More than 200 of the brightest high schoolers from across the state will participate in this year’s Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair April 9-10. The annual event awards medals and cash prizes as well as a chance to compete in the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in May.

For the fourth year in a row, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is hosting the event. Participants earn the right to compete in the state fair by qualifying at their regional fairs. Due to COVID-19 safety measures, this will be the second year that the medical school has hosted the state fair virtually. Instead of gathering at Roanoke’s Berglund Center for a day of judging, students will submit video presentations of their projects. The international fair will also be held virtually.

“Last year’s fair happened just as safety measures for COVID-19 were being issued by the governor, and we were able to pivot very quickly to move the fair to a virtual format,” said David Trinkle, associate dean for community and culture. “This year was an easier transition because we had systems already in place.”

Students will compete in 21 categories, ranging from biochemistry and computational biology to engineering mechanics and physics. Cash prizes totaling $7,000 are up for grabs.

“It is our distinct pleasure to showcase talented students who are enthusiastic about science, technology, engineering, and math,” Trinkle said. “The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is dedicated to engaging the commonwealth’s next generation of scientists and engineers, whether it be in-person or virtually.”

In keeping with the virtual format, the school has posted video tours on its website for students who might be interested in going to medical school and their parents.

VTCSOM Campus Tour

Roanoke Community Tour

“By hosting the event, VTCSOM is able to showcase the school and the admissions process as well as help students better prepare themselves to enter health career fields if they so desire,” Trinkle said.

Along with the medical school, sponsors of the state fair include Virginia Tech, the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC, Virginia Western Community College, Virginia Tech College of Science, American Electric Power Foundation, Dominion Energy, and Leidos.

In addition, 21 agencies give special recognition to individual students based on specific criteria.

Winners will be announced on April 12.

All of this and more can be found on the state fair web site.


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