VCU to host 2023 Richmond Science and Engineering Fair
The School of Education’s Center for Innovation in STEM Education will lead the effort in collaboration with partners and volunteers from across the university.
Virginia Commonwealth University will host the 2023 Region I Metro Richmond Science and Engineering Fair for area secondary students next March. The School of Education’s Center for Innovation in STEM Education (CISTEME) will lead the effort in collaboration with partners and volunteers from across the university.
VCU partners include the School of Education’s Center for Teacher Leadership, the VCU College of Engineering, the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, VCU Life Sciences, VCU Medicine and Health Services, and the VCU Division of Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success.
The announcement recognizing VCU as host of the 2023 event was made by the Society for Science, a nonprofit membership organization which manages the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world’s largest pre-college international STEM competition. (The acronym STEM refers to science, technology, engineering and math.)
The culminating event of the March competition is expected to bring approximately 150 secondary school students to campus to showcase their studies of science phenomena and solutions to engineering design challenges across 13 categories. The categories closely mirror the undergraduate degree offerings from VCU: chemistry, biochemistry, computer science, engineering, environmental science, mathematics, microbiology, physics, medicine and health, and the behavioral and social sciences.
The fair will provide an opportunity for VCU faculty and graduate students to interact with future prospects by providing feedback on their projects, while also showcasing VCU’s STEM offerings across the university. Opportunities for external volunteer participation from other universities in the region and local corporate support will be encouraged.
“We are honored to serve as the host for students to showcase their authentic research explorations in locally relevant science and engineering,” said Al S. Byers, Ph.D., CISTEME lead and assistant professor. “I am impressed by the overwhelmingly positive response from across our university in supporting all students from our surrounding central Virginia school districts. The initial sponsorship will ensure a well-administered and engaging STEM learning and showcase experience for middle and high school students.”
Many groups, including the STEM Education Coalition, espouse the power of STEM competitions as a key innovation to spark deeper and applied student learning (ESSA Title IV, Part A, 2018). This effort will also advance CISTEME’s mission, which is to leverage the assets and resources across VCU to bring high impact STEM experiences to the highest need students in the Richmond region. It also directly advances VCU’s Strategic Research Priority Plan: Achieving a Just and Equitable Society.
Thirteen winners from the Region I Metro Richmond Science and Engineering Fair competition will advance to compete at the state level in the Virginia Science and Engineering Fair. VCU will also select up to five grand award winners at the high school level to compete at the international level.