PITTSBURG -- The first deadline is drawing near for entries in the 2014 Contra Costa County Science and Engineering Fair at Los Medanos College.
As part of an international event, the local committee is required to screen certain entries in advance and has set Oct. 30 as its first deadline.
"Since we are Intel-Affiliated we have to follow the international rules to make sure that all safety precautions are being adhered to," said April Treece, co-coordinator of the event.
The Oct. 30 deadline is only for those students who plan to experiment with humans and animals as well as for those who will work with environmental chemical agents that are considered toxic. For other entries, the deadline for submissions isn't until Jan. 17.
"We don't want to stand in the way of these students moving up and competing in higher competitions, so it is best to make sure that this Oct. 30 deadline is followed," Treece said.
A broad range of science and engineering topics can be entered into this contest, which is open to Contra Costa County middle schools grades seven and eight, as well as high schools grades nine through 12. Treece said the only exception is West County area schools, which are not eligible for this contest. More information can be found on the Fair's website at www.cccsef.org.
Students who win at this fair are able to move up the chain of science fairs, competing in such fairs as the Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair and all the way up to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
For those students who have great ideas for the program, but worry because they don't know how to present the entries, LMC is also hosting a special event on Nov. 17. The event is called "Create a Winning Science Fair Project" and will feature two previous winners to the program, Blake Marggraff and Julienne Sauer.
Marggraff, of Lafayette, made science fair history in 2011 by being the first California resident to win the International Science and Engineering Fair's top award. As the award winner he took home an $83,000 prize, according to Treece.
He also won the 2012 CCCSEF Senior Division Grand Sweepstakes and the The Gordon E. Moore "Best of Fair" Award of $75,000, along with friend Matthew Feddersen, for a project called "Simulated Treatment of Cancer with Photoelectric Effect-Produced Secondary Radiation."
Sauer, meanwhile, is a middle school student who is a 2013 Broadcom Masters Finalist and 2013 CCCSEF Junior Division Grand Sweepstakes Winner.
"I like the fact this program is kids helping the new competitors on how to do their best," Treece said.
The program features information on focusing and refining projects, designing winning project boards and tips, advice and a question-and-answer session. The committee has made arrangements so that 20 students attending the event will have the opportunity to correspond with Marggraff as a mentor to help prepare their project and presentation for the CCCSEF competition.
For professionals and adults who are interested in volunteering for the event or judging the competitions, the committee has put a call out for the March 21 event. Categories for the judging include behavioral, biological, engineering, environmental, math and computer and physical sciences. There are generally about 400 students who enter in the program.
Volunteers are needed to collate judging materials, assist students on setup day, provide assistance for judges and prepare awards. For more information on judging and volunteering or to enter a project see the fair's website at www.cccsef.org.