Regional Science and Inventors Fair support spans Southwest Florida civic, business and academic communities
The Thomas A. Edison Regional Science and Inventors Fair will be held again this year on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) at the Alico Arena on February 2, 2013. The support of FGCU includes hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships offered to the Fair winners, scores of professors volunteering to judge the Fair, staffing and logistical support of the Fair and dozens of student volunteers to assist in producing the event. FGCU also offers campus tours the day of the Fair along with science-oriented lab demonstrations for Fair visitors.
This signature event of the Edison Festival of Light will be showcasing the extraordinary work and projects of approximately 450 Science Fair participants and about 350 ingenious inventions of public school, private school and home schooled Southwest Florida students. The Fair’s close collaboration with the Edison Festival of Light stretches back decades and the Festival has provided monetary funding, expertise, advice and volunteers annually to the Fair.
One of the longest standing partners of the Fair is the Fort Myers Kiwanis Club. Each year this group of civic leaders raises money to pay for the winners of Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Science and Engineering Fair to attend the State and International Science competitions. The Club provides leadership in planning and conducting the Regional Fair, recruiting and organizing Category Judges and provides volunteers in staffing the event and scholarships and prizes for the Fair participants.
Lee and Charlotte County Public schools provide significant financial support to operate the Fair and numerous private schools and educators from across the area actively participate in producing the event. Local colleges and Universities make huge contributions annually. Scores of judges from FGCU, Edison State College, Hodges University and Barry University participate and almost a million dollars in scholarships from local colleges is available to Fair winners each year.
The Imagninarium and the City of Fort Myers have been steadfast partners of the Fair, hosting Science Fair training sessions and providing high-level expertise in running the Fair. Sony Electronics has collaborated with the Fair for over 15 years and has provided scores of volunteers, tens of thousands dollars in electronic prizes and leadership in managing the Fair. Barnes and Noble has hosted Book Fairs on behalf of the Fair and helped raise operating funds for the Fair. The Home Depot has provided leadership, volunteers and material donations to the Fair.
Loyal supporters of the Regional Science Fair have provided dozens of judges over the years including the Scientist Society of Southwest Florida, Lee Memorial Health Systems and the Lee County Medical Society as well as physicians and dentists in private practice.
The Edison Inventors Association (EIA) has been a partner of the Regional Inventors Fair for years and provides several hundred dollars annually to the Fair. Individual EIA members have helped participants in the Inventors Fair develop their inventions and patent attorneys have donated professional time to assisting young inventors with patient applications. The EIA members have also provided scores of judges to the Fair over the years.
The Edison Ford Winter Estates has also become directly involved with the Fair. Annually they host the home-schooled student’s preliminary Science Fair to select winners who will advance to the Regional Science Fair. This year the Estate’s Education team is producing a Science Live event the day of the Fair on the FGCU campus for parents, siblings and teachers of the Fair participants and the event is also open to the public and press.
The Regional Fair has grown into a world class Science and Inventions event because the entire community has pulled together to support it. The Steering Committee of the Fair includes educators, scholars, scientists, inventors, business and civic leaders from across the Southwest Florida area. This year marks the 56th anniversary of the Regional Science Fair and the 25th anniversary of the Inventors Fair and its future has never looked brighter; as bright as that first light bulb of Thomas Edison.