WNC students to compete at Science Fair Feb. 13-14

Students from 16 Western North Carolina counties will come together at Western Carolina University on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 13 and 14, to showcase science projects and compete for the opportunity to exhibit at the North Carolina State Science Fair in Raleigh.

“This annual event celebrates achievement in science and motivates students and their teachers by bringing them together to share ideas and data, and encourages the students to make career choices in the science, mathematics or technology fields,” said Kefyn Catley, science fair director and WCU associate professor of biology.

The annual Regional Science Fair and Festival, sponsored by WCU, will be held at the Ramsey Regional Activity Center both days from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Students in the elementary division, grades three through five, will exhibit in the Science Fair on Feb. 13. Older students will compete in the Science Festival on Feb. 14.

Participating students are coming from the counties of Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania and Yancey.

Science fair elementary student projects will be competing for awards, although they will not be divided into specific categories. Middle school projects, both individual and group, will be divided into four categories – life science, physical science, earth/environmental science and technology/engineering. High school student projects will be divided into life science, physical science, earth/environmental science, technology/engineering and team.

The student projects will be open for public viewing from noon to 1 p.m. both days.

A chemistry magic show will be presented on both days from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. by WCU assistant professors of chemistry and physical science. Brian Dinkelmeyer and Scott Huffman will present the show on Wednesday, and Carmen Huffman will give the show on Thursday. Both shows will be open to the public.

Science departments at Western will showcase their offerings, along with many local organizations that will bring displays and hands-on activities.  Many of them – including Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center, Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute, Highlands Biological Station, RiverLink Inc., Air Force Climatology Center, Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, and Center for Math and Science Education – provide professional development or research opportunities for teachers, as well as courses and internships for students.

For more information about the WCU Regional Science Fair and Festival, contact Kefyn Catley at kcatley@wcu.edu.