Regional Science Fair Showcases Native American Students
MESA, Ariz. - On March 3, more than 150 Native American students in grades 5-12 from Arizona and neighboring states will participate in the fourth annual Arizona American Indian Science and Engineering Fair (AISEF) at the Mesa Convention Center. The fair runs from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and students' exhibits will be open to the public from 5 to 8 p.m.
The science fair, which is hosted by Arizona State University's American Indian Programs and sponsored by Intel and corporate partners throughout the state, has produced some nationally and internationally recognized science students. Pinon Accelerated Middle School's Garrett Yazzie was Arizona's only finalist in the Discovery Channel's Young Scientist Challenge last year. Yazzie won The Science Channel "Space Camp" Award at the challenge in October 2005, and will attend a five-day camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
AISEF was founded to provide students the opportunity to learn about science from a hands-on approach while allowing them to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Since the first event in 2003, student participation has increased each year. Huebner says the rewarding experience students get when preparing an entry for the science fair keeps them coming back.
"Throughout the 15 years I have been working with American Indian students in science projects, I have never found any other educational activity that has made as much of an impact on a student in building their confidence and promoting academic excellence as the development of a research project and the sharing of that research at a science fair," says Phillip Huebner, director of the science fair and of American Indian Programs at ASU's Polytechnic campus.