• Orange County Science and Engineering Fair
    • Orange County Science and Engineering Fair
    • Orange County Science and Engineering Fair
    • Orange County Science and Engineering Fair
    • Orange County Science and Engineering Fair

News & Events

OCSEF Ask-a-Scientist Nights
OCSEF Ask-a-Scientist Nights

OCSEF, OC Science, and THINK Together hosted four successful Ask-a-Scientist Nights in school across Orange County.

2016 Excellence in STEM Award Ceremony
2016 Excellence in STEM Award Ceremony

At the 2016 annual Excellence in STEM Awards ceremony, teachers, volunteers, board members, judges, and special judges received awards for their excellence.

Jan and Richard Cannon 1964
Jan and Richard Cannon 1964

Jan and Richard Cannon met at OCSEF in 1964 as fellow competitors. Little did they know that they would end up happily married in the years to follow. 

  • The Orange County Science and Engineering Fair (OCSEF) is a nonprofit educational organization that has promoted science and engineering in Orange County since 1955. The educators, scientists, and engineers who volunteer their services are committed to educating, guiding, and motivating students to engage in project-based learning in all fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to be college and career ready in the 21st century. 

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Free Science Fair Resources
Free Science Fair Resources

Advice for conducting a science fair project, information for various science summer camps, links to science fair competitions, and more!

2015 OC Fair Imaginology
2015 OC Fair Imaginology

The OC Imaginology Fair is a great opportunity to showcase your talents in individual and group project competitions in a variety of subjects including Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math!

2016 Broadcom MASTERS Semifinalists
2016 Broadcom MASTERS Semifinalists

Of the 300 students chosen as Broadcom MASTERS semifinalists from across the nation, nine elementary and middle school students from OCSEF qualified. 

2016 California State Science Fair Winners
2016 California State Science Fair Winners

A total of 32 Orange County students from grades 6-12 won awards at the 65th annual California State Science Fair held on May 23-24.

2016 Intel ISEF Finalists Selected
2016 Intel ISEF Finalists Selected

Four high school students were selected to represent Orange County at the 2016 Intel International Science & Engineering Fair.

In the 2015-2016 school year, Aamina Thasneem Khaleel was a seventh grader at Orange Crescent School. While many children like eating colorful candies, Aamina took her interest a step further by researching the detrimental effects of artificial food colorings, specifically in M&Ms and Nerds. Her project, titled “Investigating Harmful Artificial Food Coloring in Candies Using Agarose Gel Electrophoresis,” garnered attention from judges, who gave her first place in the junior division of physical product science.

 

Like many other young kids, Aamina was first inspired to pursue this science research project by her love and interest in candy. The attractive-looking candies made her wonder “why the colors [were] really bright, and what they [were] made of.” Aamina also wanted to explore the negative effects of the excess amounts of food coloring in the candies. To do this, Aamina utilized agarose gel electrophoresis, “a method used by scientists to find DNA, RNA, proteins, enzymes, and artificial food colorings.” Aamina heated eight different dyes in an electrophoresis chamber, with the artificial colors moving from the negative to the positive end. Artificial colors closer to the negative end after being heated were deemed to have excessive amounts of artificial coloring, and therefore had more harmful effects.

 

Aamina started out by testing different candies, but she dreams of using her newly-gained knowledge of Agarose Gel Electrophoresis to test different kinds of coffees and teas for their amounts of caffeine. Not limited to food sciences, Agarose Gel Electrophoresis is also an important method in the sciences  biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, and clinical chemistry; Aamina hopes to specifically use her skill to test animal DNA in the future.

Aamina was able to conduct a successful experiment, but not without obstacles. She  struggled “to find out the different amounts of agarose, buffer, and water,” but overcame it due to her passion for science and her curiosity. In fact, when asked, Aamina has said that her advice to science research project hopefuls is to “ask lots of questions, be curious, never give up, and always love science.”

 

 

 

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