Iowa State University

Sande McNabb, Plant Pathology, (515) 294-3120
Jennifer Henrich, News Service, (515) 294-6881


Ames, Iowa -- The Iowa State Science and Technology Fair will be held March 21-22, 1997, at Iowa State University.

Held in Des Moines for the past 39 years and called the Hawkeye Science Fair, the fair will continue as the only statewide general science fair for middle and high school students in Iowa. It will join four other regional fairs in sending first-place high school winners to the International Science and Engineering Fair, which represented 46 states and 32 countries in 1996.

ISU President Martin Jischke said, "We are delighted to have the opportunity to host this important educational activity for the young people of Iowa. Iowa State's motto is 'Science with Practice,' and what better way to carry that out than by supporting talented young people as they put science into practice. The fair has enjoyed great success for nearly 40 years, and we look forward to building it into an even larger and more prestigious activity for Iowa."

"Iowa State has a basic responsibility as a land grant university to educate our youth in science, and this opportunity to continue the fair at Iowa State is great for the students and the university," said Sande McNabb, university professor of plant pathology and forestry at ISU and associate director of the fair. "We hope to develop it more fully and allow many more students the opportunity to participate in the future."

Claison Groff, fair director the past 10 years, will continue as director of the Iowa State Science and Technology Fair. "We're confident the fair will continue to progress like it has in the past,'' said Groff. "We also hope to see some new interest from schools that haven't participated."

Participants in the state science fair first submit project proposals, for individual or group projects, to the fair's director. All projects must adhere to regulations set by the fair's committee, and proposals must be developed under the guidance of a teacher

or other professional. The science areas covered are broadly divided into physical and biological sciences.

"The students pretty much do what scientists would do," said Gene Lucas, professor of biology at Drake University and former chair of the Hawkeye Science Fair executive committee.

Students usually work during the preceding summer, fall and winter developing their projects. They also attend local and regional fairs before showing their exhibits at the state fair each spring. Examples of research topics recently exhibited include the study of caffeine as an insecticide, the diet of the gray-horned owl and the heat output of different types of commercial charcoal.

Prizes are awarded at the seventh- and eighth-grade levels. High school winners receive scholarships. Also, many topical awards are given by state, federal, university and industrial groups.

During the fair's 39 years, 125 Iowa schools have sent more than 25,000 junior and senior high school students to participate.

According to Lucas, Iowa State University's sponsorship of the fair creates a great opportunity to expand the fair.

"Iowa State offers a better site and a connection to a well- known science institution, Lucas said. "I think this will improve the quality of the fair."