The International Science And Engineering fair has a new title sponsor and is now named Regeneron ISEF. Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic, the fair was held as a virtual event.
Since its beginning in 2015, ASEF’s Mentor Program has assisted 673 students with 499 projects from 14 middle and high schools. 445 students entered our fair with 354 projects, winning a total of 14 Category and 15 Special Awards.
ASEF and AERSF began a partnership with the University of Texas at Austin’s High School Research Initiative (HRI) that offers dual-enrollment research courses to high school students. ASEF’s Mentor program supports theses students by helping them turn their research into science fair projects.
The Austin Energy Regional Science Festival celebrates its 60th Anniversary!
ASEF started a Mentor Program for schools serving students from low social-economic and diverse backgrounds. In its first year, the program served one middle school in North Austin. 29 students with 20 projects participated; 15 of them with 12 projects entered the fair.
The Austin Science Education Foundation was founded. ASEF is a 501( c)(3) non-profit organization that supports AERSF through judges and volunteers recruiting, fundraising, community outreach, and assistance with the overall management of the fair. Members of the former Advisory Committee helped create the original board. Ms. Weigand serves as Executive Director.
One of the regional Best of Fair winners placed 4th in her category at Intel ISEF; while she attended the University of Texas in Austin, she served as co-presenter at the Junior and Senior Awards Ceremony. She is now enrolled at Rutgers University Newark, working towards her Ph. D. in Geomicrobiology in the Environmental Sciences Department. She is a recipient of the Bridge to Doctorate NSF fellowship and in the summer of 2020 had a full-time ISS Research Integration Internship at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Intel ISEF begins using high school and middle school participation levels to calculate how many Best of Fair projects each fair can send to ISEF. AERSF is allocated five projects. In that first year, AERSF students won two first place awards, two third awards, two full tuition scholarships to Drexel University, and four special awards.
A regional Best of Fair winner from Westwood H.S. won 1st place at Intel ISEF in Cellular & Molecular Biology (Molecular Genetics of Alcohol Addiction: A Novel Role of Diazepam-Binding Proteins) and Best of Category; his research was published in a national industry magazine.
Russell Cowen serves a Fair Director. In 2012, Mr. Cowen designed and implemented an online registration and paperwork submission system that makes compliance with ISEF rules much easier and saves thousands of pieces of paper each year. The online registration is now used by all regional fairs in Texas and the Texas Science and Engineering Fair as well as regional fairs in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisana, New York and Virginia.
Intel ISEF renamed the Zoology category to Animal Sciences and the Botany category to Plant Sciences. Both categories saw a sharp increase in participation.
Ingrid Weigand, Manager of Marketing Communications, became Fair Director and continued managing the fair until her retirement in 2013.
Intel ISEF added Space Science and Team Projects as categories, but eliminated Gerontology.
A regional Best of Fair winner from Connally H.S. who placed second in the category of Gerontology at Intel ISEF (Cellular Senescence: Factors Regulating the Expression of Telomerase in Euplotes crassus and Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is now specializing in cardiology; she served a co-presenter at the Junior and Senior awards ceremonies from 2005 – 2012.
Candice Scott, Public Information Officer at Austin Energy, served as Fair Director. She was assisted by the newly formed Advisory Committee, headed by Dr. Barbara ten Brink. The fair moved from the old Palmer Auditorium to the new Palmer Events Center.
Austin Energy assumes responsibility for conducting the AERSF.
The regional Best of Fair winner from LBJ H.S. competed at Intel ISEF in the category of Medicine and Health, then changed course and received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He now works at Samsung and has served as a judge at AERSF numerous times.
Austin ISD’s LBJ H.S. and Pflugerville ISD’s Connally H.S. students dominated the Best of Fair winners. Bowie H.S. and a new high school in Leander ISD, Vista Ridge H.S. began to win awards.
The same regional Best of Fair winner from Round Rock H.S. was selected both years and placed 2nd and 3rd in Microbiology, respectively, at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) . She graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Biology from Rice University and was awarded a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Stanford University. After a postdoc at the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, she switched careers and focused on science education. She is now a performer specializing in hoop dance, levitation wand, fire dancing, aerials, and combines circus arts with science.
Dr. Barbara ten Brink, Science Director at Round Rock ISD, served as Fair Director. She recruited Austin Energy as a sponsor in 1999. During her tenure, the back-to-back award ceremonies for the Junior and Senior Divisions were combined into one ceremony. As the fair grew, the Junior and Senior Divisions were separated from the Elementary Division. The Junior and Senior Divisions now start on Wednesday with registration; projects are judged on Thursday, and the awards ceremony is Thursday night. Elementary students register on Friday. They are judged and have their awards ceremony on Saturday.
Intel ISEF began permitting each affiliated regional and state fair to advance three Best of Fair projects: Two done by individuals and one by a team.
A regional Best of Fair winner from Round Rock H.S. received a B.S. in Mathematics from M.I.T. and is now a partner at 400 Capital Management.
Kenn Heydrick, Coordinator of Science and Health at Austin ISD, served as Fair Director of the Austin Area Regional Science Festival. Dr. Heydrick is currently the Executive Director of the National Science Education Leadership Association, housed at the University of Texas at Tyler. Under Dr. Heydrick’s leadership, the Elementary Division was added to the fair, including Pre-K through Grade 6.
All regional Best of Fair winners were either from Round Rock High School or Bowie High School.
Dr. Wayne R. Schade, Austin ISD Science Coordinator, served as Fair Director of the Austin Area Science Fair which was renamed the Austin Area Science and Mathematics Fair in 1984. Dr. Schade, now retired, still judges projects in the Junior and Senior Divisions. During his tenure, the fair took place in the cafeteria of the new Austin H.S. on Ladybird Lake. Students registered and set up on Fridays and were judged on Saturdays.
The International Science Fair established official science categories in which students entered their projects. A student from McCallum H.S. (Vitamin E: The Anti-Smog Vitamin) placed second in Medicine & Health.
Students from Lanier H.S. and Travis H.S. were selected regional Best of Fair winners, advancing to the International Science Fair. The first finalist from Westlake H.S. (Gametophytic Ametophtic Aberration of Thelypteris Dentata Caused by ∞ Trichoderma) now teaches Biostatistics and Genetics as an Associate Professor at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania.
During the first dozen years, all the regional Best of Fair winners who were sent to the National/International Science Fair were from Austin H.S. or McCallum H.S.
A student who was selected regional Best of Fair winner all three years and advanced to the International Science Fair received his M.D. from the University of Texas in Galveston. His projects ranged from “Field-Effect Transistors And Field-Effect Transistor Amplifiers At ∞-195 Degrees Celsius” to “Transistors Integrated With Physically Small Antennas.” He is now a board certified Ophthalmologist and serves on the Board of Directors of The Eye Institute of Austin.
Lawrence Buford, first a science teacher at Lamar Junior High School, then Science Coordinator for Austin Independent School District, served as Fair Director of the Austin Area Science Fair
One of two regional Best of Fair winners (Are Fish Affected by Magnetism?) received a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon and is now a Senior Lecturer in Genetics at Texas A&M.
Students from Canada, Japan and Germany compete for the first time at the National Science Club.
One of the two regional Best of Fair winners, again from Austin H.S., (Creating Metabolism in Nutritional Muscular Dystrophy) earned a Ph.D. in Zoology, Physiology, and Biochemistry at the University of Texas. He retired as a professor of Biology from the University of Colorado.
One of the students (Separating the Cations Used in Alloys & Steels by Paper Chromatography) received a Ph.D. in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics at Cal Tech in 1965 and became the Director of the Crosbyton Solar Power Project of Texas Tech University which built the largest single mirror solar collector in history and made the nation's first commercial electric power plant from solar steam. 1956 National Science Fair Program
Inaugural Austin Regional Science Festival
The First Annual Austin Science Fair was organized by the University of Texas at Austin, and sent two students from Austin High School to the Science Club of America, which later became the National Science Fair International in 1960, the International Science Fair in 1966, and the International Science and Engineering Fair in 1971. The students’ trip was funded by the Travis County Women's Medical Auxiliary. The organization remains a sponsor to this day, under the name of Travis County Medical Alliance.