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Science-engineering fair seeks additional volunteer help


March 06, 2008

ASU’s American Indian Programs Office is gearing up for one of its biggest youth science events in Arizona – the Arizona Science and Engineering Fair March 18-21 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

The development of students in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas is a priority for the region – so much so that Gov. Janet Napolitano has proclaimed March as “Youth Science and Engineering Awareness Month.”

The science fair, a compilation of the Northern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair, Central Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair and the Arizona American Indian Science and Engineering Fair, encourages students about the STEM subjects. Several Arizona students who have participated in past science fairs have been nationally recognized.

This year, more than 800 fifth- through twelfth-grade students from nine of the 14 Arizona counties will compete against their peers with science projects centered on categories such as engineering, mathematics, medicine and health, plant sciences, and behavioral and social sciences.

“Many of the projects at the science fair were the top winners at a school or district science fair,” says Phillip Huebner, director of the American Indian Programs and lead organizer.

Students are eligible to win more than 300 awards, according to Huebner, and teachers are eligible for special awards, as well as “Teacher of the Year.”

“We may be holding the largest science fair in the state, but we could not have done it without the cooperation of schools and teachers, as well as a number of other people up to this point,” Huebner says. “Of course, we have a lot of people helping at the event, too.”

But more are still needed, according to Lois Hedlund, event coordinator.

“We need about 100 more volunteers to help with the event over the three days,” she says.

More than 400 volunteers are needed. So far, more than 265 people from industry, academia, K-12 education and even retirees have been recruited to be judges and help direct students to their location, assist with set up and registration, assist in workshops, help with the awards ceremony March 21, and other activities.

Those who are interested in volunteering can contact Huebner at (480) 727-1036, Hedlund at (480) 727-1148 or visit the Web site http://azsef.asu.edu/home.html to register as a volunteer.