STEM Research Fair

February 7th, 2019 @ Otay Ranch High School

Traditionally known as the “Science Fair”, in recent years we used to refer to it as the “Sweetwater Science and Engineering Fair”. But, in an effort to reflect the wide variety of project categories that can participate, we are updating and upgrading this original STEM program to “Sweetwater STEM Research Fair”.

The Sweetwater STEM Research Fair (SSRF) has been showcasing district Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math  projects since 1998, when 50 students from 6 schools participated.  Since then, the STEM Research Fair has grown to 200+ students with 180+ projects representing 12 district schools.  Through the years over 2,200 students have participated, with more than 500 going on to the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair (GSDSEF).

The 2018-19 Sweetwater STEM Research Fair will take place at Otay Ranch High School on Thursday, February 7, 2019.

Why should students participate in the fair?

Participating in the STEM Research Fair is an experience of a lifetime. Ask an adult of any age who did a STEM project when he/she was a student and most likely he/she will not only remember it, but they will be able to give you all the details, as well.

  • Organization & Communication skills
  • Research & Development skills
  • Cross-curricular learning aligned with NGSS Science & Engineering Practices
  • Hands-on activity (Active Continuous Learning)
  • College applications plus
  • Awards & Recognition

It is ABOVE ALL an unforgettable, positive experience in STEM.  Why? Students have picked out a real world problem of interest to them and apply their STEM knowledge to solve it—the teacher is not assigning students. Students select their projects based on their own interest. There are 16 different categories to chose from!

Beyond that,  a STEM project showcases a  cross-curricular portfolio of student skills and knowledge in all the areas of STEM—including an oral defense of their project. Video of 2015 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

In addition to the fair experience, there are numerous awards and other forms of recognition for students.  At the Sweetwater STEM Research Fair, all students are given  a 1st-4th place award, and two Sweepstakes are awarded—one for each top physical and life science projects.  First and second place award winners at the STEM Research Fair may apply to be screened to enter the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair (GSDSEF).  At the GSDSEF, all students are awarded 1st-4th place as well.  Top projects can receive numerous special awards—Sweepstakes, Organization awards, Military awards, and the chance to participate in the International Science and Engineering Fair, and the California State Science and Engineering Fair.

You can read more about the value of student participation at a STEM Research Fair (aka Science Fair) HERE

How do students participate in the Sweetwater STEM Research Fair?

ALL students are eligible to participate in the Sweetwater STEM Research Fair!  All it takes is a project idea and a willing fair advisor. Any teacher can be a STEM Research Fair Advisor! Math, Science, Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology-related teachers are more aligned with the fair projects. Students can work in pairs or individually. We highly recommend working in pairs!

While carrying out their project, students collect data or design new engineering iterations, then they write up their project in a notebook and present it on a backboard.  Site STEM Research Fair teachers/advisors  (science fair advisors) recommend projects for the Sweetwater STEM Research Fair, where they orally defend their projects before outside judges.

Sweetwater Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) Team:

SSEF Coordinator: Steve Rodecker

Science Specialist  -Retired-  619-585-6070

Melanie Brown – Science Specialist

Chandra Goodnough – Math Specialist

Art Lopez – Computer Science Specialist

J. Leo Ulloa – STEAM Programs Coordinator