Science/STEM Fair Events in the DC Region
Every year, more than nine million US students in grades K–12 enter a science competition. Of those, several thousand students in grades 9–12 participate in the topmost levels of competition. The following list of links is provided for the convenience of WAS members. First is a list of local events (WAS local members reside within a 50-mile radius of the White House. This includes all of DC and parts of Maryland (Montgomery, Prince Georges, Anne Arundel, Howard and Charles counties) and Virginia (Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Loudon and Prince William counties). Some of the major national and international STEM competitions are listed below the local events.
Please note that most public school STEM fair events occur in March, so these websites may not be updated until early in the year.
Judges are requested for many of the local events. If you are interested in applying, please notify the VP of the Junior Academy.
District of Columbia
National Science Bowl Competition
Sponsored by the U. S. Department of Energy in Washington, DC. The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science manages the National Science Bowl®, and sponsors the NSB finals competition. More than 14,000 students compete in the NSB each year.
DC STEM Fairs
The DC STEM Fair is the premier student competition in the District of Columbia. The secondary fair (in March) is open to 6th-12th grade public, public charter, parochial, private, and home school students. This event brings together students from all eight wards to create, problem-solve, and innovate. The elementary fair (in June) is open to students in grades 3-5. The DC STEM fair is an affiliate of the Broadcom Masters (for middle school students) and ISEF national network for high school students.
The Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program – summer
SEAP provides an opportunity for high school students to participate in research at a Department of Navy laboratory during the summer. WAS has participated in this program in the past.
Magnet Program, Blair High School – January
This magnet program for high school seniors gathers many of the most talented STEM students in Montgomery County public schools. WAS traditionally supports this extraordinary STEM fair each year.
Montgomery County Area Science Fair
This is an Intel ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair) affiliated regional fair and as such is bound by the Rules and Regulations for Intel ISEF. It is sponsored and organized by ScienceMONTGOMERY. Any student in the Montgomery County area, public and private schools, as well as home-schooled students, grades 6-12, may be eligible to participate. We are currently changing to a science fair platform that will allow students to register and submit their projects on-line. Students will interact with the judges through videoconferencing and will be eligible to compete for Broadcom MASTERS (middle school) or Regeneron ISEF as well as category and community award prizes.
Maryland Science Bowl Competition
Montgomery College hosts the Maryland High School Science Bowl Competition, at the Rockville Campus. The winner of this regional competition advances to the National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C. (Montgomery Blair Science Bowl Team won the virtual Maryland/DC Regional Championship in 2021.) Judges needed!
Prince Georges Area Science Fair
This is a large event at Charles H. Flowers High School, 10001 Ardwick-Ardmore Road, Springdale, Maryland 20774. Display and judging of all projects for students in grades 6-12 is in March. This is an Intel ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair) affiliated regional fair and as such is bound by the Rules and Regulations for Intel ISEF. It includes students from Calvert County, St. Mary’s County and Prince George’s County.
Chemathon – April
The Chemathon is an annual chemistry competition for high school chemistry students in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The competition takes place at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Maryland at College Park. There are no entry or registration fees.
FIRST Robotics Chesapeake District
FIRST Chesapeake uses robots as the vehicle to bring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)-based leadership enrichment programs and competitions to youth in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
Air Tigers Robotics Team
FIRST Robotics #8197 is a rookie team from Prince George’s County’s Duval High School. They will be mentored by staff from MASER, Inc. (Mentors Advancing STEAM Education), a local nonprofit organization that recruits local government engineers, mathematicians, and scientists to volunteer their time for STEAM education in and beyond the classroom.
FIRST Robotics Team 4464 – Team Illusion
Based in Greenbelt, MD. Competes in national robotics competitions.
Maryland STEM Festival – fall
Mostly in Anne Arundel County. Non-competitive event.
Ann Arundel County Regional Science and Engineering Fair –
Anne Arundel County science fairs are held in February and March in Glen Burnie. The fairs are affiliates of the Intel ISEF.
Northern Virginia Regional Science & Engineering Fair
The fairs are affiliates of the Intel ISEF and Broadcom Masters.
Virginia Science Olympiad
Virginia Science Olympiad (VASO) is the state chapter of the Science Olympiad for Virginia. VASO serves over 100 schools and over 3,000 elementary, middle, and high school students each year. Registration is in the fall and competitions are held in schools from Feb. – March.
Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair – March
The Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair is a competition for students attending high schools in Fairfax County, VA. To participate in this competition, a student must be representing a public or private high school that is affiliated with Intel ISEF.
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
A magnet school in Fairfax County, VA. Well known around the DC area for its high-achieving students, who often serve as interns in science labs and agencies in the area. The school hosts a science fair in the spring, and also hosts a local club for the Biology Olympiad.
Loudoun County Public Schools Regional Science & Engineering Fair
Held in March and hosted on the LCPS Regional Science & Engineering website
The fairs are affiliates of the Intel ISEF and Broadcom Masters.
A directory of some of the larger state and regional fairs
(This contains a nice table that shows the grade levels, eligibility, format and team/individual.)
National Science and Engineering Competitions
Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) – May
Intel ISEF is for high school students who must first qualify at an affiliated fair. Top prize is a $50,000 scholarship. ISEF, a program of Society for Science & the Public, is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. The final competition is hosted in a different city each year in May. Rules and guidelines for these fairs is provided here.
Regeneron Science Talent Search (Regeneron STS)
A competition for high school seniors. Top prize is a $250,000 scholarship. The Regeneron Science Talent Search (Regeneron STS), (formerly the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair) a program of Society for Science & the Public (the Society) is the nation’s most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors. Since 1942, first in partnership with Westinghouse, then with Intel 1998-2016, and now with Regeneron.
Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars), is the premier science and engineering competition for middle school students.
Science Olympiad is nationwide competition held in the spring. Students compete in 23 events that include earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. Science Olympiad is designed to increase a student’s interest in STEM fields and provide recognition for outstanding achievement in team events. Students compete in Science Olympiad with the top teams advancing from Regional to State to National levels.
USA Biology Olympiad
A prestigious competition, USABO consists of three rounds: Open, Semifinal, and Finals. The first test, a 50-question Open exam encompasses general theoretical biology. Please contact Frank Stearns for further information.
US Physics Team for the International Physics Olympiad – May
High school students take a “F=ma” exam; the approximately 400 top scorers on this team advance to the next level for selection of a final team of 20 members. These students, from schools all over the United States, travel to the University of Maryland-College Park at the end of May for the annual U.S. Physics Team Training Camp. There they engage in ten days of intense studying, testing and problem solving. At the end of that training camp, five students will be selected for the “Traveling Team.” The Traveling Team will return for three additional days of intense laboratory work before they are ready for the International Event. Participants will be given certificates to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of these bright, highly motivated students. Sponsored by the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Institute of Physics.
FIRST Robotics Competition
The mission of FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. FIRST is now universally recognized as the leading, not-for-profit STEM engagement program for kids worldwide.
The Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) – Spring
RWDC is an annual competition that provides high school students, grades 9-12, the opportunity to work on real world aeronautical engineering challenges in a team environment. Each year, student teams will be asked to address a challenge that confronts our nation’s leading aeronautical industries. Students will utilize professional engineering software to develop their solutions and will also generate presentations that convincingly demonstrate the value of their solutions. Judges are needed!
Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS)
A STEM fair competition for high school students. Regional winners proceed to a national competition. JSHS is a collaborative effort with the research arm of the Department of Defense and administered in cooperation with nationwide colleges and universities. JSHS aims to prepare and support students to contribute as future scientists and engineers — conducting STEM research on behalf of or directly for the Department of Defense, the Federal research laboratories, or for the greater good in advancing the nation’s scientific and technological progress.
International BioGENEius Challenge
Recognizes outstanding research in biotechnology. Process is state, national, international; hosted by the Biotechnology Institute. Top prize is a $7,500 cash award. For high school students only; application deadline is in April each year.
Google Science Fair
The Google Science Fair is an online science competition open to students ages 13-18 from around the globe. Top prize is a $50,000 scholarship.
If you know of additional science fair events in the DC area that we should know about, please contact the VP for the Junior Academy. Thanks!