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Science Fairs Key to Sparking STEM Interest

A photo showing three of the winners of the 2023 high school science fair.

MMSA facilitates two science fairs in Maine, the Middle School Science and Engineering Fair and the Maine State Science Fair.

People of all ages—but especially kids—enjoy trying new things, exploring their interests, and solving problems using creative thinking. Essentially, this is what science is all about, and for those who pursue STEM careers, this usually becomes obvious at a young age.

But the common perception of science and other STEM fields is often at odds with finding out that it’s fun and interesting. Opportunities for youth to not only explore but also receive constructive feedback on and recognition for self-initiated science projects are few and far between. This is where science fairs come in.

Gone are the days of vinegar-and-baking-soda volcanoes, as quaint as that image of science fairs may be.

A photo of a Middle School Science Fair student tinkering with a robot in front of a trifold poster.

Recent winners of the top awards at the Maine State Science Fair presented projects exploring diverse topics, including designing a more energy-efficient hydroponics system, investigating antibiotic resistance, and creating eco-friendly fabrics.

Awards are given across multiple subject categories—including computer and data sciences, climate and energy, chemistry, and many more. Many students receive college scholarships in recognition of their achievements.

A student stands in front of her trifold presentation.

Even for those who don’t win awards, students still derive immense value from the experience of participating in science at such a sustained and deep level.

All students who participate in these science fairs spend months on in-depth and independently driven projects, with support from the science fair organizers and teachers, who also receive support during the school year to help students develop and carry out their projects.

Along with teachers as well as MMSA and its partners, the science fairs would not be possible without the help of sponsors.

To learn more about the behind-the-scenes work that makes these science fairs possible, visit the Maine State Science Fair website and the Maine Middle School Science and Engineering Fair webpage.

Six students stand in front of a backdrop showing the high school science fair logo.

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