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Our Mission

To provide a forum encouraging young minds in their independent research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics… and inspiring the next generation of scientific thought, discovery, and innovation.   


Our Purpose

The GSDSEF provides

  • a forum for student participants to showcase their abilities in STEM education.
  • an opportunity between students and the local scientific businesses and academic communities, offering invaluable networking (particularly for high school students) in conjunction with local colleges and employers.
  • student recognition in the form of 1st though 4th place awards, scholarships, and internships.
  • a chance to excel in the scientific field and an opportunity to advance to other science competitions both directly through our science fair and in connection with other science fair programs.

Our Goals

  • Increase scientific literacy at the middle and high school levels while expanding and enhancing the students’ regular school curriculum.
  • Demonstrate the need for scientific work to be done in a cross disciplinary manner and to develop all the skills necessary to complete a science project. Acquired skills are the design, and execution of science fair projects including library research, scientific method, engineering design, mathematical analysis, scientific writing, and oral presentation.
  • Year-round support workshops for San Diego and Imperial County schools and teachers.
  • Demonstrate to students that science can be interesting, enjoyable, and rewarding, while promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) as career choices.
  • Provide outstanding student participants the opportunity to engage in leadership roles, learn organizational skills, gain community service and mentor their peers in science literacy, as part of the Science Fair Student Honor Society (SLB).
  • Promote community volunteerism and offers Community Service Credit.


What We Do

Each year several thousand 6th through 12th grade public, private, and parochial school students in San Diego and Imperial Counties participate in their school or district science fairs.  The top projects from each school are then invited to go through the screening process to enter the GSDSEF. These screeners are professionals in the science and engineering fields. After the screening process, approximately 650 projects representing over 100 schools are then recommended to participate in the GSDSEF.

To provide additional support to students beyond the teacher and classroom, Mentors (scientists, engineers, educators) are available via email to give advice on the scientific method and engineering principles in order to improve the students existing project and to ensure procedures are scientifically sound.  

The Student Leadership  Board offers a series of workshops, held on line and at the San Diego County Office of Education, which provide peer support and information to help students design and develop their projects and ultimately prepare for judging. On average, approximately 150 students take advantage of these workshops each year.

At the GSDSEF, 400+ judges from the science, engineering, and education communities evaluate projects and interview students to determine place awards. Additionally, sixty professional societies and organizations provide more than 150 special awards and scholarships totaling over $50,000.

The best of the 1st place projects are recommended to the California Science and Engineering Fair (CSEF) and the top six projects (Grand Award Winners) compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).  The top Junior Division projects are recommended for the Middle School STEM Research competition.

During Science Fair Week, students enjoy the camaraderie of fellow students and the insights of judges.  The anticipation and excitement of the Awards Ceremony provides memories for a lifetime! 

The GSDSEF provides a bridge between students and the local scientific, business, and academic communities.

Students are provided with opportunities for recognition and invaluable networking with local colleges and employers.

The GSDSEF provides scholarship opportunities both directly with our fair and with other science fair programs.


Our Successes at the State and National Level

At the California Science and Engineering Fair, an average of 80% of the GSDSEF students receive a place award and/or professional society award out of 300+ students who represent the best of their regional fairs.   Competing against the top science and engineering students in the world at Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair —1775+ students from the US and 78 other countries-- GSDSEF students consistently receive top place awards. In total, GSDSEF students win $40,000+ in prizes and scholarships each year at these competitions.


Our Affiliates

The GSDSEF is affiliated with the Society for Science and the Public and the International Science and Engineering Fair, the California Science and Engineering Fair, and the Middle School STEM Research Competition.

The GSDSEF is a registered charitable all-volunteer nonprofit organization, registered tax-exempt California non-profit 501 (c) 3 Corporation. EIN #23-7332855.