MILLEDGEVILLE — More than 200 students from across central Georgia brought their science and engineering skills to Georgia College’s Centennial Center Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1.
The 37th annual Georgia College Regional Science & Engineering Fair displayed the projects of elementary, middle and high school students from a 10-county region-Baldwin, Bibb, Hancock, Jasper, Jones, Putnam, Monroe, Washington, Wilkinson and Twiggs.
Baldwin County area schools Creekside, Eagle Ridge, Blandy Hills, Midway, Sinclair Christian Academy, Oak Hill Middle, Georgia College Early College and Baldwin High brought 62 total projects to the event.
The fair provides an additional opportunity for students to exhibit their research projects. Districts submit their best projects to the competition. More than 200 area scientists, engineers, college students and educators handled the judging at the Centennial Center.
Fair participants at all K-12 levels identify problems and design unique, organized and logical strategies to finding solutions. The research process teaches students how scientists and engineers contribute to advancements in their field.
Dr. Rosalie Richards, Kaolin Endowed Chair in Science and director of the Science Education Center, said the fair is an opportunity for the entire regional community to rally around the national initiative of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
“The issue is an international issue of not enough students being well prepared to enter a pipeline for this sort of rigor and also being literate about issues in STEM,” Richards said. “We have a huge gap. For us to be competitive nation, that’s even much more of a problem.”
Richards said the movement starts at the kindergarten levels and must remain consistent.
The regional fair isn’t solely a forceful push for children’s STEM future.
“What we are pushing for is for them to have the kinds of experiences that allows them to be able to use evidence to make informed decisions,” Richards said. “It doesn’t matter what that evidence is.”