Thursday, February 19, 2009

Southern Arizona science fair faces economic challenges

The SciEnTeK-12 Foundation, which runs the highly popular and internationally prominent Southern Arizona Regional Science & Engineering Fair (SARSEF) each year, is dealing with possible reductions in sponsorship that could threaten programs, especially the science fair for middle schools.

Typically, 1400 or so students enter into the SARSEF at the Tucson Convention Center each November. This region is one of the most competitive in the nation in sending finalists to national and international competitions.

I met with the SciEnTeK-12 Board of Directors tonight to talk about COPUS and the Year of Science 2009 and heard that financial contributributions are down at the local and national level due to the economic crisis. What a diverse and dynamic group of educators, scientists, students, community leaders, parents and ordinary citizens! These folks are dedicated, enthusiastic, and having fun. And are they proud of what Arizona students can do. Which is why they are so concerned that the funds may not be coming forth to fully continue a program they love so much and has such an impact on our students.

Intel is continuing sponsorship at the national high school level, as is the Discovery Channel for national elementary level, but there is no national sponsor for the middle school events.

In Tucson, the Foundation is still seeking as much as half their needed funding for the year. Dig deep, Arizona, and help out.

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