The Regional Science Fair has a rich and successful history in the San Luis Valley. The first Science Fair took place on the Adams State College campus in 1949. The fairs were held in the old Math and Science Building and science departments. Directors during this time were department heads and a work study student. The year 1979, thirty years later, brought many changes to the fair. At that time a group of community leaders and ASC professors organized a Board of Trustees and the fair was moved to Plachy Hall Fieldhouse on the college campus, as the exhibits had outgrown the old math and science building. Today, the Plachy Hall Fieldhouse on the Adams State University campus is the current housing ground of the Regional Science Fair. Also during the “reorganization era”, the Trustees decided to use marketing and fund-raising tools to promote academic excellence and pride. The non-profit status was granted by the IRS in 1981.
Another great achievement for the fair was sponsorship by the SLV Board of Cooperative Services (BOCES) in 1985. BOCES, at that time provided an office and salaried personnel to help organize the fair. Today, the Science Fair office is still headquartered at the BOCES building and now has a paid executive director.
Each school district in of the Valley appoints one or more fair coordinators for their schools. The coordinators are responsible for the science projects and the administration of their local school fairs. Winners of the local fairs then advance to the SLV RSF. Projects are entered in one of eleven categories: Behavioral and Social Sciences, Botany, Chemistry, Consumer Sciences, Earth and Space Science, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Mathematics and Computers, Physics, Zoology and Biomedical.
All participants at the SLV RSF receive a ribbon and certificate of participation. Winners from each category are presented monetary awards. There are also special local awards that are presented, again with monetary compensations. In addition, there are several national special awards that are issued by Society for Science. Over $20,000 is awarded to students in awards, scholarships, summer internships and trips. In addition to the SLV RSF, twenty junior and senior high students advance to the Colorado State Science and Engineering Fair, which is held in Ft Collins, Colorado. Also an all-expense trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is awarded to the top two senior division students, by the SLV RSF. Adult Sponsors of these students also attend ISEF and are partially funded by the SLV RSF.
Today, Adams State University professors, upper division students and a large contingent of professional and lay community people volunteer to serve as judges and in other various capacities for this two day event. Students are kept busy during the fair, being interviewed by the judges or participating in science programs that are provided by various organizations in the region and the state.
The SLV RSF has been successful because of the dedication and support of parents, teachers and the community as a whole, which also includes over 300 contributors who financially support the Fair. There is a true spirit of volunteerism from all corners of the San Luis Valley when asked to help with the Science Fair.