Raleigh, N.C. – August 14, 2014 – The N.C. Science Fair Foundation (NCSFF), the statewide non-profit sponsor of the N.C. Science and Engineering Fair (NCSEF), announced its new collaboration with the Biogen Idec Foundation as a signature sponsor. This major announcement was unveiled as part of the N.C. Chamber's Conference on Education.
"Science is for everyone," said Machelle Sanders, Trustee of the Biogen Idec Foundation. "We want to ignite a passion for discovery among young people and teachers across North Carolina. The inquiry-based research that students engage in through participation in the N.C. Science and Engineering Fair will help them unlock their potential to pursue science careers. And the professional development provided by the N.C. Science Fair Foundation will help our teachers inspire the next generation of science leaders."
The Biogen Idec Foundation has awarded a three-year, $150,000 grant to the NCSFF. The grant will allow the NCSFF to increase outreach to teachers in grades 3-12 across North Carolina and help teachers foster student-led research and inquiry in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). As part of that outreach, the Biogen Idec Foundation award is funding a series of five, daylong professional development sessions for teachers across North Carolina.
Building on the NCSFF motto, "Inspiring Innovation in Student Research," participating teachers engage in hands-on activities to help build their skills in guiding student research and in helping motivated students conduct STEM research projects for external judging. To date, professional development sessions have been held in Boone, Wilmington, Raleigh, and RTP with a final session to be held in Winston-Salem in September. Nearly 120 teachers across the state will participate in professional development workshops this year.
The Biogen Idec Foundation award also allows NCSFF to increase outreach to business and community leaders to encourage them to be actively involved in supporting student research at the local, regional, and state level. Through the NCSFF, North Carolina students go on to represent the state in national and international science and engineering research competitions such as the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the International Sustainable World Energy, Engineering, and Environment Project (I-SWEEEP), Genius Olympiad, and Broadcom MASTERS. The Biogen Idec Foundation grant will help fund student participation in national and international competitions.
NCSFF President Elizabeth Wolfinger, Dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Meredith College said, “The Biogen Idec Foundation grant makes it possible for NCSFF to provide North Carolina teachers with valuable resources including a network of professionals committed to developing students’ STEM research skills. These skills will greatly expand students’ academic and career opportunities in STEM fields.”
The NCSFF coordinates the statewide network of nine North Carolina Regional NCSEF competitions. More than 2,500 North Carolina students participate in regional fairs each year with 300 regional winners progressing to the N.C. Science and Engineering Fair presented by Biogen Idec Foundation. This year’s state competitions will take place March 28-29, 2015, at Meredith College in Raleigh.
The mission of the Biogen Idec Foundation is to improve the quality of peoples’ lives and contribute to the vitality of the communities in which Biogen Idec operates. The Foundation is committed to sparking a passion for science and discovery, supporting innovative STEM initiatives, and strengthening efforts to make science accessible to diverse populations.