Students Say Thank You

sarsef-awards-manninghouse-march-29-01-035There is no better way to say “thank you for your support” than to let you hear … what we get to hear after the Fair. It is because of you that these wonderful letters were written to us. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do — because they were truly meant for you!

Letters from your fans

Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2013 12:34:20 -0700

Subject: Re: thank you!

Thank you so much for the science fair money. I saved some and also bought some football cards.


Brian Stahlman

2nd grader


Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2013 23:39:24 +0000

Subject: Thank you!

Thank you for picking my project as a winner in the SARSEF. I am in 4th grade and struggle in school but the one thing I like to do is explore stuff. That’s why I go to a math and science school. Not the math part the science part is why I like it. I told my mom and dad that I wanted to burn stuff for my experiment and they helped me with my project. I like doing the projects and am glad that I can keep doing them. Next year I am going to do something even better. My dad says I cannot make explosions that is the limit. Thank you for letting me do projects and helping me to feel better about my challenges. I will see you next year.

(Luis) William Rasmussen

4th grade

Sonoran Science Academy


Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2013 10:06:02 -0700

Note for the SciEnTek-12 Board

Thank you so much for organizing this event and for choosing my project as the 3rd place winner. We have decided to frame the check as a reminder that science is great! Besides, that is my first check ever! We will also frame a nice certificate! Please consider that as our contribution to your cause.

Thank you so much and we are looking forward to the science project next year!

Thomas Corder, together with his Mom and Dad

Sycamore Elementary


Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2013 20:52:52 -0700

Subject: Thank you SARSEF

Thank you for choosing me as the 3rd place winner in SARSEF this year in behavior and social sciences. This was an exciting experience for me. When I chose my project of Diverted Pain Management, I thought it would be entertaining to test people playing video games but it turned out to be much more than I expected. I had never been to SARSEF before. I have always done my science fair projects in biology and they were interesting but they felt like homework. This year I had fun and found that I wanted to work on my project.

After I won at SARSEF, my brother who is an Army Medic and serving in Afghanistan now, started talking to his friends and they all thought it was such a great idea. If I hadn’t of won, I probably would not be as inspired to continue this project but between your recognition of my work and my brother’s support, I plan to continue this testing over to next year and try to find more ways to help people divert their pain.

Thank you for giving me this chance.

Very truly yours,

Chris McGinn


Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2013 16:27:54 -0700 (PDT)

April 18, 2013

Thank you for awarding our Flame Eagle’s Firefighting Robot project with a second place trophy. I’m very thankful for your generosity, and this award inspires me to continue to participate in science activities.

Thank you,

-David Pierpont


Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2013 16:15:34 -0700

Subject: THANK YOU from Collin Wade

My name is Collin Wade and I’m in 3rd grade at Ocotillo Ridge Elementary School in Vail, Arizona. My project was called MAKING WATER. I made solar stills in the desert to see if I could collect water to survive. I was very lucky again and won a bunch of stuff at SARSEF!!! I’ve won in first grade, second grade, and now third grade. I want to say thank you to the SCIENTEK12 board of directors for voting for my project and for the check! I am saving my money for vacation. I am really happy that you guys give out awards and money for good projects. It is REALLY nice of you! I hope that I can win at my school again next year when I’m in fourth grade!! I will try hard to! It is very fun to do the project too! Thank you for the money and the cool trophy!

Collin Wade

P.S. A note from Mom: Dr. Bethel and the SciEnTek-12 board, you guys are awesome! Thanks for all the hard work that goes on in putting together SARSEF. Every year Collin puts his ALL into his project and it is great to see the recognition for all his hard work! The awards ceremony is so nice and I love how you talk to the kids on their level, Dr. Bethel! You are an amazing woman and we appreciate all your efforts! Thank you from Collin’s dad and I … for recognizing the hard work Collin has done! We hope to see you again next year!!

Paula Wade


Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2013 16:06:56 -0700

First of all, thank you for the wonderful science fair program. It was a great experience!

Second of all, thank you for the lovely cash prize.

Thanks again for the college fund and the great science fair experience!

Sincerely, Reagan Landis


Dear SciEnTek-12

Thank you for the 25 dollars. I’m so happy that you chose my project for third place. I will try to complete this goal again next year and the following years.


Hayden Moser


Sent: Monday, April 15, 2013 3:20 PM

Subject: SARSEF Thank you letter


Thanks for the wonderful opportunity to explain my project to people that care about the future of science.  It was a really intriguing experience being in a room full of intelligent young people.  The SARSEF organization is doing a wonderful deed. Also the SARSEF reception at the TEP building downtown was a great experience.

Thank you!

Tucson High School Research Methods Student,

Greyson Olson


Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 1:45 PM

Dear SciEnTeK-12,

It is with the greatest of appreciation that I thank you for the recent honor that you bestowed upon us all here at Tucson High as we competed at SARSEF this past March.

We, here at Tucson High, are so fortunate to have an organization such as yours, that sponsors and oversees the Fair.

You give us a reason to go the extra mile, do the additional work, and try our hardest.  And then you recognize our success by making us all feel like winners, even in years we might not have happened to be picked for the top award.  You help us to see the future and experience for one brief moment what it will be like if we keep trying hard to change the world.

Thank you for the extra hours that you put in to plan, organize and support the Fair. I am not sure where the money comes from to do all this, but wherever it comes from, I know it is you who asks for it, so thank you.

I, personally, will always remember the feeling of hearing my name called for the ISEF spot. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I promise I will work hard to represent the SARSEF name.

And I will make sure to keep you posted on how your investment in me pays off in the future years to come. I will try to make you proud.  And I thank you.


Meagan Bethel

Student in the Honors Research Methods Class at Tucson High Magnet School


Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2013 23:57:27 -0700

Subject: Re: ISWEEEP


I just wanted to tell you and your board thank you so much for putting so much effort into this. I definitely appreciate, as do many others I’m sure, your help and dedication in all this! We couldn’t ask for a better fair director. I’m ecstatic about going to ISWEEEP to do my best and represent SARSEF.  I’ll make sure to send you pictures and keep you up to date on what happens there!

Stephen Yao

University High


Dear Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair,

I would like to formally thank you all for the opportunity of participating in SARSEF. This was my first and last year participating, and while it was a short period I enjoyed it. It was a wonderful experience and I am glad I was able to be apart of it. Also, I would like to thank you for recognizing the work and effort I put into my project and awarding me with 2nd place in my category.

Thank you very much,

Nichole Burkett

Tucson High Magnet School, Honors Research Methods


Dear Southern Arizona Regional Science And Engineering Fair,

Thank you for providing me with the experience of presenting my research in a professional setting. Thank you for recognizing my research as well. The experience has truly influenced my decision to go into the science even more and allowed me to see the different aspects that go into those career choices. I greatly appreciate being able to participate in such an event and hope to be able to use this knowledge in the future.


Asheley Costello

Tucson High Magnet School



Thank you very much for honoring me with first place Grand Award in the category of Behavioral and Social Sciences and ISEF Finalist award at SARSEF 2013.

I was absolutely thrilled to be recognized for my research, Motivational Interviewing as a Form of Stress Relief in Adolescents.

I am extremely grateful and excited to compete at ISEF 2013, and I will see you next year at SARSEF 2014!


Allison Kath


Date: Sun, 31 Mar 2013 08:41:33 -0700

Subject: Science Fair & SARSEF

Hello there! I wanted to take a moment to say a quick thank you on behalf of Sycamore for all of your help! We were very pleased to have many winners, but more importantly, we had numerous children that have started to really enjoy science! I know that you are a large part of that, and I wanted to make sure you were aware of the impact that you have had by coming to help us with all of our events and my many questions!

Thank you again and I hope to continue to work with you in the future!

Rachel Tankersley

5th grade teacher

Sycamore Elementary


Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2013 17:45:47 -0700

Subject: SAESEF Elementary School Speaker

Thank you for all your hard work in making the SARSEF experience a positive science learning adventure! Our middle school students look forward to it every year. This year, for the first time, our 4-6th graders did very well and are excited to compete again next year.

I would like your help in getting our lower grades involved with “doing science” and competing at SARSEF. Would it be possible to get a speaker to come to Immaculate Heart Academy in Oro Valley the first week in June to speak to the elementary grade teachers?

Thank you again,

Colleen Page

Immaculate Heart Middle School Science Teacher


Dear SciEnTeK-12,

My name is Meagan Bethel, and I would like to thank you for granting me the opportunity of going to the International Science and Engineering Fair back in May.

Two years ago, I went to ISEF in Los Angles as an eight-grade observer, and although I didn’t compete, I had the time of my life there. When that trip was over, I swore to myself that when I entered high school I would try my hardest when conducting my research project. And in March of this year, I heard my name called as being one that would be able to go to ISEF in Phoenix.

The next month and a half went by in a blur of trying to revise my project to be worthy of an international fair, and preparing mentally for this event. Ever since my sister, Liz Baker went to ISEF all of those years ago I knew how competitive ISEF is. Yet, once we hopped in the limo up to Phoenix, I forgot the all of stress inside of me, washed away by the laughter of my new science fair friends. I was also able to meet hundreds of high school students from all over the world. At the pin exchange I met three very sweet girls from China and was able to talk with them for a few minutes. I even was able to get familiar with the other competitors in my category, and even though we were all competing against each other, that doesn’t stop the curiosity of meeting new people and having shared fun with people who live on the opposite side of the world from us.

Even though the event was held in Phoenix which is not as exciting to go to as some years, the SARSEF group had even more fun to make up for that. The Tucson finalist and observers are some of the nicest people I have known so far, and in the midst of the award ceremony, we all forgot that we go to rival schools and come from different backgrounds. We are all a part of the SARSEF family and that is all that we cared about.

So thank you so much for letting me be apart of the International Science and Engineering Fair, and letting me have an experience that I soon won’t forget. I agree that science is the key to the future and that any student is capable of doing great things when given the chance. So thank you for supporting our future.


Meagan Bethel


I have been a participant in the International Science and Engineering Fair for four years, if my observer year is included. Each time has been a new adventure with new people, places, and memories.  I am so grateful for having not only one opportunity of a lifetime, but three in which I was able to present my project among the best and brightest young scientists from around the world. However, this year, 2013, was the best ISEF I have ever attended, and I’m glad the best was saved for last.

Sometimes it’s one night that makes the greatest impact. Other times, it’s a single judge that gave me a certain idea or compliment that stuck with me. This year, the most amazing aspect of the fair was the people around me. I can say with confidence that this year was the best of the four due to the people selected from SARSEF and AzSEF. I felt that there was no trace of competition among us and everyone had each other’s full support. Every day, every minute spent with the other students, with the parents, and with the adults in charge, was absolutely worth it. There are few instances I can remember that match the sense of community and happiness shared within the group. In just six days, I have met people that I will be friends with for a long time, and have created memories with those people that will stay with me forever.

I didn’t win a single award at ISEF this year. That makes no difference to me. Simply attending the fair is probably the biggest reward of all. It sounds like a cliché, and it probably is, but just going definitely helps me the most with encouragement and new ideas. I would say I think of at least fifty percent of all my ideas for the next year’s research while at the fair. Just being in a giant room filled with tons of incredibly smart students all with new, innovative concepts and inventions is the biggest stimulant for pushing forward and trying to create something truly wondrous. When I’m at ISEF, I just want to keep working on my research, trying to improve it in every way so that it can be better, more complete, and able to lead to lasting change in the world. In fact, this year, I thought of a new idea for weight energy storage that will be more economically viable than the idea I presented this year. Had I not been there, that idea may have never come to me. It’s just amazing what can happen with one single opportunity.

It was a little sad leaving the ISEF convention center for the last time. I will no longer compete in high school science fairs, but will instead be in the world of research conferences and seminars. I would like to believe that I’m more than prepared for such events because of the training and preparation science fairs, especially the internationals. Science fair will always be a part of me, and I hope to further the effect and reach they have on students in the future so that they can have the same experiences, opportunities, and goals that I have.

By  Ostin Zarse


June 1, 2013


SARSEF is simply amazing!

We travelled to ISEF for the second time and SARSEF once again demonstrated what they are known for…Excellence and Sophistication! Excellence in support, sophistication in approach, and standard at its best! Thank you so much for another great ISEF experience.

ISEF 2013 – Phoenix, the feeling and excitement were different. Yes, ISEF in our home state! Before the ISEF week, SARSEF arranged numerous activities where our students experienced over the top fame and recognitions which made our students’ final year in high school even more memorable.

Everything about the trip was excellent! It was well organized, personalized, and every detail important and taken care of. The students enjoyed the limousine ride, short meetings and small gatherings, food in bags, gifts, personalized bag with everything in it, and friendships that I believe ultimately measured their ISEF experience. Thank you for the wonderful hotel accommodations and fabulous dinner. We had a great time because of SARSEF’s generous support.

Dr. Kathleen Bethel, Liz and the SARSEF group were unmatched in character and professionalism. We were treated outstandingly special. Dr. Bethel is an excellent leader. Kindness rule! She led the group to its highest standard. She is such a fine and caring woman who will lead and keep SARSEF on top. Wonderful team, wonderful time!

At ISEF 2013, we were not only Finalists and Chaperones….we were family!

Thank you SARSEF.

Respectfully yours,

Nerissa Birdsell (Teacher Sponsor for Jacquel Rivers and Arne Joi Nipales)




I want to thank you for sending Tucson area students to ISEF year after year. My experience with ISEF both as an observer in 2010 and as a finalist this year in Phoenix has inspired me to pursue science research outside of school and given me an idea of what I want to do with my life. When I was chosen as an eighth grade observer from SARSEF, I had no intention of ever competing in another science fair, but the experience made me determined to return to ISEF as a finalist. Experiencing ISEF as an observer is the only reason that I did a project in high school and ultimately qualified to compete in ISEF through AzSEF this year. Over the past couple years, I participated in the KEYS Internship at the U of A, took the Advanced Research Methods class at my school, and began volunteering close to ten hours a week after school in a UA lab, all with the goal of returning to ISEF as a finalist. For me, ISEF was the main reason that I initially became involved in research, specifically biology/chemistry, but since then science has become an even bigger part of my life. This summer I have a paid job working full-time for my mentor, who is going to help get my research published in the coming months. Many people that I talk to about ISEF and my research are surprised that a week-long experience three years ago was enough to make me seriously interested in science, but the only explanation is that ISEF is that inspiring and fun.

I had an awesome time at ISEF even though it was in Phoenix. The best part about the ISEF experience is always the friends that I make. This year especially, I felt like I became close friends with the other Southern Arizona students practically overnight, and I loved the fact that this year compared to when I went in 2010, there were twice as many SARSEF students to befriend with and cheer for. I had a blast and although I hardly slept once judging day was over, I know I will remember ISEF 2013 for a very long time. I am already excited for next year!

I also want to thank you for allowing Shelby and me (and our parents) to join with the SARSEF group for the limo rides and the fancy Thursday dinner, even though we qualified from AzSEF. Spending ISEF with the other Tucson students made it really fun, so I am very grateful that you included us in all of the festivities!

Thank you,

Kelsey Barter



I am writing this letter today to express my sincerest gratitude at your donation to send student finalists and observers alike to ISEF. It was a once in a lifetime experience to enjoy all the amazing experiences that I only hope I can enjoy again. This trip has made me truly excited to go into a science field and further explore all there is to learn in the field. I now want to try many new things and create an amazing science fair project for next year. I learned so much while I was there it was informative to be able to explore the floor and have people from so many places explain their projects to me.

There were so many different people to meet and so much to learn from every single one of them. I became fast friends with people from all over the United States as well as people from places like Turkey and Brazil. The people were not the only exciting new thing that happened while I was there. What happened there was just as amazing as the people I met. Every day there was a new experience to be had. One day we would set up boards and have time for a symposium the next we would explore all of the other boards and go to one of the scheduled “mixers” everyday was a new adventure.

Again I want to thank you for making it possible for me to go to an event like this it would not have happened without your help. I hope you know your kindness and efforts where not for nothing; this event has made me realize just how interested I am in the field of science. Over the week of ISEF I learned and experienced more than I thought was even possible. So even though it sounds repetitive thank you and I only hope I can do a good enough experiment to get back next year.


Savannah Barnes

ISEF Report

By Savannah Barnes

ISEF, or the International Science and Engineering Fair, there are so many ways to describe this wonderfully spectacular event. Every year thousands of high school students flock to this prestigious event in hopes of winning an award at the long awaited award ceremony. However, by the end of the week that is one of last things on their mind. This crazy fun fair has so many things to enjoy it’s hard to think about what you’ll even be doing the next day let alone the end of the week.

At ISEF I leaned a lot more than I bargained for, in the best way possible. When ever I was on the science floor I felt myself getting smarter by learning about all the different kinds of projects and the applications they had. The projects were wide ranging and included a variety of projects, from solar powered heaters to observing ocelots. There was a new experience around every corner not only for the finalist, but for the observers as well. We were the “slaves” of our finalist and I think I can speak on behalf of all our observers when I say we loved every moment of it.

Just being there to take in all the science first hand was an amazing experience and is something I will work hard for to do again in the future. This program gives you real perspective on what you might want to study in the field of science or engineering; it’s like a large collection of things you might be interested in, but aren’t really sure about. It can also help you discover things you didn’t know you would be interested in until you saw them or just didn’t even know it existed before the event. As amazing as all of the science was it was not the only thing about ISEF that I enjoyed.

Every “mixer” event that was scheduled for all of the students to go to was so fun it was amazing to socialize with all of the students from so many different countries. One of my favorite events was the opening ceremony; it was a large blending of all of the different countries in a welcoming of everyone to the event so that they could compete and learn with the best of the best. It was a very exciting few hours that can only be described as the opening of the science Olympics.

Meeting every one from the foreign countries was amazing there where lots of people I know I would have never met outside of this event that I am glad I did get to meet because of all the fun experiences I got to have with them. With people from over 70 different countries it was hard not to get introduced to new people and they were all so fun that it was hard not to become best friends and it wasn’t just other countries it was people from all over America as well. It was easy to get along with everyone because if they were there then that meant they had at least some of the same interests that you did. As much as I think about it I have come to realize that there where very few things that I didn’t enjoy about ISEF from the science, to the “mixers”, to the people all things scored perfect points across the board.

I know now that you have to be very passionate about science to enjoy this event and I can confidently say that I am and I will work my hardest to return next year. I felt an unmatched sense of pride every time someone out of our group won an award. This was easily one of my favorite parts of all of my eighth grade year even though it wasn’t at school. The only things I can say at this point is that I WILL be back and that is a fact that can be counted on.


To whom it may concern,

My name is Jacquel Rivers and I am a second year ISEF finalist and I am a part of a team project with Arne Joi Nipales my project is entitled “Total Solar Strategy for the Tohono O’odham Nation”. On the behalf of my team I would like to sincerely thank you for all that you’ve done for Joi and I. I would also like to thank you for sponsoring the Intel ISEF trip for the Finalists and Observers. Without you and the rest of SARSEF we would have never had the experience we had. Unfortunately this is my last year participating with the science fair because I did graduate but I also want to say that I am honored to have the opportunity to be a part of the regional and international fair. This trip meant the world to Joi and I, and I think to the other finalist and Observers as well. This fair opened multiple doors for my team. This fair allowed me to conceptualize on if I wanted to pursue science as a career. This trip was a fantastic experience and it was really fun.

It is amazing to think that you selected my project out of 1,600 other projects to represent our regional fair at the international fair. I feel that you provide an awesome gift to young individuals by allowing them to experience such an intense fair and gain connections that may determine their future endeavors. I also commend you on continuing this fair and continuing to shape the next generation of future innovators and inventors.

Although, the international science fair was really stressful and competitive; we had many fun activities provided for us that relieved a lot of the stress. The two things that I enjoyed most about the trip was not only being able to meet new intelligent people from all of the globe but to be able to bound with my other fair mates from SARSEF. We really helped one another do better in our presentations. I also enjoyed the once in a lifetime experience of riding in a limo. Not only did it allow everyone time to connect but it was fun to do as well.

Once again I want to thank you on the opportunity to participate and in ISEF and represent southern Arizona.


Jacquel Caron Rivers


Being a 2012-2013 Intel ISEF finalist has made my senior year a very memorable one. A big thank you to SARSEF for selecting my teammate and I as finalists for two straight years. You have truly made such a difference in our lives.  Last year when we first got selected as Intel ISEF finalists, I was so nervous. I have never done or participated in any science fair competition in my life until my junior year and there I was, in one of the most prestigious science fairs in the world. Being new in international competitions, I was very worried about what to expect but SARSEF has made those two years easier, fun, and enriching. Our schedules and activities were well thought of and very organized. We never had any problems at all and everyone was caring and supportive.  SARSEF took good care of all of us from day one until we came home.

This year, our second trip to ISEF, didn’t worry me much because I know SARSEF would take care of us. You did! Thank you to Dr. Bethel who led our group to another outstanding ISEF experience. I must also say that this year in ISEF was much to be remembered not only because it was our last year but also we participated in a lot of activities. I absolutely loved the opportunity of meeting with Governor Brewer. It was such an honor being there and being recognized. Another thing that made this trip unforgettable was the friendship that we developed. All the finalists and observers bonded and created lasting friendships. We had so much fun together. Thank you for the limousine ride. It was indeed a great experience!

In the course of two years as SARSEF and ISEF participated, I have developed greater interest in scientific research. Participating in ISEF truly open one’s mind about science, engineering, and technology. The SARSEF and ISEF experiences exposed us to process of experimentation, investigation, research, studies, and presentation. I developed my communication skills through project presentations. I was prepared and more confident during the judging day. (SARSEF also prepared us well for this part. Thank you.)

Once again thank you so much for supporting students like me. SARSEF has been instrumental in all our academic successes because of the funds that you provide and the programs and activities that you create. You have made this journey extraordinary. I will very much cherish the wonderful journey that we had in SARSEF and ISEF. I am honored and proud to be  a “SARSEF Ambassador”.

Thank you.


Arne Joi Nipales


This year was really the first time I understood the value of independent research and started doing some of my own. I competed at SARSEF in middle school, but that was nothing compared to my senior year project. So, from a newcomer’s perspective, I can say that ISEF was one of the best learning experiences I have had. I feel like I matured so much in just one week from the constant activities and schedule planning, to getting to know all the other ISEFers, to preparing a presentable speech and acting professional in front of the judges. And I haven’t even mentioned all the fun I had. There were so many things to do, people to meet, it felt like the trip went by too fast when it was all said and done. One of the coolest things was meeting people for different countries, because for some of those kids this is the trip of a lifetime. They are so excited to meet everyone, share their ideas, and trade pins! This really gave me a new understanding of how worldly we need to be when implementing ideas that will change the future, because the US is only a portion of that future.

There were so many things that made this trip one of a kind- for instance, being treated like royalty. I can’t even begin to express how exciting this was for everyone who went, mostly because we were still in shock from it all. Looking back on the experience, I cannot believe how much we did. I am so thankful for the things that made this trip so awesome, like the limo, the hotel, the dinner, and countless other things. The luxury added to the prestige of the event and made me set high standards for myself while on the trip. Another element of the trip that made it so successful was that all of the finalists and observers got along really well. We had a lot in common already, and by the end of the week at the awards ceremonies I was cheering for our group so much I almost lost my voice. The final element of this trip that in my mind made it such a great experience was the preparation of my project and the actual judging. Doubtless, it wasn’t the most fun event at ISEF, but that experience gave me so much confidence in presenting and being business-like. It was interesting learning what to do and what not to do by trial and error throughout all the judging, and finally getting that one presentation to a judge that I felt really good about.

All in all, I feel very grateful that I was chosen to be an ISEF finalist and that there is a community in Tucson who supports this great event. I would recommend that as many people as possible experience ISEF because it is a one of a kind experience.

Ryan Silva

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