Announcing: The 2021 Special Awards

OCSEF announces 22 special awards to be given at the 66th Annual Orange County Science & Engineering Fair by donors who promote and advocate STEM excellence. We are very grateful for all the great organizations contributing to the fair this year. The 2021 Special Awards is listed in alphabetical order

1. American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), Southern California Section

The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) is the principal association of professional laboratory scientists – including MDs, PhDs and medical technologists. AACC’s members develop and use chemical concepts, procedures, techniques and instrumentation in health-related investigations, and work in hospitals, independent laboratories and the diagnostics industry worldwide. The AACC provides national leadership in advancing the practice and profession of clinical laboratory science and its application to healthcare. Facebook

2. American Chemical Society

The American Chemical Society is the world’s largest scientific society with 155,000 members representing a wide range of disciplines of chemists, chemical engineers, and technicians. The organization promotes the public’s perception and understanding of chemistry through public outreach programs, and provides career development assistance for science professionals. The Orange County Section has over 1,300 members. The Education Committee provides testing and awards programs for high school and college chemistry students. Facebook

3. American Vacuum Society

The Southern California Chapter of the American Vacuum Society (SCCAVS) is dedicated to promoting the fields of vacuum science and vacuum-related technologies through technical symposia, educational outreach, and other programs that encourage discussions and provide topical information to members in this region.

4. Association of Women in Water, Energy, and Environment (AWWEE)

The Association of Women in Water, Energy, and Environment was established in 2007 as a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the advancement of education of women in our fields.  AWWEE achieves its mission by providing multiple venues for learning, sharing and growth. Facebook

5. ASWB Engineering

ASWB Engineering has over three decades of successful experience working with utilities nationwide. The core of their services focus on energy efficiency, demand response and energy demand management.

6. California Society of Professional Engineers, Southern Chapters Council

California Society of Professional Engineers works for a world where the public can be confident that engineering decisions affecting their lives are made by qualified and ethically accountable professionals. This special award goes to the “Student most likely to continue education in the Sciences and Engineering”. Facebook

7. Engle Lab

Engle Lab is committed to outreach activities to inspire the next generation of scientists and educate the local community about how fundamental scientific research improves their lives. The “Engle Lab Prize” is awarded to an individual who did not get the result they wanted but showed persistence and dedication to their research. Facebook

8. Harald Biessmann Memorial Award

Dr. Harald Biessmann was a molecular biochemist who made major contributions to our understanding of telomere structure and function in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster.  In the mosquito Anopheles Gambia, he studied how mosquitoes find the humans for their blood meal. This research project was actually the result of a science project that his son did in middle school, which was selected for and won first prize at the California State Science Fair.   Harald Biessmann was a judge for the Irvine School Science Fair and the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair for many years and he was always very enthusiastic about these events. He enjoyed discussing with the students their projects and he made his lab and time available to many students to do their research in his lab. His enthusiasm and insight will be missed.  It is therefore in his memory that we honor students at these Science Fairs for their achievements.

9. Los Angeles Society of Petroleum Engineers

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) is the largest individual-member organization serving managers, engineers, scientists and other professionals in the upstream segment of the oil and gas industry. The organization’s mission is to collect, disseminate, and exchange technical knowledge concerning the exploration, development and production of oil and gas resources and related technologies for the public benefit; and to provide opportunities for professionals to enhance their technical and professional competence. Facebook

10. National Water Research Institute

NWRI was founded in 1991 by a group of Southern California water agencies and the Joan Irvine Smith & Athalie R. Clarke Foundation to promote the protection, maintenance and restoration of water supplies through the development of cooperative research programs. NWRI is dedicated to creating new sources of water through research and technology and protecting the freshwater and marine environments. Facebook

11. OCSEF Nat Lamm Memorial Award

The Nat Lamm Award, presented by the OCSEF Board of Directors, recognizes excellence in ecology and environmental studies. During his tenure as the Orange County Department of Education Coordinator of Math and Science, Nat was a champion of environmental education, and academic events. He served for many years on the Board of Directors of the OCSEF, the Outdoor Science School Program, the Academic Decathlon, and science fairs at all levels. As a science teacher, author and lecturer, Nat was ever guided by his enthusiastic and untiring dedication to science education, social action and humanitarian issues.

12. OCSEF Lon Isenberg Memorial Award

The Lon Isenberg award is given to a student for exceptional creativity and scientific insight in an engineering project. Lon Isenberg served on the OCSEF Board for nearly 30 years and for much of that time as Treasurer and Sweepstakes Award Judge. He completed degrees at UCLA in engineering and chemistry and joined the ranks of rocket scientists in the late 1950’s. He helped create and launch the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs and earned over 40 patents. Lon was a Senior Staff Scientist at JPL from the late 1970’s until retirement in 1990. Never able to stop working and contributing, Lon helped start up and operate Volunteer Professionals for Medical Advancement comprised of JPL and CalTech retirees and worked with local hospitals to develop better engineering systems for health delivery.

13. Office of Naval Research

Navy and Marine Corps leaders recognize that our nation’s progress in science and engineering have been achieved by people who devoted their lives to research. They believe that young people who demonstrate a willingness to be part of our world of science and engineering, by participating in science and engineering fairs, deserve special recognition. Through the Naval Science Awards Program, the Navy and Marine Corps competitively select Distinguished Achievement Award winners at the county level, and invite them to participate in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposia. Student winners at the national level are eligible for college scholarships. Facebook

14. Orange County Engineering Council

The Orange County Engineering Council is a non-profit organization representing all engineering disciplines. We are supported by several engineering societies and corporate sponsors. Our purpose is to enhance the public image of engineers and the engineering profession by publicly recognizing engineering accomplishments, supporting incentive programs for students and encouraging qualified young people to enter the engineering profession. The Council operates primarily by volunteer efforts of public minded engineers who work cooperatively to improve the environment and make the world a better place in which to live.

15. Orange County Sanitation District

The Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) is the third largest wastewater treatment agency west of the Mississippi River serving over 2.5 million residents. Approximately, 220 million gallons of wastewater are treated each day at treatment facilities in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach. Governed by a 25-member board of directors, OCSD is comprised of representatives of each local sewer agency or city within a 470-square-mile service area. The Orange County Sanitation District is committed to protecting public health and the environment by developing, integrating and implementing fiscally responsible solutions to wastewater, water reclamation, and watershed protection issues. We are a value-based organization dedicated to upholding and consistently demonstrating the attributes affirmed in our Guiding Principles. Facebook

16. Orange County Water District

Community engagement is important to the Orange County Water District. It hosts and sponsors events throughout the year to educate and inform stakeholders about critical and emerging issues related to water and water conservation. ( Facebook

17. Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG) Orange County Section

PECG represents 13,000 state-employed engineers and related professionals responsible for designing and inspecting California’s highways and bridges, ensuring that schools and hospitals are safe during earthquakes, and protecting our air, water and beaches from polluters.

18. Raytheon Asia Pacific Association

RAPA encourages the personal growth and upward mobility of Asians within Raytheon and the community, with an emphasis on outreach and service initiatives. (

19. Sea and Sage Audubon Society

The Sea and Sage Chapter of the National Audubon Society supports environmental education and conservation awareness projects throughout Southern California. Facebook

20. SPIE the International Society for Optics & Photonics

SPIE is an international society advancing an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light.
The not-for-profit society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. Facebook

21. The Energy Coalition

As a social change organization, The Energy Coalition (TEC) helps create an abundant and healthy world by inspiring others to become energy architects of our sustainable future. ( Facebook

22. The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation Chapman Awards

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation supports leading edge research, in the fields of chemistry and life sciences, broadly interpreted, and particularly to foster the invention of methods, instruments, and materials that open up new avenues of research and application in these sciences and related disciplines. “My preference is to favor young investigators, new ideas, and a variety of projects rather than fund large, established ones of long duration.” – Dr. Arnold O. Beckman. Facebook