Sweetwater Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF)

February 8th, 2018 @ Otay Ranch High School


The Sweetwater Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) has been showcasing District Science and Engineering projects since 1998, when 50 students from 6 schools participated.  Since then, the SSEF has grown to 200 students with 180 projects representing 12 District schools.  Through the years over 2,000 students have participated, with more than 500 going on to the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair (GSDSEF).  The 2017-18 SSEF will take place at Otay Ranch High School on Thursday, February 8, 2018.

Why should students participate in the fair?

Participating in a science and engineering fair is an experience of a lifetime. Ask an adult  of any age who did a science and engineering project about their project and most likely they 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 science and engineering.  Why? Students have picked out a real world problem of interest to them and apply their science and engineering 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 science and engineering project showcases a  cross-curricular portfolio of student skills and knowledge in all the areas of STEAM—including an oral defense of their project. Video of 2015 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

In addition to the science and engineering experience, there are numerous awards and other forms of recognition for students.  At the SSEF, all students are given  a 1st-4th place award, and two Sweepstakes are awarded—one each for the top physical science and life science projects.  First and second place award winners at the SSEF 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 Science and Engineering Fair HERE

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How do students participate in the Sweetwater Science and Engineering Fair?

ALL students are eligible to participate in the Sweetwater Science and Engineering Fair!  All it takes is a project idea and a willing fair advisor. Any teacher can be a SSEF Advisor! Math, Science, Engineering, and Computer Science teachers are more aligned with the fair projects. High School students can work in pairs or individually. Middle School students can only work individually.

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 science fair teachers/advisors  recommend projects for the SSEF, 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

Ana Garcia – Science Specialist

Art Lopez – Computer Science Specialist

J. Leo Ulloa – STEAM Programs Coordinator