This winter, students from around Philadelphia will step out of the classroom and into the laboratory as they prepare to compete in the 2011 George Washington Carver Science Fair. For more than 30 years, the George Washington Carver Science Fair has encouraged urban youth to pursue academic achievement and careers in science.
For one day in March The Academy of Natural Sciences and Temple University will co-host the fairs: the first for students in grades four through six, the second for grades seven through 12. Any student who attends a Philadelphia public, parochial, private, charter school or is home schooled may compete for first, second, and third place medals, as well as numerous special awards and scholarships. Many past winners have gone on to compete in the Delaware Valley Science Fair and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
“The George Washington Carver Science Fair provides students an opportunity to gain recognition, interact with scientists and educators, and develop scientific skills that will be invaluable for their future,” said Thomas Anderson, Jr., director of the Carver Fair committee. “Almost 900 students participated in the fairs in 2010 and many of them were repeat participants. These students will rely on the academic and scientific skills they have gained from the fairs as they move forward in their education and subsequent careers.”
Each year at the awards ceremony, the Carver Fair Committee presents the George Washington Carver Award to an individual who has had a significant impact on the lives of future scientists and who embodies the same intense dedication and creative genius exhibited by Dr. Carver.
The 2011 award recipient is Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr., a former NASA astronaut who, in 1995, became the first African American to walk in space. Leaving NASA after ten years of service, he has since served as CEO of Vesalius Ventures, Inc. and is the founder of The Harris Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports mathematics and science education and crime prevention programs for America’s youth.
“I greatly appreciate the honor and the privilege of receiving this prestigious award,” said Dr. Harris.