Students with science fair entries typically have family, teachers and friends cheering for them, but all the participants in the 59th annual Cumberland Plateau Regional Science and Engineering Fair shared a couple of common supporters.
Competitors at the fair, hosted by the Millard Oakley STEM Center at Tennessee Tech University in March, had some new best friends in Drs. Lisa and Larry Whiteaker, who contributed funds to support the program that serves hundreds of 4th to 12th grade students in 16 counties.
"Science fair participation is a great opportunity to engage kids in research, critical thinking and problem solving,” said Lisa Whiteaker. “We hope our support of this event will encourage children in this area to have fun with science."
The Whiteakers’ gift enhanced the overall student experience during the fair, provided awards and recognitions, and will help pay senior division grand award-winners’ travel expenses to the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Ariz., in May.
The contribution also supports free professional development training and resources for teachers in preparation for their in-school fairs.
This year’s regional fair also was supported by Tom Jones of Research Electronics International.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the dedicated support of the Whiteakers and Mr. Jones for our regional science and engineering fair and, ultimately, the school children in our area,” said Peter Li, director of the regional fair and TTU professor of geography. “The funding helps us provide a special experience for all the participating students.”