend The Carol E. Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky.  At the Junior level, winners were Analisa Conway, Joshua Jacob and Luca Sanchez all from St. Francis of Assisi School of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

LRSEF is affiliated with Society for Science & the Public (SSP), sponsor of the annual INTEL International Science Fair (ISEF). The LRSEF Senior Best of Fair winners and their teachers were awarded a sponsored trip to ISEF in Los Angeles, California held on May 11-16, 2014.  LRSEF sends Junior and Senior category winners to the Kentucky Science & Engineering Fair, March 28 & 29 at Eastern Kentucky University.

Also in celebration of the 50th anniversary, LRSEF was able to increase all individual awards to student projects by 50% over the previous year through generous grant support from The Cralle Foundation, LGE/KU, ZEON, The Kentucky Science Fair Endowment, The Society for American Military Engineers, Kiwanis Clubs of Louisville Foundation and PGXL Laboratories, as well as many individual sponsors.

This year LRSEF awarded a total of $5,130 in First, Second and Third Place prizes at the Senior ($75, 60, 45) and Junior ($60, 45, 30) levels in 17 different categories, along with commemorative ribbons. Every student competing at LRSEF and all 162 volunteer Judges received a commemorative 50th Anniversary t-shirt created and donated by the GE Asia Pacific  American Forum, a network of GE team members working in a new partnership to help expand LRSEF to engage students throughout its 13 county service area. Each student also earned a LRSEF backpack, a certificate of participation and numerous other gifts donated by area sponsors.

In addition, Special Awards from nearly 50 regional & national organizations were given out to student projects with the value in excess of $5,000 in cash prizes, certificates, invitations to VIP events, memberships, subscriptions to STEM magazines and newsletters. Representatives of many of these organizations provided volunteer judges to select their winners.

LRSEF increased its School Awards by 50% to a total of $1,500, the 2014 winning high schools were:  1st Ballard, 2nd Gatton Academy and a tie for third by Kentucky Country Day, North Oldham and Portland Christian School.  Junior level School Awards went to St. Francis of Assisi- first, Anchorage Public School – second, and Carrithers Middle- third. Schools received $375 for first, $225 for second and $150 for third, along with a newly GE designed LRSEF School Trophy.

The second annual LRSEF Leadership Award was presented to Dr. Lawrence Gettleman, DMD, MSD, professor of prosthodontics & biomaterials at the University of Louisville for his distinguished service to the international science fair community.  He was recognized for over twenty years of local leadership including co-founding the Kentucky Science Fair Endowment and for attracting ISEF to Kentucky in l997. The 2014 LRSEF Leadership Award was presented by the 2013 winner, Dr. Thomas H. Crawford, LRSEF Emeritus Board leader and retired provost from U of L.

2014 LRSEF Facts & Figures:

162 professionally qualified volunteer Judges donated weekend time to converse with participants about their projects, goals and interests.

128 Junior Level projects were registered by students in grades 6-8 from 12 schools  including Anchorage Public School,  Carrithers  Middle , Hebron Middle, North Oldham Middle, Nur Islamic School of Louisville, Sayers Classical Academy, Savior Lutheran School, South Oldham Middle, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Mary Academy, St. Patrick Catholic, and Westport Middle.  (63%)

73 Senior Level projects were registered by students in grades 9-12 from 8 schools, including Ballard High School, Bullitt Advanced Math & Science Program, Kentucky Country Day, North Oldham County High School, Portland Christian School, St. Xavier High School, The Carol E. Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics & Science in Kentucky, and Valley High School.  (37%)