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Local students to compete for science honor

By Conor McCabe
On February 26, 2012

Middle and high school students will have the chance to show what they know about science and math when UNC hosts the 42nd Annual Longs Peak Science and Engineering Fair Wednesday.

The fair gives fifth-through-12th grade students of Weld and Larimer Counties to present their research in animal sciences, behavioral and social sciences, chemistry, earth and space sciences, energy and transportation, engineering, mathematics and computer sciences, medicine and health, microbiology, physics and plant sciences.

This year, 310 students will present 294 projects in the University Center Ballrooms and Fireside Lounge at the University of Northern Colorado. Projects can be completed by an individual or team, which consists of two or three students.

"Students will have three to five minutes to give their presentation," said Lori Ball, director of the Longs Peak Science & Engineering Fair. "They will then be interviewed by judges."

There are 135 volunteers for this year's fair who will work as judges, safety inspectors and registration help. 

"Judges consist of UNC undergrad and graduate students, faculty, staff and alumni," Ball said. "Also, faculty, staff and students from other universities as well as industry professionals."

Students in grades five through eight can register as junior participants and students in grades nine to 12 can register as senior participants.

Students presenting are eligible to win awards for their projects. The LPSEF will be giving out overall awards and categorical awards. 

"Students' awards range from certificates, cash awards, gift cards and merchandise in addition to awarding the top three to five placements in each category (11 junior division/11 senior division) and the best of the fair awards," Ball said.

The LPSEF awards more than 50 special awards, such as UNC's Pre-Health Professionals Club, United States Air Force, UNC Natural and Health Sciences Pioneers in Science, West Greeley, Conservation District and the Mathematics and Science Teaching Institute Display Art/Design Award.

The fair will also acknowledge teachers with four separate recognition awards and hold random drawings for both teachers and students for additional prizes. The prizes will consist of restaurant gift cards, bowling gift certificates, UNC hats and T-shirts and movie tickets, Ball said.

The LPSEF is a regional fair associated with the International Science and Engineering Fair. This fair will nominate 20 projects for the 2012 Colorado Science and Engineering Fair and at least one project for the international fair. 

The Colorado Fair will be hosted April 5-7 at Colorado State University in the Lory Student Center Ballrooms and the national fair will be hosted May 13-18 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.

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