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Indian River Regional Science & Engineering Fair

What is the Indian River Regional Science & Engineering Fair program?

The Indian River Regional Science & Engineering Fair (IRRSEF) program has been the catalyst for developing confidence and critical thinking skills in Indian River County students (K-12th grades) since 1992. This evidence-based program reinforces math, reading, and writing skills through scientific research and discovery. Through the process of exploration and imagination children expand their academic potential.

School based fairs take place in November and December. The top finalist or each school advance to the IRRSEF to compete for over $1 million dollars in college scholarships and academic awards.

The IRRSEF takes place the last Saturday in the month of January. More than 200 local volunteers, professionals and research scientists mentor students and review science projects.

From the IRRSEF, 20 middle and high school projects (6th – 12th) are selected to advance to the State of Florida Science & Engineering Fair. One additional project is selected to advance to the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair.

Who are the benefactors?
Primary supporters are: George E. Warren, Grand Harbor Community Outreach, Florida Power & Light, Publix Super Markets, Piper Aircraft, Toyota of Vero Beach, and Wells Fargo.

Who are the participants? 
Participants must attend an elementary, middle or high school in Indian River County. We welcome public, independent and homeschool students to participate.

How does the Ed Foundation participate? 
The Education Foundation of Indian River County raises the funding for the IRRSEF.  In partnership with the School District of Indian river County, the annual IRRSEF is held on the campus of Gifford Middle School.

The Education Foundation provides administrative structure and resources for planning and implementation of the fair.  The SDIRC provides in-kind support of staff and facilities.  Together the staff and resources of both organizations are coordinated to implement  the school based fairs and the regional IRRSEF.

What other groups or organization are involved? 
Independent schools like Saint Edward’s School actively participate and provide in-kind supports of staff, volunteers and transportation.

Why is the Ed Foundation involved?
This program is true to our mission.  For 26 years the Education Foundation saw the need for what is now STEM in our schools to provide every student the opportunity to participate in the science fair.

What is the goal?
The IRRSEF program was created by the EF-IRC in 1992 to serve a specific need in our education community – to provide ALL children an opportunity for discovery through science. The program has grown to include:

  1. Technical and financial assistance for local school fairs
  2. Teacher development and training programs in the area of science
  3. Resources and supports in the classroom for all children.
  4. Recognition/awards for student scientific achievement
  5. Student internships to encourage interest in science
  6. Scholarships for participation in state and international competitions
  7. Scholarships for college

This comprehensive program is the driver of science curriculums in public and private schools in Indian River County. It is the one academic program that combines all multi-disciplinary subjects.. The program offers every student (K-12) in Indian River County an opportunity to advance their skills, receive recognition and earn college scholarships.

Are there volunteers? 
Volunteers are the backbone of the IRRSEF.  There are a wide-variety of ways that volunteers help:

  • Planning Committee
  • Volunteer/Sponsorship Recruitment
  • Judging
  • Special Awards – Judging/Sponsorship Recruitment
  • PowerPoint Presentation – Award Ceremonies
  • Typing/Data Entry

What is the Ed Foundations investment in dollars?
The IRRSEF program budget is $64,000 that includes supplies, chair/table rentals, awards, affiliation fees, and staff time.

What is the Ed Foundations investment in human and other resources? 
Staff time for implementation and oversight.

How is the performance to goal measured? 

  • Comparative Studies of students who participated vs. those who did not on standardized tests.
  • Pre and Post surveys of teachers
  • Evaluation of student attitudes related to pursuing science and STEM studies and careers via surveys.

What are the foundations expectations and projections for the future? 
To fund the program and transition the implementation back to the SDIRC.

How is the program funded? 
It’s part of the Education Foundation budget.

Why would a donor choose to support this program?
Anyone who likes to see students challenged and achieve would find their donations well spent.

Related links:

2021 Elementary Science Fair Winners

2021 Secondary Science Fair Winners

Science & Engineering Fair Sponsors

Science Fair Forms

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Laica Gerwien-Moreta

Laica Gerwien-Moreta is a government contracting consultant with proven experience in the Information Technology, Aviation, Aerospace, and Health Industries. Laica previously held leadership roles within various defense contractors supporting domestic and international operations as well as medical management solutions and humanitarian programs.

Laica has also served as an Empowered Official overseeing all International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) related activities and responsible for the strategic alignment of resources and staffing in support of global supply chain. Laica holds a bachelor’s degree in technical management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and professional certification in government contracting from The George Washington University, School of Business.

She is a certified contract manager (GWCCM), member of the National Contract Management Association Space Coast Chapter, and regularly participates in professional development training.