2020 S.C. Region 1 Science Fair goes virtual

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

Southern Wesleyan University’s Science Division continues to partner with the region’s teachers and parents to further science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education by hosting the South Carolina Region 1 Science Fair for the 12th consecutive year, which is moving to a Virtual Fair for 2020 in response to CDC recommendations to limit gatherings as a precaution against the COVID-19 outbreak.

Students participating in this year’s event and their teachers will receive more information about how to participate in the Virtual Fair via email by March 31.

According to Dr. Staci Johnson, SC Region 1 Science Fair coordinator, the registration system will soon be updated to allow students the ability to upload video presentations of their projects. Judges will then view the videos that students submit for scoring. Johnson noted that the goal is to have judging completed for the virtual fair by May 1; also they hope to recruit a few more judges and have students upload their videos by April 24.

“We understand this change is not ideal, but we also want to recognize the hard work and innovative ideas represented by completing a project for the SC Region 1 Science Fair,” Johnson said. “Students will be eligible for the same prizes and special awards that are presented at the face to face fair.” In addition to cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each division, some students will be eligible for the Lemelson Early Inventor Prize, nomination to the Broadcom MASTERS National Middle School science fair, or scholarship awards from $500 to $1000 from Southern Wesleyan University.

The Science Fair team is committed to accessibility for all students, so training and support will be available to assist with the new components of virtual fair’s submission process. Dr. Johnson adds, “We will be working to create FAQ sheets, training videos and more in the coming days.”

Johnson added that because Virtual Fair staff is composed of faculty and students in the midst of a shift to online instruction at the university, emails or requests for additional information will be answered but it’s possible to experience some delay in responses.

A key part of this event is also the corporate community who provide sponsorships essential to its operation. Ortec, Inc. is the presenting sponsor for the 2020 S.C. Region 1 Science Fair, along with the SWU Division of Science. Sponsors also include Thomas & Hutton of Greenville S.C. at the Gold level. Contact Southern Wesleyan’s Advancement Office at (864) 644-5006 for details on sponsorship opportunities.

The fair provides an opportunity for students in grades 3 through 12 who are interested in science, technology and engineering to pursue their personal areas of interest and display their research in a public competitive forum. The fair also gives students an opportunity to compete for cash awards and other prizes, as well as qualify their projects for state and national competitions, including Broadcom MASTERS Middle School Fair and competition for the Stockholm Junior Water Award.

All students in South Carolina Region 1, which includes Abbeville, Anderson, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee and Pickens counties, are invited to participate.