Eastern Washington Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Written by Ray Roelling, Fair Director

The Eastern Washington Regional Science and Engineering Fair (EWRSEF) is quickly becoming the leading STEM educational venue and opportunity for all Eastern Washington students in grades 6-12.  Many of the students come from Spokane County while more and more are starting to participate by coming from Whitman, Lincoln, Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties.

In the two years of the EWRSEF, we have sent six local students to the International Science and Engineering Fair competitions.  These were all expenses paid 6-day trips as part of their award for winning.  At the International’s, our own local students can meet and compete against 1,800 students from 80 countries and regions.  A student from Ferris High has been awarded cash from NASA.  A student from North Central recently was able to privately present her project to Sally Jewell, former Secretary of the Interior under Barack Obama.  All have been able to meet and talk with their STEM student peers from countries literally A to Z; Azerbijan to Zimbabwe.  These are life, educational and career building experiences that are possible only because of the continued generous support from Schweitzer Engineering Labs to our fair.

Further, registration and participation in the EWRSEF in Spokane allows students automatic entrance into the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair (WSSEF). This is the one-and-only, internationally recognized, statewide competition for students in STEM.  Held annually in March in Bremerton, it attracts over 600 students from across the state.  Over 1.5 million dollars in scholarships, travel, awards and cash is given out each year at this state competition.  That is in addition to the naming of the WA State STEM Teacher of the Year and WA State STEM School of the Year awards.  All these student, school and teacher awards are dependent upon one thing; registration for, participation in and attendance at the WA State Fair in Bremerton.

The past two years, a few teachers in our region have gone to extraordinary lengths to fund bus trips to Bremerton and the state STEM fair for their students.  So far those few fortunate students who have been able to go have seen substantial awards. 10-12 have won state awards, certificates, cash and two Spokane students came back with $80,000 scholarships to a mid-west university.  No other STEM competition for students in this region comes close to the potential awards available at the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair.  Yet the kids must be able to travel there and participate with their project.  We simply must be able to send more local students to the state competition.

EWRSEF has an account for the Eastern Washington Regional Science and Engineering Fair that is set up with the NEWEC; Northeast Washington Educational Council.  To help local teachers with student participation stipends and fund travel by bus for participation in the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair.  Otherwise, participation from Eastern Washington to the fair in Western Washington for students is extremely doubtful without super-human efforts by a few teachers.

Help the students of Spokane County and the Eastern Washington Fair make it across the state. Help them with their futures. Please make contributions of any size to the Northeast Washington Educational Council; on behalf of the Washington State Regional Science and Engineering Fair and targeted to in-state student travel for the WA State Science and Engineering Fair.  The NEWEC is a 501(c)3 public charity for any contributions.  For further information contact EWRSEF.org or Ray Koelling, Fair Director at koellingr@comcast.net.