Science fair churns out cash to students

On Saturday, in correspondence with its push for an increased focus on science and technology, UH contributed to the annual Science Engineering Fair of Houston, an event that awards more than $60,000 in college scholarships to approximately 200 students from the greater Houston area.

UH has become a major player this year by holding campus and residence hall tours for the participating students and by having the award ceremonies held at the Cullen Performance Hall. The fair has provided an educational service to junior and senior high school students since the 1960s.

“Houston is this scientific hub,” said Mark Smith, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “And supporting and cultivating the local minds is extremely important to our city’s success.”

Retired NASA astronaut and engineer Bonnie Dunbar, the leader the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Center, offered the contestants her advice at the ceremonies.

“Developing a pipeline for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics will play a major role in the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy and is a critical component to helping our nation win the future,” Dunbar said.

“To address the grand challenges of this great country, we need the new ideas, new companies and new industries created by STEM careers. This has been historically, and will be in the future, the key to great progress in Texas and the U.S.”

The Science and Engineering Fair of Houston has promoted the learning and applications of science and technology for Texas middle and high school students.

UH’s goal is to generate a steady stream of bright and talented students with an interest in the STEM fields to contribute to the growing scientific industries and health care facilities located in the city and state, Dunbar said.

Dunbar offered more words of encouragement to the young students.

“I just don’t see obstacles,” Dunbar said. “I see challenges. I like solving problems.”

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