OCSEF Celebrates 3 Years of Mentor Match Program

On June 2, 2022, Orange County Science and Engineering Fair, in partnership with UCI CalTeach and Chapman University, celebrated the close of year three of their flagship outreach program, the Mentor Match Program.

Students, parents, teachers and guests from Westminster and Santiago High Schools assembled in Beckman Hall on the beautiful Chapman University campus to celebrate and acknowledge the research accomplishments of over 100 students.

Student research teams started the evening off with a share-a-thon, presenting overviews of their research and personal learning experiences with parents, guests, and other interested students. Engaging dialogues, coupled with many questions from observers established a wonderful and exciting exchange between all attendees.

After a delicious buffet from the Chapman catering staff, the keynote address was given by Tarini Neeladaran, a participant in OCSEF the past 5 years. Tarini shared her experiences as a student researcher, wonderfully articulating the successes, failures, and roadblocks she encountered over the course of each school year. However, her key message was that of perseverance and staying the course. Her message and key learnings were well received by each student researcher in attendance.

Following the keynote, OCSEF Board Members presented beautifully designed medals and certificates to each student researcher from Westminster and Santiago High Schools, in addition to acknowledging key adults instrumental in providing ongoing support for the Mentor Match Program.

Closing remarks were provided by Dr. Elaine Schwartz, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of External Relations, Co-Program Director of the Faculty for Chemistry and Biochemistry, as well as part of the Instructional Faculty. Her poignant words of encouragement to the students, as well as her open invitation to view Chapman as their career partner, was well received by everyone in attendance.

As the OCSEF Board of Directors and Outreach Committee closes out the 2022 Fair season, we move forward with our plans for the 2022-23 Mentor Match Program. As such, if you are a student or a parent of a middle/high school child that attends an Orange County school, match our demographic target of under-represented youth in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and have an interest in becoming a science/engineer researcher, please have your science teacher contact Dean Gilbert, Director of Outreach. For more information regarding the Mentor Match Program, click here.