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MCLA Announces Region I High School Science Fair

02/27/2012

NORTH ADAMS, MA - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) has announced the eighth annual Massachusetts Region I High School Science & Engineering Fair will take place on Friday, March 9, in the Amsler Campus Center gymnasium.

The public is invited to attend a viewing of this year's projects from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., and to a presentation by the keynote speaker, Dr. Timothy Shank, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) of Woods Hole, Mass.  WHOI is the largest private non-profit oceanographic institution in the world. 

Recently featured on the PBS program, "NOVA," Shank is best known for his team's discovery of life at hydrothermal vents in the Arctic Ocean.  Shank has led numerous deep-sea expeditions to study these life forms and their biological community structure at hydrothermal vents in the deep sea.  Shank's team's findings are being utilized to investigate whether the key ingredients for life may exist on some moons in our own solar system, including Jupiter's Europa.

In addition, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Senior Meteorologist Brian Montgomery and his team from the Albany, N.Y., office of the National Weather Service will be involved in the Fair as part of their educational outreach program "Taking the Pulse of the Planet."

More than 100 students from 10 schools in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties will participate and present their work in the areas of biology, behavioral and social science, biochemistry, botany, chemistry, computer science, earth and space science, engineering, environmental science, mathematics, medicine, microbiology, physics and zoology. 

Participating high schools include Taconic, Drury, Westfield, Greenfield, Mohawk Regional, Minnechaug Regional, St. Joseph, Monument Mountain Regional, McCann Technical School and Amherst Regional High School.

The students' projects will be judged on several criteria, including scientific approach, innovation and creativity, and presentation. Forty finalists will be selected to advance to the Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair, to be held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in May, where they will have an opportunity to advance to the International Science and Engineering Fair.

The top two projects from the Region I Fair also will be selected to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held this year in Pittsburgh, Pa., May 13-18. Top-scoring projects at the Region I Fair also will be selected for special awards and prizes from government agencies and businesses.

The Region I Science & Engineering Fair is a program of the Berkshire STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Pipeline. The goal of the Pipeline is to build a connection between higher education, local schoolchildren in grades K-12, businesses and non-profit agencies, and to see that all students are educated in STEM fields.  The Pipeline also aims to enable youth to pursue post-secondary degrees or careers in these areas, and to raise their awareness of the benefits associated with an increased statewide focus on STEM.

Anyone with interest in becoming a judge for the Region I Fair should have a four-year degree and work in a STEM-related area and contact Regional Fair Director Mindy Chapman at Mindy.Chapman@mcla.edu.