Young scientists gathering on campus for Feb. 10-11 Science Fair

Students from elementary, junior high and high schools throughout Western North Carolina will gather at Western Carolina University on Tuesday, Feb. 10, and Wednesday, Feb. 11, as the university hosts the Western Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

Activities take place at WCU’s Ramsey Regional Activity Center. Science projects created for the fair by area students will be available for viewing by the public from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day. Admission is free.

The fair typically attracts 250 to 300 projects created by students from more than 25 schools across the 16-county region. It is the largest STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) event held in Western North Carolina, said Kefyn Catley, fair director and professor of biology at WCU.

The 2015 fair theme is “Our State, Our Time, Our Science” in keeping with WCU’s yearlong look at North Carolina’s history, present and future.  Exhibits will feature some of the great contributions to science made by North Carolina scientists and engineers. “Attendees at this year’s fair will also get a glimpse into the future by sharing exciting innovations and projects presented by faculty and students from WCU’s Department of Engineering and Technology,” Catley said. Area teachers are encouraged to bring entire classes to engage and excite their students about a future in science and the relevance of what they are learning, Catley said.

“We are looking forward to a record turnout and sharing the excitement and joys of doing science, as well as showcasing North Carolina’s contributions, past and present, to all fields of science,” he said.

Students in the elementary division, grades three through five, will showcase their projects on Feb. 10. Students in the junior and senior division, grades six through 12, will display their projects Feb. 11. Categories in that division include biological science, chemistry, earth/environmental science, physics and technology/engineering. Information on each category and registration instructions can be viewed at the event website sciencefair.wcu.edu.

Students from the 16 westernmost counties of Western North Carolina who have placed at their schools’ science fair competitions are eligible to compete in the WCU fair. The deadline for project submission is Friday, Feb. 6.

Students do not have to submit a project to attend the morning presentation or participate in activities, which will include a scavenger hunt. All students and teachers attending are eligible for prizes. For more information, go to the event website or call WCU’s Office of Continuing and Professional Education at 828-227-7397.