Greater Capital Region Science and Engineering Fair Set to Celebrate Promising Middle and High School Researchers on March 24, 2012


Media Relations

March 23, 2012

Greater Capital Region Science and Engineering Fair Set to Celebrate Promising Middle and High School Researchers on March 24, 2012

Annual Fair, an Affiliate of the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) and the Science Teachers Association of New York State (STANYS) Science Congress, Hosted by Rensselaer

More than 100 area middle and high school students from the Capital Region will participate in the 22nd annual greater Capital Region Science and Engineering Fair on Saturday, March 24. The daylong event will be held on the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute campus in the Walker Laboratory building.

The annual event is coordinated by the Science Teachers Association of New York State (STANYS) Science Congress and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The event has been hosted by the School of Science at Rensselaer for more than 20 years with support from faculty, students, and staff, along with support from the Office of Admissions and other Rensselaer departments.

“We are thrilled to host these young researchers at Rensselaer,” said Laurie Leshin, dean of the School of Science. “I sincerely hope that many of them will chose to continue to feed their passion for science and engineering by enrolling in Rensselaer as students!  Their future success will ultimately drive continued innovation and prosperity in the Capital Region, and seeing their talents, I'm confident our region has a bright future.”

Students from public and private schools, and home-schooled children may participate in this fair if they live in one of the following counties: Albany, Columbia, Greene, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Ulster, Washington, and Warren. The fair has two divisions. The junior division is for students in grades 6-8 and the senior division is for grades 9-12.

Working alone or in teams of up to three individuals, students will showcase their latest research in areas that include: energy and transportation, materials and bio-engineering, behavioral and social sciences, microbiology, chemistry, plant sciences, medicine and health sciences, cellular and molecular biology, electrical and mechanical engineering, animal sciences, environmental management, earth science, and physics and astronomy.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to share a student’s passion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines and to be recognized for their endeavor,” said STANYS Fair Director Joan Wagner. “Students are encouraged to focus on original research by working with mentors and/or teachers from the scientific community at large within the greater Capital Region. STANYS promotes excellence in science education. Its mission is to work with educators and communities to provide opportunities for all students to participate in and learn science.” 

Sample student projects include: The Effect of Daylight on the Metabolism of Mice; Chemical Warfare: The Effect of Allelopathy on Securigera varia; How to Make a Crystal Radio Antenna More Efficient; The Effect of Selective Logging on Understory and Forest Regeneration; Practice Makes Perfect: The Effect of Homework on Quiz Grades in English; Round and Round: The Effect of Roundabouts on Rural Traffic; The Effect of Mozart Sonata K448 on Spatial Intelligence of Students; Does Hairspray Prevent Needles From Falling Off a Christmas Tree; Age Differences in Multitasking: Crowd Size and its Effect on Gorilla Aggression; Do Animals Reduce Anxiety; Light Pollution’s Affect on Breast Cancer Rates; Rates of Autism Compared to the Amount of Pollution in New Jersey by County; and the Perceived Effects of Warm-up Music on Basketball foul shots.

Wagner also noted that students will use a storyboard to present their research to judges, who are all scientists and engineers. “In coordinating this event, we’ve found that when students do original research, they learn what science entails. Who knows, perhaps a new cure for cancer, innovative approaches to alternative energy, or a new device to help the handicapped may be solved by the work of these students as they pursue their science career!”

“The students who devote their time and energy to doing projects for the Science Fair are among the best and the brightest,” said Samuel Wait Jr., former associate dean of the School of Science and professor of chemistry at Rensselaer, who has served as a judge for fair. “Their enthusiasm is very evident.  I also commend the teachers and mentors who guide these students. It is a pleasure to know that Rensselaer is encouraging their development as leaders of the future.”

Program OverviewThe program will begin at 9 a.m. with opening remarks to be delivered by Joan Wagner in Russell Sage Auditorium, room 3303. Throughout the morning and early afternoon judges will review the projects. The student projects will also be available for public viewing from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

Beginning at 4:15 p.m., Dr. Mathius Vuille, professor in the department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the State University of New York at Albany will deliver a talk on climate change.

The Fair ResultsImmediately following the keynote address, the awards ceremony will take place. The top winners in the Junior Division (grades 6-8) may be eligible to enter the new Broadcom Masters National Competition for students in grades 6-8, and the STANYS State Science Congress fair that will be held at the College of St. Rose in Albany June 8-10.

The Three top grand prize winners in the Senior Division (grades 9-12) will also be eligible to compete the 62nd Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from May  13-18.  Three more grand prize winners will be invited to attend the STANYS State Science Congress. The Intel ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college celebration of science, bringing together over 1,600 students from approximately 60 counties. The fair showcases the world’s most promising young scientists, who through scientific investigation are developing ideas and inventions that will change the world. ISEF offers over $4 milllion in prizes. Of special note, a number of students who competed in this competition have gone on to become recognized as Nobel Laureates.

Rensselaer will award a $40,000 scholarship to an outstanding project for a student enrolled in grades 9-11, if they are accepted and choose to enroll at Rensselaer. The School of Science also provides $1,600 to fund the 1st, 2 nd, and 3rd place prizes in both the junior and senior categories.  In addition, the Office of the President at Rensselaer is providing $2,500 to support the event. Additional major funding comes from GE Global R&D, Momentive Supportive Performance, and Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, which will offer three $20,000 scholarships this year, along with Pitney Bowes.

Additional sponsors for this year’s regional science fair include: the Eastern Section of STANYS, GE Foundation, Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL), Albany Molecular, American Society for Microbiology, Eastern Branch, Nuclear Society, Pearson/Prentice Hall, John Stasenko, a local engineer and NBT Bank. 

For more information, visit


For general inquiries:

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit