SARSEF 2020 Winners

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meeting-many-standardsWhat Are the Benefits of Participating?

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Great PR for Your School

Each year, schools that participate with 10 or more projects at SARSEF are featured in a full-page ad in the Arizona Daily Star. This year, the advertisement will run on March 4.

This brings pride and recognition to your school, and is a great public-relations tool  for recruiting new students, and retaining the ones that you have.

Meet the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core

With so many expectations and curriculum standards to teach, it seems impossible to meet all of them. Having your teachers help students participate in a science research project fulfills many requirements all at once. Not only does it meet the process and skills required — it also helps students become both problem solvers and critical thinkers.

The integration and application of skills from every area of the curriculum brings students to the higher orders of learning. And the Next Generation Science Standard skills are applied to many of the required concepts and core disciplines. Use this easy guide to see where the NGSS and creating a science research project align:

Great Learning Experiences and Opportunities

What are the benefits of engaging in active research projects? Of course, the biggest and best reason to do a research project is so that students learn to care about what they are testing. Since they are going to choose something that means a lot to them, or that they are already interested in, they will enjoy learning more about it.


But in case you need some more convincing: Just last year, we gave 725 prizes and awards to student from across Southern Arizona, ranging from $25 to $500 in cash. We also awarded 11 all-expenses-paid trips, and 14 college scholarships!

However, with your jam-packed schedule, you still may wonder if you or your students can fit in another major activity. Surprising to some, a science fair project is one of the best learning experiences a student can undertake, and a teacher’s most fulfilling activity.

Yes, it is hard work and requires extra effort — but those who participate all say it is well worth the effort.  And, if taken seriously, it can be an excellent way for your students to earn significant prizes, qualify for scholarships, and distinguish a college application.

Smart students!

Savvy students, especially those who start young, work their way up to higher levels of competition, and learn even more about communications skills. They learn the importance of selecting topics and fine-tuning presentations in ways that will make them most likely to impress science fair judges. Middle school students who successfully competed at SARSEF went on to enter and win at other elite science and engineering contests like the American Museum of Natural History’s Young Naturalist Competition, and Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering As Rising Stars) — resulting in a free trip to New York City and Washington, D.C.!

Colleges want to see what students have done with the opportunities available, and science competitions are a fantastic opportunity. Many of the students who have won at SARSEF went on to paid positions at the University of Arizona’s Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP). And, typically, 2 to 4 percent of science fair entrants at the high-school level move on to  top-level science fair competition at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) which attracts colleges from all over the globe.

Other competitions

Most students do their projects for a school science fair, but in many cases, students can enter that same project in fairs at the city or county level. This is the first step toward competitions that lead up to the international level, where prizes total over $3 million, and top winners take home $75,000 scholarships.

From SARSEF, seven high-school projects move on each year as finalists — and three middle-school projects are selected as observers — and attend Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), which is held in a different city each year. Two projects will be selected to attend Houston’s I-SWEEEP — the International Sustainable World Energy Engineering Environment Project. Students from around the globe attend these week-long events, and the results have been amazing. For the past 14 years, SARSEF students who attended ISEF have won at four times the national average!

Students who attend these events can win bigger prizes and trips. One student, Liz Baker, won more than $260,000 in prizes and scholarships. Colleges LOVE students who already know how to conduct research. If you start now, you can make sure that your students have the opportunity of a lifetime.

Great Prizes for You and Your Students

SARSEF 2015 awarded over 750 prizes — many of which went to teachers who supervised the projects — and there will be even more this year! Here is what you or your students could win:

  • Scholarships (for high school students): Last year, seven scholarships were for the University of Arizona, and another eight were for another college of the student’s choice. This year, even more scholarships will be awarded.
  • An all-expense-paid trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) for seven high school and three middle school projects
  • Cash prizes (ranging from $25 to $500) for 650 of the top K‐12 students
  • Sponsored prizes, including Apple iPods, Amazon Kindle e-book readers, books, sculptures, meteorites, scientific calculators, gift cards, camps, microscopes and memberships in several organizations
  • Trophies, plaques and other display awards like certificates, medals and ribbons
  • Speaking engagements and luncheons at organizations
  • Internships and mentorships at medical- and science‐related companies
  • Media coverage, including newspaper, magazine and radio interviews
  • Trips to Washington, D.C. for middle school students who enter and win the Broadcom MASTERS
  • Trips to Houston for high school students entering I-SWEEEP … or to New York City for the Genius Olympiad, an international high-school science, art, creative writing and architectural design competition for environmental projects
  • Opportunities to enter MANY other competitions, and win more awards and trips with the same project


Best of all, a future career may be discovered. One student won $263,000 in college scholarships and prizes, plus four trips to the International Fair, in Washington D.C., and China because of her science projects. Two others worked on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Mission. Others attend Harvard Medical School and Stanford University because of their projects.

It ALL begins with the first step: helping students at your school to do a science research project and enter SARSEF!

What Areas of Science Were Recognized Last Year by Organizations Awarding a Prize?

  • American Chemical Society’s Women Chemists Committee
  • American Meteorological Society
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Society for Quality
  • American Society of Civil Engineers
  • Arizona Hydrologic Society
  • Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum
  • ASM International Foundation
  • Association for Women Geoscientists
  • AzRISE (Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy)
  • Broadcom MASTERS
  • Catalina Rotary Club
  • Cox Communications
  • Ella Dresher Memorial Scholarship
  • Friends of Animals
  • Genius Olympiad
  • Global Solar Energy
  • Governor’s Young Innovators Competition
  • Intel Excellence in Computer Science
  • International Dark Sky Association
  • Southern Arizona International Wildlife Museum
  • Jim Click Automotive
  • Johnson Award of Excellence
  • Iota Sigma Pi
  • I-SWEEEP Environmental, Engineering and Energy
  • Lazy S Ranch Animal Science Award
  • Little Chapel of All Nations
  • Metro Water District
  • Mini Time Machine
  • Mu Alpha Theta
  • Music and Engineering Association
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAH)
  • National Society of Professional Engineers
  • Phi Beta Kappa Association Math Award
  • Physics Factory
  • Pima County Medical Foundation
  • Pima County Wastewater Management
  • Planetary Science Institute
  • Reid Park Zoological Society
  • RICOH Environmental Sustainability
  • Rosemont Copper
  • Saguaro National Park Service
  • Southern Arizona Environmental Management Society
  • Southern Arizona Psychological Association
  • Southern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care System
  • Southwest Gas Stockholm Water Prize
  • Southwest Association for Education in Biomedical Research
  • Texas Instruments
  • Tucson Amateur Astronomers Organization
  • Tucson Cactus & Succulent Society
  • Tucson Electric Power
  • Tucson Gem and Mineral Society
  • University of Arizona
  • UA Biosphere 2
  • United States Metric Association
  • United States Air Force
  • United States Army
  • United States Navy & Marine Corps
  • USS Tucson 770Club
  • University of Arizona VIPER (Venom Immunochemistry, Pharmacology and Emergency Response) Institute
  • Women in Science & Engineering
  • MANY other individual and family donors!

Every Child. Thinking Critically. Solving Problems.