Cash crop: Science fair to offer bucks for brains
Organizers of an upcoming science fair say hooey to giving out measly blue ribbons. These folks are gonna shell out some cold, hard cash.
The winner of this year's Agricultural Science Fair, hosted by Arizona Western College, will take home $1,200. That's a pretty big jump from the movie passes given out last year.
"We've been able to raise almost $10,000 in cash prizes," said Kurt Nolte, AWC agriculture professor, quite proudly. "I think that's just great."
This is also the first year that the science fair will have an agricultural theme, focusing on categories ranging from environmental science and zoology to food safety and botany.
The event runs Monday and Tuesday at AWC, with a chance for the public to view the projects on the final day. That public peek into the young people's work will go from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, all showing in three AWC buildings: The College Union, Academic Complex and Campus Library.
Judges for the event will measure projects in terms of research, planning, organization, interpretation of observations and communication.
The competition will be broken into three grade levels: fourth-sixth, seventh-ninth, and 10th-12th grades. In yet another first, this is the first time high school students have been invited to participate. Nolte explained that including the older students is more than just a kind gesture.
"We find that a lot of students entering college lack some skills in terms of critical thinking. Instead of having a lull in science projects, we want to include the high school students. We want to get them ready for college."
Darin Fenger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 539-6860.