2013 Alumni Comments

“Ever since I was a young boy my older brother competed in science fair and won at state multiple times.  Every time this happened I would pack my bags and head up with mom and dad to see big brother at state.

Being able to help with my brother’s project and see all the others at regionals and state sparked my interest not only in science but in science fair.  Ever since 5th grade I have competed in science fair and also have won at state science fair.  These past few years I can honestly say have been some of the best, from seeing this community of young scientists to being part of it have given me some of the best opportunities in my life and I continue to watch this community grow.”

-Leighton Burt, Sargent Middle School, 2013 Colorado State Science Fair Participant


“I have been involved with Science Fair since fifth grade and am currently in ninth grade.  Both of the years that I did Science Fair in Junior High, I was selected to participate in the Colorado State Science Fair.  Last year, as an eighth grader, I was given the opportunity to travel to the International Science and Engineering Fair held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as a Student Observer.  It was a really magnificent opportunity to be able to go and see some of the best projects in the world and to be able to meet other people from other states and countries.  It was really exciting to see a lot of kids so excited about science.  Also, it was really fun to be able to see some fun sites of Pittsburgh that most people do not get to see.  One night all of the students went over to AE Stage where we had a dance, there was a lot of food there, and it was a lot of fun.  Also, all of the students, sponsors, and parents went over to the Steelers Stadium and Carnegie Science Center.  Those places were both a lot of fun. 

On Wednesday, all the Student Observers had a special day.  We were divided into groups and had some stations with experiments that we got to do.  In the afternoon, we were put into teams and each team built their own Rube Goldberg Machine.  Then we connected all the machines to make one giant contraption.  It was really cool.  I got to experiment with a lot of different things and got to learn a lot of different things.  One of the things that I learned about while at ISEF actually inspired me to do the project that I am doing this year.  Overall, it was a lot of fun to be able to see how a single science fair project can change your life forever.”

-Shelly Steinert, Sargent High School, 2013 Colorado State Science Fair Participant and Intel/ISEF, Student Observer 2012


“The International Science and Engineering fair was more amazing that I could have imagined. The projects these competitors came up with were jaw-dropping. The events we went to were fun and exciting. The people there were brilliant and amazing to talk to.  The experience was unforgettable, inspirational, and simply ‘wow!’ “

-Henry White, Sangre de Cristo Middle School, 2013 Colorado State Science Fair Participant, Intel/ISEF, Student Observer 2013


Science fair, in my opinion, is more than just competing to win awards.  It’s about the chance to do something you love and share it with people who are just as passionate about science as you are.  It is also the opportunity to do something you can really be proud of; an experience you will always remember.  Participating in science fair is something I have done throughout my high school career and is something that has definitely changed my life for the better. 

Before science fair, my life choices were not the ones I should have been making. I always hung around the wrong crowd, made poor decisions, and didn’t really have a plan for my future.  My family really wanted me to succeed in life, and deep inside somewhere, I believe that I wanted to do the best I could also.  But because of my choices and actions, I was making it very hard to do anything.  I really was headed downhill from where I wanted to be.

After deciding I needed to turn my life around, I went to a teacher who I felt I could trust, my 7th grade science teacher from the year before.  Wanting to keep me as busy and distracted as possible, she thought maybe just getting out would be very beneficial to me.  After an amazing summer of working in the great outdoors with her, I learned how much I really loved the environment and how much I really loved science.  I always liked science, but until I was actually seeing patterns in nature and collecting data, I didn’t know how deep my passion for science was.  After a tour of the Medano fire at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, I realized I wanted to participate in science fair and investigate the effects of the burn on the ecosystem there.  I had participated in science fair once before in middle school and liked it, so I figured I would try it again on something bigger.  After some discussions with the Park biologists and my mentor, I started my project of studying how the wildfire affected the water quality and macroinvertebrates of Medano Creek.

This project kept me very busy for the next two years, and I learned many, many things along the way.  During the course of this project, I had to apply for a federal permit to conduct research, as well as a grant to fund part of the analysis that was done.  I had to learn how to travel in the backcountry, collect water samples and aquatic macroinvertebrates (the insects in the water), and learn how to analyze the samples.  Between collecting samples every few weeks at my remote sites, analyzing them, and learning everything I could about water quality and aquatic insects, it seemed like all I was ever doing was science fair, and I absolutely loved every second of it.

The first year I presented my project at science fair, I felt scared and nervous, especially looking around at how many other good projects there were.  My first interviews were rocky, I couldn’t get my thoughts together, and I really hated talking to people I did not know.   But throughout the day , I learned to not worry about it so much and to just have fun telling my story, sharing my research findings, talking about the hard work I did and the fun I had, and it became easier and easier.  This past year I was chosen to go to the Intel international Science Fair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from the San Luis Valley Regional Science Fair.  The experience was simply amazing.  From meeting diverse kids and adults from different parts of the world to talking to high-level scientists about my research; it was an experience I will never forget.  And through this entire journey, I learned how to communicate science to anyone who wants to know about it, and even just how to talk to people and advocate for myself, how to take pride in the work I do,  and most importantly, I learned to have confidence in myself and started to really believe that I can do anything.  At the beginning of my research on Medano Creek, I never thought I would go to international science fair, or thought when I went that I could win an award, or place in my category.  But those things did happen, I think because I simply loved what I was doing – good science.  For me, I think one of the greatest awards I received was realizing that I can have any future I want, even become an ecology professor at a university! 

Without science fair, I do not even have a clue where I would be right now, but what I do know is every kid needs an opportunity like science fair to realize their potential and to see that they can do amazing things if they want to.  Science fair is an unforgettable experience for students, and through it they learn about real science, life skills, and most importantly about themselves.  Anything anyone can do to contribute to this opportunity makes them heroes to these students because it lets kids know that they have a chance to participate in something important, something real, something that can define who they are for the rest of their lives.  It did for me.”

-Tayler Rocha, Monte Vista High School, 2012 & 2013 Colorado State Science Fair Winner, 2012 & 2013 Intel/ISEF Student Winner, 2014 Intel Science Talent Search Semi-Finalist


“Science Fair isn’t just a hobby; it’s become a way of life. I have completed a project every year since I was in fourth grade. I’ve been in a variety of categories including: Botany, Consumer Sciences, Behavioral Science, Environmental Sciences, and Chemistry. I’ve done a college level chemistry project the past two years, and seem to have found the area I’m most interested in. Through science fair, I’ve not only learned how to extract Bisphenol-A from receipt paper and how to test Arsenic concentrations in contaminated water, but life lessons as well. I learned how to manage my time better and how essential it is to meet required deadlines. Time management and meeting deadlines isn’t just linked with science fair, it’s a key component that is needed to be successful in whatever task is being done. Another skill I achieved, is how to approach professors and possible mentors. I’ve had two mentors that are professors at Adams State University. The countless e-mails have helped me discover how to communicate with them, on a professional level. Before the chemistry projects, I never really knew what I was interested in or what I wanted to do after high school. Because of those projects, I’m thrilled to say that I have found my passion. Picking the perfect college is easier said than done. I never thought Colorado School of Mines would be in my future, but with the $4,000.00 scholarship I received from them at state science fair, chemical engineering never sounded so perfect. I appreciate all the opportunities that were given to me through science fair. Knowing I’m a senior and that this is my last year, I can only hope that by the time my 2nd grade brother is in high school, he is as fortunate to work, excel, and learn in an environment that I was privileged enough to have. “

Alanna Chacon, Center High   School, 2013 Colorado State Science Fair Winner


S –Science

C – Creativity

I – Intelligence

E – Exciting

N – Notion

C – Challenging

E – Excellent


F – Fantastic

A – Amazing

I –Interesting

R– Reward


Science Fair has been a great place to meet new people, learn new skills, create and test experiments. The skills I am learning help me in school and will continue to help me with future jobs.”

Hannah Fischer, Sierra Grande Middle School, 2013 Colorado State Science Fair Winner




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