Selected for SARSEF (and Afterward)


If you were selected to attend the SARSEF Science and Engineering Fair, you are already a winner! Your school administrators consider your project of such quality they want you to represent them.

Your project will now go on to compete with others from around Southern Arizona. Check out what awards and prizes you can win in the “What Can I Win?” section.

There are some things that you need to know before you come to SARSEF, so read on and find out how you can increase your chances of being recognized for your great research!

Even if you did not win a trip to SARSEF, we want to honor YOU, too! Be sure to come to Future Innovators Night!

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Important Dates to Know

Follow ALL of the Important Dates Here

You may need to give your teacher Page 2 of the following form: Sample Registration for SARSEF

If you register for SARSEF, you are also granting us permission to send your information to higher competitions if you win, such as Intel ISEF, ISWEEEP, AZSEF, and the Arizona Governor’s Celebration of Innovation, all of which may earn you thousands of dollars and scholarships!


Choose a Category for Registration

Your teacher or Fair Director will need to register your project. To do so, they will need to know which category your project should be in. Since you know your project better than anyone, you may want to help them decide.

Check out the Categories Here



Your project must have been one of the best to be chosen. Now, you will want to thank all of those who believe in you by representing them as best you can.

Take some time now to make sure your poster/board is exactly how you want it to be and clearly communicates the criteria below.

Impressing judges with your science and, to a much lesser extent, with your project board is important. Yes, a colorful project board neatly laid out with beautiful photos will draw attention to it, so working towards that goal is good.

However, once a judge starts reviewing your work he/she usually starts by looking at your problem statement/hypothesis, then at your conclusion, and after reviewing those two they review your abstract, presentation, data analysis, and try to determine how creative and curious you really were. Judges generally follow the point system laid out in the criteria listed  below, so now is the time to make sure that you clearly show evidence of each of your steps on your board.

Data is important in research. The more data you have, and the more sophisticated the analysis, the more accurate your science is. This will impress the judges. If your data shows trends, use good analysis and graphically represent those trends. Be careful about making predictions out of the scope of your project — or interpreting a cause and effect that you cannot statistically support with your data.

Although statistics are a bit beyond most elementary students, whenever possible report your conclusions using math skills. Consult your science and math teachers for assistance.

Your abstract, even for kindergarten projects, can do a lot to influence a judge. Good use of the written language is a key part of a scientist or engineer’s profession. Writing a good abstract will impress, especially if backed up by good data collection and analysis. Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words, but may be far shorter at the elementary level. HIGH SCHOOL: IMPORTANT: Do not include your abstract on your poster or board. If you were selected to attend ISEF it will not be allowed to be on your board, since it has to be an official one with a gold stamp of approval. Instead, we recommend that you lay it in front of your project or purchase a clear stand, and with some kind of backing for that page, if possible.

Judging Criteria 

The evaluation criteria linked above will be used for judging at SARSEF. It has been updated to reflect the latest scientific thinking and parallels the criteria used to judge International Science and Engineering Fair projects. Awards’ judging is conducted using a 100-point scale with points assigned to the research question, design and methodology, execution, creativity and presentation.

Each section includes key items to consider for evaluation. Students are encouraged to design their posters in a clear and informative manner to allow thorough evaluation. Judges should take into consideration the grade level when scoring. Examine the student notebook and, if present, any special forms if SRC permission is required.

After SARSEF: Other Competitions You May Be Able to Enter

dsc_0138Other Science Competitions You May Enter Using This Same Project

Every year, more than 9 million students in Grades K–12 enter a science competition. Your project may also be entered in some of the following:

State Fair: Arizona Science and Engineering Fair

AzSEF is the State Fair for Arizona. Grades 5-12 students can qualify to enter by placing first at SARSEF.

National and International Fairs and Competitions

Conrad Foundation’s Spirit of Innovation Awards: This competition challenges student teams to solve real-world problems in the areas of clean energy, aerospace exploration, and cyber security. For students age 13-18. Winning team is awarded $5,000 to continue product development. Spirit of Innovation Awards are sponsored, in part, by Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Davidson Fellows Scholarship Program: This program aims to recognize exceptional students and support them in the fulfillment of their potential. It includes categories of science, mathematics, and technology, among others. The top prize is $50,000.

Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge (DYSC):  For students in Grades 5-8. Ten finalists will receive $1,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to St. Paul, Minn. for the competition finals. The first-place winner will receive $25,000.

Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF):  For high school students, who must first qualify at an affiliated fair. Top prize is a $75,000 scholarship. Six high school projects and two to three middle school projects are selected each year at SARSEF to attend this global competition.

Intel Science Talent Search (STS):  A competition for high school seniors. Top prize is a $100,000 scholarship.

I-SWEEEP Two students from SARSEF are chosen to advance to this global competition in Houston, Texas each year.

Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology:  A competition for high school students. Top prize is a $100,000 scholarship.

Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC):  The world’s largest model rocket contest, accepts teams of students in grades 7-12 from any U.S. school or non-profit youth organization.

The DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition:  For U.S. and Canadian students in Grades 7-12. Top prize is $3,000 and a trip to Walt Disney World and Kennedy Space Center.

The Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS):  This program invites high school students in Grades 9-12 to conduct an original research investigation in the fields of science, engineering or mathematics, and to participate in a regional symposium sponsored by universities or other academic institutions. Regional winners proceed to a national competition.

Young Naturalist Awards:  This program, sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History and sponsored by Alcoa Corporation, is a research-based essay contest for students in Grades 7-12 to promote participation and communication in science.

Google Science Fair: This is an online competition open to students aged 13-18.

Broadcom MASTERS: If you are one of the first place winners at SARSEF in Grades 6-8, you will be eligible to enter the Broadcom MASTERS competition, where the Top 30 students win a trip to Washington, D.C.

Every Child. Thinking Critically. Solving Problems.