Science Fair

Science Fair

Utica University Regional Science Fair

***Weather update: The fair will proceed as scheduled (no delays or cancelation). If this changes, we will send an email and update this site.***

The 45th Annual Utica University Regional Science Fair* (2024) 

Format: In-person (ground) on Saturday, March 23, 2024

Application Deadline:  
Monday, March 11 by 11:59pm.  See application details below. Please submit early if possible! Contact us ASAP if your local fair is the weekend immediately prior to this deadline or after this deadline.

Fair Events: See schedule/deadlines below

Special note to Senior-level participants: See ISEF Finalist

Special note to participants using vertebrates, human participants, and biological agents: See Rules and Regulations

All pertinent information will be posted to this website. Please check back frequently as we continue to provide updated information about our 2024 Fair. 

Please contact the Fair Director, Dr. Jessica Thomas, directly at (315) 792-3755 or by email at with any questions.

International Affiliation:

We are proudly affiliated with and sanctioned by the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), which is supported by the Society for Science.  ISEF has been been the guiding body of science fairs since 1980.  Our rules and regulations are guided by our affiliation.


1. In accordance with the Regeneron ISEF rules, 
  • Each participant is allowed to enter only one project to our Regional Fair.
  • More rules TBA as they are released by ISEF. 
2. Public and private schools in Oneida, Herkimer, Lewis, and Otsego counties can each endorse up to ten (10) junior level (grades 7-8) projects and ten (10) senior level (grades 9-12) projects to compete in the Regional Fair.  It is strongly recommended that students place as either winners or runners-up at their school's local science fair to compete in our Regional Fair. If your school does not host a science fair or if you are homeschooled, please contact the Fair Director, at (315) 792-3755 or about eligibility.

3. Senior Level projects may include no more than one (1) student participant. Individual projects and team projects consisting of no more than two (2) students are welcome at the Junior Level.

4. Only students in the Senior Level are eligible to compete at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).  Our Regional Fair supports participation of our Senior Level Grand Champion at the international level. ISEF participants must not have reached age 20 on or before May 1 preceding ISEF per the ISEF rules. 

Rules and Regulations:

Our Regional Fair follows the International Science and Engineering (ISEF) Rules and Regulations, which can be found in the ISEF Rulebook linked below and at

ISEF Rulebook-PDF version
ISEF Rulebook-HTML version

Reviewing student research plans and completing ISEF paperwork:
  • Please have all applicants and advisors carefully read and adhere to the rules in the ISEF Rule Book and application forms.   Participants must adhere to these requirements or they could be disqualified from the Regional Fair.
  • Participants are required to complete all necessary ISEF forms and to obtain all necessary signatures (see more information below under Applications and Forms).
  • To prevent possible disqualification from Regional Fair participation, please pay particular attention to projects that require SRC or IRB approval before experimentation begins. Projects that may require prior approval are projects that involve human participants, vertebrate animals, and potentially hazardous biological agents. Specific attention should be made to Approval Form (1B) (see forms under Applications and Forms below) that requires additional paperwork completion and signatures before experimentation begins for these projects. To determine if a project involving these subjects/reagents needs approval before experimentation, please read the relevant sections in the ISEF Rule Book under “Human Participants Rules”, “Vertebrate Rules”, or “Potentially Hazardous Biological (PHBA) Rules”. Please contact us with questions or concerns about this requirement.
  • Your local fair should maintain its own Scientific Review Committee (SRC) or Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the purpose of reviewing student research plans and completing ISEF paperwork.  Please contact us if your school does not have SRC/IRB resources or if you have questions or concerns about these requirements or paperwork.


Student participants will set-up their poster displays in the Utica University Library Concourse on Friday evening for a display and safety review.  Judging and awards ceremonies will be live and in-person on Saturday!

Monday, March 11 by 11:59pm
Deadline to submit applications and all required ISEF forms through our online fair management system.

Friday, March 22 between 4-7:00pm
Students assemble their exhibits in the Library Concourse for display and safety inspection.

Saturday, March 23
Fair competition and awards ceremonies.
Click for a downloadable schedule of events
Click for poster display tips and rules

Applications and Forms

Application/Forms Deadline:  Monday, March 11 by 11:59pm
In fairness to all participants, we will not accept applications submitted after the deadline.  Applications submitted after the deadline do not allow us time to request additional information or clarification.  Please submit applications as early as possible so that we have adequate time to request additional information or clarification and you have time to respond. Contact us ASAP if your local fair is the weekend immediately prior to this deadline or after this deadline.

We will continue to use our online fair management system hosted by zFairs (see registration information below). Our zFairs site will guide you through the required application and forms that you will need to submit to our zFairs site to compete in our Regional Fair. We cannot accept paper copies of application materials. Please contact us for help with preparing electronic forms (see more information below.)

To register for our fair through zFairs:

1. Confirm your eligibility.

2. If eligible, create a zFairs account at :
  • *Notice to all registrants: *Our communications through zFairs and our Utica email to ".edu" email addresses are frequently blocked by your school's IT so please have all zFairs registrants use email addresses other than school email (e.g. gmail, yahoo, etc.). Please contact us with concerns.
  • Each student applicant (including each junior level team member) needs to create an account to apply to our fair. All application materials are submitted to the applicant’s zFairs account. If a student applicant had a zFairs account with us in the past, they need to create a new account each year. Please indicate the applicant’s school and teacher in each application. It is therefore encouraged that teachers register themselves first if they have not registered with us in the past. Additional instructions are found in the zFairs website “Main” tabs.
  • Teachers: If you have an existing account with us, you can continue to use your existing account. Otherwise, you will create a new account using the link above. Teachers may use their own zFair account to register each of their student applicants for a zFairs account, or students can create accounts themselves. Additional instructions are found in the zFairs website “Main” tabs.
3. To complete your application: Read the important application information in the "Students Main" tab of your zFairs account.

4. Upon receipt, our SRC committee will review your completed application and forms. You will then receive an email indicating if your project has been accepted to compete in our fair. Further information will follow.

All forms will be submitted in the participant's zFairs account to which teacher zFair accounts also have access.  Submission instructions, including suggestions for completing the PDF forms, are included in the "Student's Main" tab in our zFairs site.

We continue to require submission of all applicable ISEF forms (click here for forms, which are also accessible in your zFair account) for participants at both the Junior and Senior Levels. Please see the ISEF Rulebook for which forms to complete.  The ISEF Rules Wizard is a helpful tool to identify the forms required for each project and our online fair management system (zFairs) will similarly help you to identify the ISEF forms required for your project. Please contact us with questions.

Please be sure that applicants submit all forms and signatures required for their projects. If there are any questions about the required forms and signatures, please contact us as soon as possible. Under the rules fo ISEF, we must refuse any project submitted without ALL of the required forms and signatures.

Project Categories (required for registration)
Physical Science
Earth Science
Physics & Astronomy

Natural Science
Animal Science
Behavioral & Social Science
Biomedical and Health Sciences
Cellular & Molecular Biology
Environmental Sciences
Plant Sciences
Translational Medical Science

Math, Engineering, and Computer Science
Biomedical Engineering
Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Electrical Engineering
Embedded Systems
Energy: Sustainable Materials and Design
Engineering Mechanics
Environmental Engineering
Materials Science
Robotics and Intelligent Machines
Systems Software

*Our Regional Fair may be subject to cancellation. We hope this is not the case. However, we must be aware in the current and dynamic times for anything unexpected to happen. 

Contact Us

Jessica H. Thomas, Ph.D.

Jessica H. Thomas, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology
(315) 792-3755

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