Young Scientists Inspired, Honored at State Science Fair

More than 900 middle and high schoolers will present their research and compete for scholarships during a state science fair coordinated by the University of Central Florida.

The 58th annual State Science & Engineering Fair of Florida began Tuesday, March 26, at the Lakeland Center. Fair activities are coordinated by the Florida Foundation for Future Scientists, which is housed at UCF thanks to funding from the Florida Department of Education.

“The fair offers an opportunity to inspire and honor young scientists who are creative and innovative by offering solutions to investigative issues and to allow these students to showcase their work,” said fair organizer Tom Owens, director of the Center for Educational Research and Development in UCF’s College of Education. “The science fair project allows a link between scientific research and the transfer of student knowledge into products, processes and services for future economic development.”

The state’s largest academic competition will continue through Thursday.

Gov. Rick Scott will attend judging interviews on Wednesday, where students will display their projects. Projects will be judged for creativity and their overall presentation, and students will compete for awards and scholarship nominations valued at more than $950,000.

“Since the inception of this project, the community has seen a growth in the high level of science research our students are doing. In addition, the topics for research tend to be related to the trends of our economy and continually have changed over the years based on these economic trends,” said Owens.

In addition to this week’s fair, the College of Education manages a variety of projects relating to science, technology, engineering and math fields, generating more than $12 million in funding to enhance STEM education across the state.

The Lakeland Center is at 701 W. Lime St. in Lakeland. More information about the fair is available at http://www.floridassef.net.