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Westchester Students Compete For Chance In International Competitions

2015 WESEF winners who went on to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Photo Credit: WESEF Facebook
2015 WESEF winners who went on to International Sustainable World Energy Engineering Environment Project competition Photo Credit: WESEF Facebook

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. -- Students from Westchester and Putnam counties will be competing at the Westchester Science & Engineering Fair at Sleepy Hollow High School on Saturday, March 12. The public is welcome to come take a look, as well.

Winners will go on to two international competitions. The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is in Phoenix this year, and the International Sustainable World Energy Engineering Environment Project competition is in Houston.

Michael Blueglass, president and founder of WESEF, said this is probably the competition's biggest year yet, with nearly 500 projects, representing over 30 regional high schools. It's WESEF's 16th year. Blueglass is also the director of the Science Research program, at Yorktown High School.

"There's so many wonderful science research programs in our area, that in some ways, we're going up against some of the best in the world," Blueglass said. "It's a credit to the kinds of programs and students we have in the county."

WESEF's public viewing portion is from 3-4:30 p.m.; the awards ceremony is from 7-9 p.m.

Twelve individuals and three teams will compete in the Intel ISEF, which bills itself as "the world's largest international pre-college science competition." Over 1,500 students from over 75 countries, regions and territories compete for approximately $4 million in prizes, in 22 categories.

The top prize is $75,000, and the next top two winners receive $50,000. Awards also include scholarships, internships, scientific field trips and lab equipment.

Four projects will move on to I-SWEEEP. Blueglass said WESEF winners have won first place in various categories, in both competitions -- and one student from Yorktown was an international grand finalists for ISEF.

Around 300 regional scientists, engineers, psychologists and the like are judges for WESEF.

Various organizations donate money toward sponsoring the fair, funding awards and underwriting winners' trips to subsequent competitions. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Acorda Therapeutics and Entergy are the top-level "diamond donors."

"It is so rewarding to see such a a collection of dedicated, intelligent students that truly want to make a difference, in all different areas of STEM fields," Blueglass said.

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