Information

Important Dates & Times

Wednesday December 01, 2021 at 12:01 AM
Sunday February 20, 2022 at 12:01 AM
Friday March 25, 2022 at 12:01 PM
Friday March 25, 2022 at 4:00 PM
Sunday March 27, 2022 at 2:00 PM
Saturday March 26, 2022 at 9:00 AM
Sunday March 27, 2022 at 11:30 AM
Saturday April 02, 2022 at 1:00 PM
Saturday April 02, 2022 at 3:30 PM

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The SynopsysOutreach Foundation Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair is affiliated with the California State Science and Engineering Fair (CSEF), the national Broadcom Masters Rising Star, and the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) competitions.  Students competing at The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF are promoted to these next-level competitions by the decisions of the judges.

The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF Rules and Eligibility

Note: Students may enter The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF independently on their own if their school DOES NOT hold a science fair. In fact, few Alameda County schools hold science fairs.

However: If the school does hold a science fair the student must be selected to enter The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF through their selection process. 

Note: If the school district holds a science fair - but the school the student attends does not, then the student can enter The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF independently on their own without going to the district science fair. 

 

Roles of Adults & Students + General Eligibility for The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF

 

Roles of students and adults: Use the link below to access the tutorial describing the roles of adults (parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, SRC, IRB) and students relative to the research project's safety and approval. Explanation of Roles and Responsibilities of Students and Adults 

General Eligibility: The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF follows the International Science Fair Rules.   Fairs affiliated with the International Science and Engineering Fair are allowed to modify the rules to meet the needs of their fair. The rules can't be reduced, but they can be enhanced. 

The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEFrule modifications are indicated in red below. 

Additionally, The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF follows the Science Fair Regulations for Ethical Standards

A) Student researchers, as well as adults who have a role in their projects, are expected to maintain the highest ethical standards. These include but are not limited to integrity, legality, respect for confidentiality and intellectual property, stewardship of the environment, animal care, human participant protection, documentation of risks for any project research components. 

Scientific fraud and misconduct are not condoned at any level of research or competition. This includes plagiarism, forgery, use, or presentation of other researcher’s work as one’s own and fabrication of data. Fraudulent projects will fail to qualify for the competition. 

The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF reserves the right to revoke recognition of a project and awards subsequently found to have involved unethical standards or is fraudulent. 

B) Students younger than 20 years old who attend a school or are homeschooled in Alameda County in grades 6–12 are eligible to attend The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF providing they meet all appropriate eligibility criteria. There are two (2) exceptions shown in red at B and D.

EXCEPTION 1: The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF has a prearranged agreement with the  Synopsys Santa Clara County Science Fair Association via written agreement from the Fair Director to accept human participant testing projects because SCCSF no longer hosts a category that accepts this type of project. 

C) Projects can be entered as an individual or team of 2 or 3 students provided they have not competed with this same project in any other school, local, regional, county, state, country, or international fair (such as Santa Clara, GGSF, Contra Costa, CSEF, etc.) in any previous or current year. * ask The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF fair director if you are unsure of the project's eligibility by emailing directoracsef@gmail.com 

Students may submit one (1) project only into one judging category. A student who is on a team may not submit a team and also an individual project as well.

D) Team entries—A team of two or three students attending the same or different schools within Alameda County may enter one team project. 

All team members must be in the same grade level division - no mixed middle + high school teams are allowed. 

All team projects will be judged for scientific merit using the same criteria regardless of the number of individuals preparing the project. 

The maximum allowable team members are 3.

Any change in the team configuration must be discussed by email with the fair director directoracsef@gmail.com

Exception 2: Combined mixed county teams of 2 or 3 students may compete at The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF providing one member of the team attends school in Alameda County - for example, one student from Contra Costa County, Santa Clara, etc. + a student from Alameda County. 

All mixed county teams may only compete at one regional or county ISEF affiliated fair of one of its members, and not at multiple regional/county science fairs of any additional members. 

The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF notifies fair directors of mixed county teams when the team project proposal has been submitted for eligibility to ensure there is no double-dipping so to speak.

The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF assumes financial responsibility for any out of Alameda county student travel expenses for ISEF if the team is selected as an ISEF finalist. The out-of-county student(s) will for purposes of publication be considered only as representing Alameda County & The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF and not their home fair at the next level competition

E) ALL projects must initially be submitted through The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF project proposal system to determine eligibility. NO EXCEPTIONS!

The project proposal will be reviewed and critiqued by The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF SRC/IRB team to determine originality and safety.

The project proposal is NOT the same as the application paperwork!

F) ALL projects must meet or exceed the Minimum Quality Standards. Project proposals failing to adhere to this will automatically be denied.

G) ALL projects must NOT be on the Projects to Avoid list or fall into the projects to avoid criteria. Project proposals failing to adhere to this will automatically be denied.

H) Students who attend school in Alameda County, and who complete their projects at a Registered Research Institution -RRI (college, online college, or professional lab) in another locale are eligible to submit a project proposal. 

I) Homeschooled students who attend a home school located in Alameda County are eligible to submit a project proposal, even if they participate in online classes from other locales.

JI) Students may participate in only one project. If a student is a member of a team and also has his/her own individual project to enter - they must decide upon being a member of the team or removing themselves from the team to participate as an individual only. 

K).Individual entries—A student may enter one (1) project only as an individual or as part of a team but not both simultaneously.

L) Students (team or individual) may present work for their project in ONE category. The project work must include no more than 12 months of continuous research ahead of the start date of The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF  (*see Definition of continuation project at this link). 

M) Projects that are demonstrations, ‘library’ research or informational projects, ‘explanation’ models, or kit building are not appropriate for The Synopsys Outreach Foundation ACSEF, ISEF, Broadcom Masters, or CSEF.          

Questions send an email to the fair director at directoracsef@gmail.com. You may also phone our voice mail at 925-353-4414 to leave a message following the instructions given in the outgoing message. Leaving voicemail guarantees a callback.  

 

 Questions send an email to the fair director at directoracsef@gmail.com. You may also phone our voice mail at 925-353-4414 to leave a message following the instructions given in the voice mail.

 

 

 

 

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General Eligibility: Students in grades 6-12 attending schools located in Alameda County are eligible. 

  • Students may enter ACSEF independently on their own if their school does NOT hold a science fair. In fact, few Alameda County schools hold science fairs.
  • However: If the school DOES hold a science fair the student must be selected to enter ACSEF through their school selection process. 
  • If the school district DOES hold a science fair for students but the school does not - the students may enter ACSEF independently on their own without entering the district science fair.

Additional eligibility criteria can be found in the 2022 Handbook 

 

 

 DID YOU KNOW?

  • ACSEF is a nonprofit 501(C)(3) public charity that runs entirely with a volunteer organizing board and on donations and grants?     
  • If you appreciate the opportunities and guidance ACSEF offers students of Alameda County & you want to see ACSEF continue year after year, please consider becoming a Patron.
  • You can support ACSEF with a donation via PayPal at the link shown below and write it off on your taxes.  
  • Alternately make a check payable to ACSEF and mail to: 

Lou Groner, ACSEF Treasurer 2622 York St. West Linn, Oregon 97068

Become A Patron of ACSEF 

 

Synopsys ACSEF is affiliated with the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), the world's largest pre-college celebration of high school science competition, and the California State Science Fair (CSSF), which is California's most elite science competition for middle and high school student projects, and the national Broadcom Masters competition for the top 10% of middle school research projects from each affiliated fair throughout the country - projects focus on originality.

Our mission is to support the next generation of scientists and engineers.

The Fair provides an opportunity for local Alameda County students to showcase their science and engineering savvy at a regional, statewide, national, and international level. ACSEF provides a forum for stimulating student interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (S.T.E.M.) and an avenue for educators to fulfill the Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Grade 6-12 students educated within Alameda County from home school, charter, public, private and parochial schools are eligible to participate in the fair held annually at its new home Chabot College, Hayward.

The origin of ACSEF was a vision supported by Intel and founding director Patti Carothers to create an International Science Fair (ISEF) affiliated fair in Alameda County. Alameda County, at the time, was one of the largest counties in California without an ISEF-affiliated science fair. Through affiliation with ISEF, students become eligible to compete for a space to attend and compete at the international level and national Broadcom Masters Rising Star competition. 

Steps were taken starting in 2011 to form a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit public charity organization for funding the fair and then to create a county-wide event supported by Intel and later by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as the title sponsor. Currently, ACSEF is still supported by LLNL and the title sponsor is the Synopsys Outreach Foundation.

ACSEF launched its first science fair in 2012 at Chabot College after a year of planning, obtaining supporting sponsors, and forming an organizing board. ACSEF fully supports STEM education, the Next Generation of Science Standards, and has helped to improve science in the classrooms through its school outreach Science Fair 101 workshops available to teachers and students from all parts of Alameda County and the Title 1 school participation incentive programs. 

We are steadily growing in participation! In our inaugural year, 2012 close to 250 students from county school districts participated. Not only has the number of participants grown between 500-700 annually and so has the quality of projects.

ACSEF encourages middle and high school students who attend a school or is homeschooled in the cities & towns of Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Castro Valley, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Newark, Niles, Oakland, Piedmont, Pleasanton, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Sunol, and Union City to participate in the ANNUAL ACSEF.  We hope to return to our new fair home at Chabot College, Hayward, CA in 2022.

The ACSEF founding director Patti Carothers, and the energetic and dedicated Organizing Board members including the Scientific Review Committee, is available throughout the summer and school year to offer advice and guidance to students and teachers as they begin to think about projects topics and research.

ACSEF organizing board is proud to be a part of this broader-reaching county-wide science fair. We are excited to bring the opportunity for middle and high school students and teachers in the county to become involved in science and engineering research projects.

We welcome the opportunity of partnership with agencies within the county to encourage increased hands-on science for underserved students.

ACSEF is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization - Tax ID # 45-1800245. We welcome and require your support to continue providing this opportunity to the students from Alameda County. We welcome your interest and participation as a volunteer, judge, or sponsor to HELP us keep offering this county-wide science, engineering, and technology event year after year.

Locate our Become a Patron to easily donate through PayPal use this Donate button or you can mail a check made out to ACSEF. Print your F/L name (and mailing address if not printed on the check) in the memo line and mail it to  Lou Groner, ACSEF Treasurer 2622 York St., WEST LINN, OREGON 97068. We will provide a tax-deductible receipt along with our thank you note!

Any amount $25 and higher is tax deductable and applies toward our IRS requirement that 1/3 of our funding is coming from broad public support required to maintain our nonprofit status. What does this mean? It means that we will continue offering the science fair as long as we have nonprofit status. If that is removed the fair will shut down.

Please check this link to find out other ways you can help.

Questions send email to the fair director at directoracsef@gmail.com. You may also phone our voice mail at 925-353-4414 to leave a message following the instructions given in the voice mail.

 

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Fair Schedule

 

 

Questions send email to fair director at directoracsef@gmail.com. You may also phone our voice mail 925-353-4414  leave a message following the instructions given in the voice mail.

Animal Science
Veterinary Science, Animal Evolution, Animal Behavior, Animal Nutrition and Growth, Animal Physiology, Animal Husbandry
Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
Bioinformatics, Computational Biomodeling, Computational Epidemiology, Computational Evolutionary Biology, Computational Neuroscience, Computational Pharmacology, Computational Genomics, Predictive Biology, Applications of Machine Learning in Biology, Protein Structure and Binding Predictions, Disease Detection and Diagnosis using Machine Learning
Biomedical Engineering
Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine, Biomechanics, Biomedical Devices, Biomedical Sensors and Imaging, Cell and Tissue Engineering, Synthetic Biology
Biomedical Science
Human Medicine, Clinical & Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Neuroscience, Anatomy and Physiology, Physiological Psychology, Sociology and Social Psychology, Organ and Systems Physiology, Behavioral Science, Sociology, Disease & Immunology, Neurobiology, Nutrition and Natural Products, Pathophysiology, Disease Prevention, Disease Treatment and Therapies, Drug Identification and Testing, Pre-Clinical Studies
Cellular and Molecular Biology
Analytical Biochemistry, General Biochemistry, Medicinal Biochemistry, Structural Biochemistry, Cell Physiology, Cellular Immunology, Genetics, Genetic Engineering, Protein Engineering, Metabolic Engineering, Cell Culture, Molecular Biology, Antimicrobial and Antibiotics, Microbiology, Bacteriology, Environmental Microbiology, Microbial Genetics, Virology
Chemistry and Material Sciences
Analytical Chemistry, Computational Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Materials Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Ceramic and Glasses, Composite Materials, Electronic, Optical, and Magnetic Materials, Nanomaterials, Polymers, Materials Science
Embedded Systems
Circuits, Internet of Things, Microcontrollers, Networking and Data Communications, Optics, Sensors, Signal Processing, Intersection of Computer Science & Mechanical Engineering, Control Theory, Arduino & Raspberry Pi
Geology, Earth Sciences, Energy, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Atmospheric Science, Climate Science, Geosciences, Water Science, Pollution Control, Recycling and Waste Management, Water Resources Management, Solar Process, Materials, and Design, Energy Storage, Wind and Water Movement, Power Generation, Hydrogen Generation and Storage, Thermal Generation and Design, Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering, Alternative Fuels, Earth Science, Bridges, Roads, and Buildings
Math, Astronomy, & Physics
Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, Astronomy and Cosmology, Biological Physics, Condensed Matter and Materials, Mechanics, Nuclear and Particle Physics, Theoretical, Computational, and Quantum Physics, Algebra, Analysis, Combinatorics, Graph Theory, and Game Theory, Geometry and Topology, Number Theory, Probability and Statistics
Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, and Robotics
Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering, Ground Vehicle Systems, Industrial Engineering-Processing, Mechanical Engineering, Naval Systems, Robotics, Drones, Vehicles, Autonomous Vehicles
Plant Science, Ecology, Agriculture & Environmental Sciences
Agriculture and Agronomy, Ecology, Plant Genetics and Breeding, Plant Growth and Development, Plant Pathology, Plant Physiology, Plant Systematics and Evolution, Bioremediation, Land Reclamation, Environmental Science
Systems Software, Computer Science and Programing
Algorithms, Machine Learning, Coding and Scripting, Cybersecurity, Databases, Languages and Operating Systems, Mobile Apps, Online Learning, Software Engineering, Computer Science, Data Science, Big Data

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Judging Criteria

Judging rubrics are based on the ISEF rubrics for science and engineering projects.


Science Projects:

10% - Research Question

  • A clear and focused purpose that contributes to scientific knowledge
  • Testable using scientific methods

20% - Design and Methodology

  • Well designed plan and data collection methods
  • Variables and controls defined, appropriate and complete

20% - Data Collection, Analysis, and Interpretation

  • Experiments and data analysis show rigor
  • Conclusions are supported by statistical analysis
  • Data is presented in graphs or tables with correct labeling

20% - Creativity

  • The project demonstrates significant creativity in methodology, design, troubleshooting, or interpretation
  • The student did the project independently (parent, teacher, or other adult did not do the work)

10% - Presentation - Visual

  • Logical organization of material
  • Clarity of graphics and legends
  • Overall "polish" of slide deck (pdf)

20% - Presentation - Interview

  • Ability to answer questions thoughtfully
  • Understanding of basic science relevant to the project
  • Understanding of the real-world impact of the project
  • For team projects, all team members contributed equally
  • Overall "polish", clarity, and flow of the interview

 


Engineering Projects

10% - Research Problem

  • Description of a practical need or problem to be solved
  • Clearly defined success criteria (constraints)

20% - Construction and Testing

  • The prototype demonstrates the intended design
  • The prototype has been tested in multiple conditions/trials
  • The prototype demonstrates engineering skill and completeness

20% - Data Collection, Analysis, and Interpretation

  • Trials and data analysis show rigor
  • Conclusions are supported by statistical analysis
  • Data is presented in graphs or tables with correct labeling

20% - Creativity

  • The project demonstrates significant creativity in methodology, design, troubleshooting, or interpretation
  • The student did the project independently (parent, teacher, or other adult did not do the work)

10% - Presentation - Visual

  • Logical organization of material
  • Clarity of graphics and legends
  • Overall "polish" of slide deck (pdf)

20% - Presentation - Interview

  • Ability to answer questions thoughtfully
  • Understanding of engineering principles relevant to the project
  • Understanding of the real-world impact of the project
  • For team projects, all team members contributed equally
  • Overall "polish", clarity, and flow of the interview

Data Science/Math Projects

10% - Research Question

  • Description of a practical need or problem to be solved
  • Choice of data science techniques

20% - Programming and Debugging Methodology

  • Well-designed plan for creating and testing program
  • Explanation of choice of coding language/platform
  • Method of debugging program

20% - Data Acquisition, Analysis, and Interpretation

  • Data acquired is representative and contains relevant information
  • Data analysis shows rigor
  • Conclusions are supported by statistical analysis
  • Data is presented in graphs or tables with correct labeling
20% - Creativity
  • The project demonstrates significant creativity in methodology, design, troubleshooting, or interpretation
  • The student did the project independently (parent, teacher, or other adult did not do the work)

10% - Presentation - Visual

  • Logical organization of material
  • Clarity of graphics and legends, including any snippets of code
  • Overall "polish" of slide deck (pdf)

20% - Presentation - Interview

  • Ability to answer questions thoughtfully
  • Understanding of data science or math principles relevant to the project
  • Understanding of the real-world impact of the project
  • For team projects, all team members contributed equally
  • Overall "polish", clarity, and flow of the interview
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