This year’s 15th Annual Austin Energy Regional Science Festival featured almost 3,000 participants, making it the largest event of its kind in the state of Texas. Those who win awards in Junior/Senior Division project divisions go on to participate in the ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair, which BioNews Texas columnist Monica de Barros recently reported on as a major success for Texas students this year. Participants who win “Best of Fair Senior Division” at the festival are advanced directly to festival sponsor Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair, which two high school and two middle school projects that focus on applied engineering, sustainable energy, or environmental engineering advance to the I-SWEEEP International Olympiad. In this way, the Festival serves as a key event for seeding Texas-based students into major science competitions.
According to The Eagle, “At the 15th Annual Austin Energy Regional Science Festival, Christopher Welcha a 9th grade home schooled student from College Station, created an experiment that won the Plant Sciences Category 1st Place Award. Welsh competed with 116 students for his prize, and will advance to the international science competition in Los Angeles May 11-18.”
In addition to Intel, the Austin Energy Regional Science Festival sponsors also include other major biotech and life sciences influencers, including Gold Sponsor Synopsys, Category Sponsors Oransi and ARM, silver sponsor CompassLearning and bronze sponsors Austin Water Utility, city of Austin Office of Sustainability, the Lower Colorado River Authority, the Texas Board of Professional Engineers, Tokyo Electron and the Travis County Medical Alliance.