It’s registration week! Following a difficult year and after carefully following the news and developments surrounding COVID-19, the OCSEF committee is preparing to host the 66th Annual Orange County Science & Engineering Fair Online.
“We live in unprecedented times, and last year was the first time in the Fair’s 65-year history that we had to cancel our on-site event,” said Prasanthi Sathyaprakash, President of OCSEF.
“This was indeed a very difficult and challenging decision for us to make, but we’re always putting the health and safety of our students and teachers first.”
As a preparation for this year’s virtual fair, OCSEF ran The Academy in fall 2020, to help first-time applicants learn more about the fair and how to develop a high-class STEM project. Returning applicants learned how to improve their projects and presentations. Topics of the seminars included formulating a question for your project and tips on meeting with the judges.
“With the absence of physical school interactions and the Stay at Home order, we wanted to get students more motivated to do their STEM projects, and The Academy played an important role in that,” said Sathyaprakash.
In its newly found virtual format, OCSEF applicants will be asked this year to present their projects on a zoom call with the judges. In order to help with that, the OCSEF committee has created a special Project Digital Template that is available for students to download on the OCSEF website, and that will replace the traditional “board presentation” display format.
“We are hoping that the tools we have provided to students throughout the year will encourage them to use their time at home to develop amazing projects this year,” said Sathyaprakash. “We would love to see the numbers of applicants go up this year, despite the discouragement that the pandemic atmosphere has created.”
Since 1955, the OCSEF mission has been to enable students to improve their science and engineering skills and literacy while inspiring them to consider careers in STEM fields. We are committed to challenging students to inquire, design, investigate, and present scientific and engineering concepts through hands-on experimentation. Over 600 projects from 52 Schools in Orange County were accepted for the fair in 2020, as we encourage more and more students, from diverse backgrounds, to engage in STEM education.