Pleasanton Weekly

News - December 16, 2011

Lab, Intel move Tri-Valley science fair to Hayward

Retired San Ramon teacher named director of new Alameda County program

by Jeb Bing

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has announced plans to expand the Tri-Valley Science and Engineering Fair it has sponsored for the past 15 years and move it to Hayward.

The fair, affiliated with the Intel Corp., has served students in Alameda County and has become a model for fairs in other areas. For years, it has been held at the Robert Livermore Center in Livermore or at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.

Because of its success, the Intel Corp. decided to take the fair beyond the Tri-Valley, said Linda Lucchetti of the Livermore Lab. The fair has been renamed the Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair (ACSEF), with its first program to be held March 20-22 at Chabot College in Hayward.

While other science fairs in the state have struggled to continue or have declined in participation, the Tri-Valley numbers have steadily grown, making it a hallmark of science education excellence, Lucchetti said.

During the past 15 years, some 6,195 students have participated, an impressive growth from its first year of 125 students in 1997.

Lucchetti said several of the science fair participants have gone on to careers in science, technology, engineering and math fields. At least one is now an employee at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, formerly the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, in Palo Alto.

The new science fair will be run by a board of directors from the community, chaired by retired San Ramon Valley Unified School District science teacher Patti Carothers. It will allow participation by all middle and high-school age students in Alameda County.

Lucchetti said the transition to the new fair will offer an expanded, larger countywide event, including growth opportunities for Tri-Valley students who already participate, and will open doors for new students who have not yet had access to an Intel-affiliated science fair.

With the Lab's help and that of the Intel Corp. and others, the new science fair, which will be affiliated with the California State Science Fair, will provide a level of scientific outreach that has been long missing from Alameda County.

Lucchetti said the new fair pledges to help students gain perspective of the world through science, critical thinking, leadership and creative problem solving. Educators are encouraged to get their students involved in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (S.T.E.M) experience.

For further information and details about how to get involved as a student participant, fair volunteer, and judge or to make a donation, visit the ACSEF Website at http://www.acsef.org or contact Patti Carothers, the fair director, at 426-7879 or by email at alamedacountySEF@gmail.com.

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