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For Immediate Release
February 15, 2021

Regional science and engineering fair to use virtual space and avatars for presentations

Key Info

  • Purdue University Fort Wayne hosts 66th annual regional science and engineering fair
  • Registrations due by Friday, March 5
  • Custom-made virtual space and avatars to be used in presentations

FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Students in grades K-12 will be presenting their projects for the 66th annual Northeast Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair virtually on Saturday, March 20. Sponsored by Purdue Fort Wayne’s Office of University Research and Innovation and the School of Education, students will compete for awards and the opportunity to represent northeast Indiana at the state-level Hoosier Science and Engineering Fair.

Students from the Purdue Fort Wayne Department of Computer Science are building a 2D virtual space via the online platform Gather where the young scientists and engineers will showcase their projects and also interact with judges using avatars.

“Like a character in a video game, participants navigate through the space to their designated booth. Each booth houses a digital version of their poster, a prerecorded video presentation, and other documents related to the research project,” explained Matthew Perkins Coppola, Ph.D., assistant professor of science education. “Judges will move from project to project and communicate directly with students through video chat, with the same kind of questioning and feedback that happens during an in-person fair.”

After the projects are judged, participants will be invited to a community room hosted by the NISTEM Education Resource Center for a virtual scavenger hunt and science demonstrations by Purdue Fort Wayne students and representatives of other local organizations. NISTEM stands for Northeast Indiana Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

The competition and educational opportunities are open to participants from Allen, Adams, Huntington, Kosciusko, Miami, Wabash, Wells, and Whitley counties. Students advance to the regional fair by first competing in their school fair. If a school does not host its own fair, it may choose to advance a limited number of projects directly to the regional event. Registrations for the regional event are due by March 5.

For more information, contact Coppola at 260-481-6516 or perkinsm@pfw.edu, or visit the event’s website.

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