At the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute, science fairs are on everyone’s mind at the moment.

The program hosted its first-ever Science Showcase, where SLI’s 9th & 10th grade cohorts showcased 45 science projects. Over 24 judges from industry and education backgrounds visited students’ displays and spoke with them about their research and findings. 

Students presented research on a variety of subjects, including the rise of allergies, the use of sensors to predict wildfires, affordable dentistry, and the necessity of clean drinking water. Additionally, students showed their video submissions for the “World of 7 Billion”, a competition that asks students to create a 60 second video that unpacks the impact of population growth and proposes a sustainable solution to issues that fall into one of the following categories: Preserving Biodiversity, Sustainable Resource Use, Protecting Human Rights.

In addition to the SLI’s high school Science Showcase, 27 middle school and 23 high school SLI teams have been accepted and will be attending the prestigious Synopsys Science Fair, which requires rigorous compliance to professional research standards. Accepted teams are busy researching and honing their projects and presentations for the March event.

To round out SLI’s immersion in recent and upcoming science fairs, the 49ers Foundation arranged a series of screenings of National Geographic’s documentary “Science Fair,” which has received several accolades, including the Sundance Film Festival and SXSW audience awards. SLI’s 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th graders got special trips to Levi’s stadium for private screenings, after which the film’s director, Cristina Costantini, and producer, Darren Foster, spoke with students. The film examined the amazing effort, tenacity, and sportsmanship that science fair participants from around the world demonstrate, both in moments of success and disappointment.

While the season of sciences fairs is not over yet, students have already wrestled with their research topics, derived insights, persevered through disappointments, and honed their teamwork skills; and while not everyone can win, the SLI staff applauds every student’s noble effort.


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