Iowa State University


Sande McNabb, Plant Pathology, (515) 294-3120
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- The Iowa State Science and Technology Fair (ISSTF) will be held March 27-28, 1998, at Iowa State University. It is the only statewide general science fair for middle and high school students in Iowa.

Information booklets on the fair and instructions on how to apply are now available, according to Sande McNabb, university professor of plant pathology and forestry at ISU and chair of the ISSTF Board of Directors.

"This year we are asking for two applications to the fair," McNabb said. "The first, due on Feb. 20, will allow organizers to prepare for the upcoming fair and build up our database. The second, the official entry form which requires sponsor and parent/guardian signatures, will be due on March 13."

McNabb said students interested in participating in the fair must submit project proposals. All projects need to 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.

Many Iowa students 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. Entry in other fairs is not required for the ISSTF, McNabb said.

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

Last year, nearly 450 students from across Iowa participated in the fair. It was the first time it was held at Iowa State University. Stephanie Staub, a West Des Moines Valley High School student won a combined $11,000 at ISSTF for her project, "Is it probable to create a truly random number generator? Phase III." Staub also got the chance to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Louisville, Ky.

In all, there were 88 fair awards and approximately 200 special awards given to students who participated in last year's fair.

McNabb said that the Iowa Space Grant Consortium will again sponsor a $10,000 four-year tuition grant that can be used at any of the three Iowa state universities or Drake University. In addition, there will be Iowa Energy Center Youth and Energy Scholarships and Iowa State Science and Technology Scholarships, as well as other awards. To date, the value of the awards available for the 1998 fair total $30,000.

"Getting these students involved in science and having them do these interesting projects helps entice them into careers in science and technology," McNabb said.

For more information on the Iowa State Science and Technology Fair and an entry booklet write to Sande McNabb, 221 Bessey Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011-1021, or call (515) 294-3120.

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