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Fair to bring future scientists and engineers to UC Riverside

RIVERSIDE, Calif. What are you really eating when you're eating chicken? Do different types of wood produce the same heat when burned? Do twins have similar fingerprints? How does sleep affect your memory? Does your eye color matter?

Hundreds of K-12 students from 33 local schools will answer these and other intriguing questions at the 23nd annual Science and Engineering Fair at the University of California, Riverside, Feb. 7-9. The fair will take place at the Pentland Hills Bear Cave on campus.

In total, the students from the Riverside Unified School District (RUSD) will present more than 300 projects at the fair. The public can view all the projects on Thursday, Feb. 9, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and attend the Awards Ceremony at 6 p.m. in the University Theater. Early arrival at the ceremony is encouraged since seating is limited.

Students will set up their projects on Tuesday, Feb. 7; UC Riverside researchers and RUSD volunteers will judge the competition on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

UCR's College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS) and the Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE) are co-hosting the fair. A hands-on competition designed to capture the interest of young people, the fair has in past years inspired students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"It's a great pleasure to co-host the RUSD Science Fair each year," said Marylynn V. Yates, the dean of CNAS. "Our faculty and graduate students enjoy judging the projects, and everybody enjoys talking to the RUSD students and hearing how much enthusiasm they have for their projects and for science. It's just a wonderful experience for everyone."

According to Carlos Gonzalez, the director of the Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement (MESA) School Program in BCOE, the fair brings together the best science fair projects from throughout RUSD.

"It is a tremendous opportunity for students to directly interact with research scientists and engineers currently engaged in their own projects and studies," he said. "It affords our faculty the opportunity to help nurture the researchers of tomorrow, as they begin their own educational journeys. For UCR, it is a chance to showcase the university to the best and brightest students in Riverside, and to take center stage in a major community event."

As part of a NASA Climate grant, several UCR graduate students have been paired up with about 30 RUSD students from Grades 6-11 for projects being presented at the fair. The Department of Earth Sciences will host a pizza party in the Geology Building for these RUSD students on Feb. 9, during the time between the public viewing and the awards ceremony.

Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
University of California - Riverside

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