The Plano ISD Science and Engineering Fair (PSEF) is open to all 7th - 12th grade students. Participation begins at the campus level by competing in the campus science fair. Depending on fair placement, junior division students (7th & 8th grade) can compete all the way through the Texas Science and Engineering Fair (TxSEF), while senior division students (9th - 12th grade) can compete all the way through the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).
Students who are thinking and acting like scientists have already mastered the first step to science fair success. Science fair is in-depth learning on a project of interest to each student scientist. With 21 categories, there will be a category for each student’s interest. Students are excited about the challenges and even say "it's a passion." That passion all begins with a questioning mind. Plano ISD is proud of its tradition of winning in science competitions from district through international levels. At the junior level Plano ISD students bring home 50% of the regional and 33% of the state awards with 50-75% of the grand prizes. At the senior level, Plano ISD students bring home 80% of the regional and 50-75% of the state awards. At the heart of our program are our science fair judges.
Secondary Science and Engineering Fair Judges Needed!
Plano ISD is requesting help with judging the Plano ISD Science and Engineering Fair on January 27, 2024 from 7:30 AM to 1:00 PM at McMillen High School, 750 N Murphy Rd, Murphy, TX 75094
All confirmed judges will receive an information packet and map in early January via email. If you have a co-worker or colleague who might be interested in judging, please forward this information.
Volunteers are the heart of our program. Your help with Plano ISD Science and Engineering Fair helps encourage students to pursue science-related careers. We understand how full your schedules are, but hope you will reserve time for our students. The fair is successful year after year thanks to the support of our community. We hope your calendar allows you to participate in this wonderful event. You can inquire for more information by contacting Dr. Ashley Carter (email@example.com), the Plano ISD Secondary Science Coordinator.
Celebrating more than 35 years of student research in Plano ISD
In 1984, The Plano District Science Fair began its legacy of science achievement. The first science fair was hosted by Clark High School and included fewer than 40 projects. The 2018 fair took place at the Plano Centre on February 8, 2018 and included 401 projects presented by 509 students! Who could have anticipated our current level of success and the growth of the local science fair back in 1984? Community support has always been instrumental in our success. Community volunteers and sponsors make this event possible. Without this type of support, we would not have been able to achieve the level of success that Plano students experience year after year.
A Tradition of Winning
At the regional level in 2023, Plano ISD high school students earned 76% of the first place awards; middle school students earned 61% of the first place awards.
At the State Science Fair, twenty-one Plano ISD students captured awards, including the Best in the State of Texas award in Life Science - Senior Division (Zehra Jaffery, Plano West Senior High School). Thirteen Plano ISD Senior Division winners placed first, second, or third in their category and earned the opportunity to attend the Governor’s Science and Technology Champions Academy. Three Plano ISD Junior Division students placed first in their category and were nominated to apply to the Thermo Fisher Science Junior Innovators Challenge.
At the International Science and Engineering Fair, five out of ten Plano ISD projects brought home numerous awards in cash, scholarships and travel opportunities, including THREE first place finishes - Meryl Zhang (Clark High School) in Mathematics, Shirya Bhat (Plano East Senior High School) in Microbiology, and Alanna Polyak (Plano West Senior High School) in Translational Medical Science. Participating in these competitions encourages students to pursue science-related careers and realize their dreams.
All students who elect to participate in the science fair process begin by entering their campus science fair. Students who place at their campus are advanced to the Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair (DRSEF), which takes place at Fair Park in mid-February. Before attending DRSEF, Plano ISD students compete at the Plano ISD Science and Engineering Fair (PSEF) to gain valuable experience and receive feedback from community and industry volunteer judges. Students who place at DRSEF are advanced to the Texas State Science and Engineering Fair (TxSEF), which takes place in College Station in March. TxSEF is the culminating competition for junior division (7th & 8th grade) students. Senior division (9th - 12th grade) students who place at TxSEF continue to their culminating competition - the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). The location of ISEF changes annually, but it typically occurs in mid-May.
Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair
Currently, more than 1800 high school students representing over 70 countries, regions and territories attend the International Science Fair. Top young researchers compete for over $4 million in awards. Over the years, 208 projects from Plano have qualified and competed at the Regeneron ISEF capturing over 200 awards and scholarships:
First in Category awards were earned by Stefan Block (1999), Kathy Li (2000 and 2001), Ryan Alexander (2009), Amy Chyao (2010), Ria Chhabra (2014), Nicky Wojtania (2016), Tiasha Joardar (2016), Nicky Wojtania (2017), Burzin Balsara and Malav Shah (2018), Kevin Meng (2019), Ishaan Javali and Shrey Joshi (2021), Parisa Viziri (2021), and Shriya Bhat (2022 and 2023), Meryl Zhang (2023), and Alanna Polyak (2023). In 2010, Amy Chyao was the recipient of the Best in Fair top award at ISEF for her work in cancer research, specifically her work in targeted drug delivery.
Senior level students are also invited to apply to present their work in the Regeneron STS. Each year, students enter the Regeneron STS and compete for over $1 million in awards. Only 300 students are announced as semifinalists. From this select pool, 40 finalists are invited to participate in the final judging, display their work to the public, meet with notable scientists, and compete for the top award of $100,000. Since 1995, 62 Plano ISD students have been awarded the scholars (semifinalists) designation and 13 have been selected as finalists. The finalists include Deborah Yeh (1995), Stefan Block (2000), Jimmy Yang (2005), Alex Huang (2008), Elise Lin (2010), Rounok Joardar (2011), Amy Chyao (2012), Lisa Michaels (2014), and Krithika Iyer (2017), Michael Ma (2018), Vincent Huang (2019), Parisa Viziri (2021), and Alay Shah (2021). Three of these students were named as Top 10 winners - Deborah Yeh (5th place, 1995), Vincent Huang (9th place, 2019), and Alay Shah (7th place, 2021).