50 local industry professionals help judge WCCUSD STEM Fair

the USDA, Bio-Rad, UC Berkeley
The WCCUSD STEM Fair features volunteer judges from the local community, including Chevron, the USDA, Bio-Rad, UC Berkeley and more.

The East Bay is filled with scientists. For scientific proof of this, observe the judging portion of the annual West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) Secondary STEM Fair.

Last week, about 50 local professionals with science backgrounds volunteered to judge 140 student projects in a gymnasium at El Cerrito High School.

“These are all volunteers from the community; from Chevron, from the USDA, Bio-Rad, UC Berkeley, all over,” said John Iwawaki, instructional specialist in the district’s STEM office. “Judges all have scientific backgrounds. Actually pretty impressive backgrounds.”

Participating students come from various WCCUSD middle and high schools. At their schools, they work on various projects related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The projects are then collected and displayed for volunteer judges to review based upon various metrics, including quality of science and visual presentation.

“This is a really important event for us,” Iwawaki said. “We’re trying to get student not to just know content and facts about science. We really want kids doing science.”

He added, “These volunteers we have…they’re not just in the business of knowing a bunch of facts. They really do science. They set up their own investigations, they create models, they analyze their data, they communicate their results. Those are the things we want our kids in West Contra Costa to do.”

All the award-winning projects are posted below these photos: