The Thomas A. Edison Regional Science and Inventors Fair will be held again this year on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University at the Alico Arena on Feb. 2.
Since FGCU first admitted students in 1997, it has been a close partner of the Regional Science and Inventors Fair. FGCU early on provided academic expertise in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) to the Regional Science Fair each year.
Currently FGCU is providing approximately 20 professors as Category judges and another dozen professors as Grand Award judges. Dozens more FGCU student volunteers provide support to the Fair in non-judging roles.
Last year FGCU offered $776,000 in four-year scholarships to the winners of the Regional Fair. It also will be continuing the Summer Research Opportunity Scholarships, valued at more than $13,000, to select middle school participants of the Regional Fair.
This program allows these young students, just starting their endeavors in science, to have internships directly with scientists in hands-on research over the summer.
FGCU provides security and logistical support to the Fair and continues to take a lead role with the Regional Fair in providing highly-qualified academic oversight to the Fair.
FGCU is not alone in supporting in the Regional Science and Inventors Fair, however.
Other local colleges and universities make dramatic contributions to the Regional Fair.
Edison State College offered $120,000 in two-year scholarships last year to participants and provided 14 professional judges.
Hodges University also offers scholarships to Fair winners and last year seven accredited judges from Hodges were provided.
Additional local colleges are expected to participate in the Regional Fair this year, making the event a truly broad-based community effort to raise the level of STEM education in Southwest Florida.