State’s Largest Science & Engineering Competition for Middle and High-School Students Awards $173K in Prizes

HAMDEN, Conn., Mar. 3, 2014 – Now in it 66th year in a row, volunteers with the Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair (CSEF) provides a forum for middle and high-school students to showcase their scientific prowess.  A record 590 projects are entered, from which about 150 will be selected as finalists.  The finalists will present their research to nearly 300 volunteer judges from government, academia, professional societies and industry on Thursday, March 13, and compete for $173K in prizes and several trips to represent the state at international competitions.

The event showcases the engineering and scientific abilities of 7th-12th graders: the 705 participants representing 127 schools have been selected from more than 12,000 students throughout Connecticut and several bordering New York towns. These young scientists have participated in local science fairs during the current school year and have achieved at a high level to come to CSEF. It will be held at Burt Kahn Court on the Mount Carmel Campus at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, where school group visits are encouraged on March 14.

“Having the opportunity to see young people demonstrating their science and engineering learning at such a great event is fantastic,” said Lucie Howell, director of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Center for Science Teaching and Learning at Quinnipiac University. “The fact that it takes place on the Quinnipiac campus and we get to be a small part of that learning experience by recognizing the students for their hard work and commitment is just a bonus.”

“These kids have a bright future and will make major contributions to American technology.” said CSEF Director Bob Wisner, who was a top winner at the event himself in the late 1950s.  “As a former winner myself and through my work with these kids each year, I can testify to the impact this event has on our youth.  Their research is impressive and I know these kids will be the science and technology leaders of the future.”

Past fair winners have been recognized by organizations including:  MacArthur Foundation “Genius”, CT Women of Innovation, and Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

They are still advancing the interests of science in their roles as entrepreneurs, professors, and heads of industry:

  • 1973 Alumnus, Richard Hart’s science project research became his life long career. He became a principal in a Connecticut start-up DeMaria Electro-Optical Systems that was bought by Coherent Inc., Bloomfield, CT
  • 1994 Alumna Kelly Benoit Bird continued her science project research in sounds of whales to become a research professor in this field at the University of Oregon and received the MacArthur Foundation Genius award in 2010
  • 2002 Alumnus, Jacob Fox’s mathematics project in combinatorial mathematics is still his passion, and he is now an assistant professor of applied mathematics at MIT pursuing combinatonics and a 2010 winner of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Dénes König Prize in Discrete Mathematics

Some of the interesting project titles that students are working on for this year’s fair are:

  • “Chemosensitization of High-grade Ovarian Carcinoma Via Calcium Signaling”
  • “The Effect of Attentional Demand on Functional Connectivity in the Parietal Lobe”
  • “Local Air Pollution Variations”
  • “Use of Stem Cell Engineering to Test the Function of a Genetic Variant for PTSD”
  • “Mathematical Analysis of the Rubik’s Cube Using the Thistlethwaite Algorithm and Sets of Moves”

The media is invited to see innovation in action as the 150 student finalists showcase their research during final judging between 9:00 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 13.   STUDENTS AND JUDGES WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS.  Another potential media opportunity exists on Saturday, March 16, during the Award Ceremony.

See Participating Schools and Student Projects sorted by town.  Get list of Awards/Sponsors


In addition to the State Fair Awards, some of the CSEF’s top winners will represent the Connecticut and compete for more than $5 million in cash and scholarships at competitions including the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair, the world’s largest pre-college science fair, the International Sustainable World Engineering, Energy & Environment Project Olympiad (I-SWEEEP) GENIUS Olympiad and the Broadcom Masters Competition

The schedule during fair week is:

Tuesday, March 11

Project set up                                                12:30 – 7:30 pm

Urban School Students

Preliminary Judging Interviews      12:30 – 6:30 pm

Wednesday, March 12                     9 am – 2 pm

Preliminary and Special Awards Judging (Students ARE NOT present)

Thursday, March 13                        9 am – 1:15 pm     BEST MEDIA OPPORTUNITY 

Finalist Judging – Approximately 150 student finalists and 150 volunteer judges are present and available for interviews

Public Viewing                                   2:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Friday, March 14

School Groups Visits                          9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Science Demonstrations                   10:00 am and 11:30 am

Public Viewing                                   2:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Saturday, March 15                          9 am – 10:30 am  Special Awards Ceremony; 11 am – 12:30pm  Finalist Awards Ceremony

All events are held in the Quinnipiac University Recreation Center on the Mount Carmel Campus.

 Broadcast media interested in doing live broadcasts may contact Harrison Potter (Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair) at (978) 460-4358 or or John Morgan (Quinnipiac University) at (203) 582-5359 or for arrangements.

For more information about the 2014 fair, visit To get the latest CSEF news releases, visit and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. Directions and full schedule can be found at

Get pdf of Pre-Fair Media Release  CSEFprefairmediarelease14

# # #

Leave a Comment