PARK HILLS — For the 28th spring in a row, the creative genius of the area’s math and science students will be on display at Mineral Area College’s Robert E. Sechrest Sr. Fieldhouse, scheduled this year for March 25. This year’s science fair comes at a time when the college has a no-tax-increase bond issue on the ballot, which includes a component that would expand or update the community college’s own science labs.
MAC’s annual math and science fair encourages scientific study among students grades 6-12. The Fair continues to involve the disciplines of Psychology, Math, Computer Science, Behavioral and Social Science, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Engineering, and Physics.
Fair coordinator Brian Scheidt, Science Department chairman, said this year, at the request of local middle and high school teachers, a new category called “Product Testing” was created.
“Last year we had over 175 projects from students’ grades 6-8 and an additional 50 projects from high school students competing for Best of Fair Awards,” he said.
One qualified high school winner will also receive a Science Fair Scholarship worth $750 per semester towards tuition, fees, books, or housing, in addition to any other scholarship that the student may receive, such as the A+ state scholarship program, which does not cover books or housing. In addition to the Best of Fair Award, there are awards for the best entries of each category.
Three organizations from the community are also bestowing special awards: East Ozark Audubon Society is awarding a prize for best project with an environmental theme; Mineral Area College’s Renewable Energy Technology program is awarding a prize for a renewable energy themed project; and Bonne Terre Space Museum is awarding a prize for “Most Innovative Thinking.”
“With the large interest in science, we need to look to the future when some of the students participating in the science fair will be continuing their education here at MAC,” Scheidt said. “We would like to provide the best possible environment for learning, so at the fair, we’ll also have information about the April 5, no-tax increase bond issue, which will update the science labs here at the main campus as well as at our satellite campus in Fredericktown.”
Scheidt said faculty in the Science Department at MAC “realize the importance of updating labs to ensure that students of the Mineral Area receive the best possible educational experience.”
In addition to updating and adding a total of seven science labs, the bond would:
• provide new classrooms to accommodate increased enrollment at both main campus and the Fredericktown Center;
• renovate the C.H. Cozean Library to improve accessibility for better conformity with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements by adding an elevator;
• provide additional room for financial aid, counseling, registration, testing, career planning, business office, and admissions functions to handle the increased enrollment”
“Although we in the science department have a stake in the science components of the bond issue in particular,” Scheidt said, “the other areas of the bond issue are just as necessary. Mineral Area College has seen a 25 percent increase in enrollment in the past two years, so we have an interest in meeting the greater demands of our students. We’re fortunate that a way has been found to do that, with this yes vote for a no-tax-increase bond issue.”
For more information about the science fair, contact Scheidt at (573) 518-2314. For more information about the college’s bond issue, call (573) 518-2146.