The Delaware Valley Science Fairs is not the science fair you remember. There are no potato-powered clocks or volcano models among these entries from the Tri-State area of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and Delaware. Instead, Nanotechnology, alternative fuels, autism, breast cancer, and environmentally-friendly rooftops are the order of the day.
Nearly 1,000 hopefuls from grades six through twelve converged on the Valley Forge Convention Center in King of Prussia, Pa., on April 2 to see if their entries would win them a trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Atlanta, Ga., in May. The top winners will compete against other winners from 51 foreign countries and 48 states for scholarships and prizes valued at more than $2 million.
As a major sponsor of the DVSF, USP offers merit scholarships valued at up to $9,000 per year for the length of the program, to each of the top two finalists in the 13 different categories of the 11th grade Marie Curie Science Fair division. The scholarships go into effect upon the students’ admission to USP. In addition to offering scholarships, the University supports the event with an in-kind donation of public relations assistance, as well as offering workshops for parents and teachers.
For the last seven years, Louis Hegyes, director of USP’s admissions office, has conducted an admissions workshop for parents and teachers during the fair. The one-hour clinic is meant as a general aid in navigating and understanding the college admission process, as well as providing information on obtaining scholarships and financial aid. USP’s faculty expertise was first utilized six years ago with the addition of another workshop for teachers.
For almost 60 years, the Delaware Valley Science Fairs have stimulated interest in science, engineering, and technology among middle and high school students in the tri-state region. DVSF’s philosophy is that students learn science by doing science. Its mission is to bring together parents, teachers, and industry leaders to motivate and nurture young people’s curiosity in science and problem solving as we build lifelong learners. For more information, visit www.dvsf.org or call (215) 895-5840.