43rd annual Science and Engineering Fair changes guidelines

Anyone planning to take part in the 43rd annual Cumberland Plateau Science and Engineering Fair at Tennessee Technological University should be prepared for a number of changes in this year's event.

Normally held at Tennessee Tech's Eblen Center, the regional fair will move to the university's Hyder-Burks Agricultural Pavilion on 12th Street. The fair will be held on Saturday, March 22.

To participate in the regional fair, students must compete in their school or county science fairs. Only finalists from the local level may enter the regional fair, which is now limited to grades 4-12 or beginning with the school level that has a science department. Most students are expected to pre-register for the regional fair by March 8.

Unlike past fairs, exhibitors must set up their projects well in advance, between 3:30 and 9 p.m. Friday, March 21, to allow the scientific review committee to qualify each exhibit before the judging begins on Saturday morning.

"We've taken these steps to maintain the level of quality that allows students from our area to compete successfully at the next level," says Jack Armistead, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Tennessee Tech. "The new procedures also enable us to focus attention on the best projects from the local fairs and to ensure they meet the standards for competition at higher levels."

The top four winners of the regional fair, as determined by a panel of judges made up of Tennessee Tech faculty, receive scholarships to Tennessee Tech and an expense-paid trip to the International Science and Engineering Fair to compete there. Awards will be announced at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 22. The 1997 international fair takes place in Louisville, Ky., May 10-16.

Projects fall into one of three classifications: biological, mathematical or physical. There are 14 categories within those classifications, ranging from computer science to the newest addition, gerontology. Prizes are awarded in each classification at each level (intermediate, junior and senior). Numerous corporations and agencies sponsor additional awards for outstanding projects.

Participants can learn more about the guidelines for projects on the web site for the International Science and Engineering Fair. For more information about the regional fair, call Debra Bryant at 615/372-3668.

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