Science Fairs | Supporting local, state and international science and engineering fairs

SPIE supports local, state and international science and engineering fairs by providing several Special Awards in Optics and Photonics. Volunteer judges review projects displayed at science fairs and select best projects where students apply optics or photonics related technology to their project.

In 2019 SPIE awarded cash prizes totaling over $14,000 to 54 talented students from elementary through high school.

Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

Phoenix, Arizona (14-17 May 2019)

SPIE Member Volunteers: David Kwartowitz (Lead), Robert Breault, Kate Medicus, Judy Fennelly


Marina Gudzhabidze, Shorena Gudzhabidze, Dea Illarionova (First Place), Republic of Georgia
Team Project: Hand-Held Detector with Retro-Reflective Mosaic Screen to Visualize Optical Inhomogeneities


Christine Ye (Second Place), United States
Project: Applications of Helium-4 Doubly Forbidden Singlet-Triplet Transition Lines in Astronomical Spectroscopy


Rohan Ahluwalia (Third Place), United States
Project: A Novel Optical Diagnostic Method for Non-Invasive Detection of Blood Glucose Using Reverse Iontophoresis Modulation and Personalized Neural Networks


California State Science Fair

Los Angeles, California (30 April 2019)

SPIE Member Volunteers: John Tamkin (Lead), Avid Najdahmadi, Martin Seilonen, Adam Vore

Senior Division:

Isaac Broudy (First Place)
Project: Developing and Calibrating a Linear Polarimeter of Astrophysical Test of Beyond Standard Model Physics


Francisco and Isabella Catanzaro (Second Place)
Project: Measuring Chlorophyll Fluorescence and Spectral Reflectance for the Remote Sensing of Agriculture


Andrew Land (Third Place)
Project: Art or Science? String-Bow Interactions on a Novel Optoelectronic Cello


Junior Division:

Dana Soibel (First Place)
Project: The Study of Optical Properties of Artificial Colors


Arsh Muhib (Second Place)
Project: Building a 360 Degree Periscope


Roxy Luster (Third Place)
Project: Fog, Fog, on the Wall: Which Color Shines Brightest


Colorado Science and Engineering Fair

Fort Collins, Colorado (11 April 2019)
SPIE Member Volunteers: Kirk Cook, Morteza Karami, Robert Philbrick, Jesse Wilson

Senior Division:


Joy Ma (First Place)
Project: Nanoscale Optical Probing of Two-Dimensional Heterostructures Suspended on Nano-Slits


Siddarth Ijju (Second Place)
Project: Fast MRI: Reconstructing MR Images using Undersampled K-Space and a GAN


Ramesh Krithik (Third Place)
Project: Utilizing Computer Vision Systems And Machine Learning To Develop A Live Time Navigational And Surgical Aid For Spinal Reconstructions


Junior Division:

Xander Duvall (First Place)
Project: Variable Scintillation Frequencies to Muon Detection


Maxwell Benedict (Second Place)
Project: Effect of Air Pollution on Solar Panel Efficiency/Yield


Julian Kramer (Third Place)
Project: Growing with Color


Alabama Science and Engineering Fair

Huntsville, Alabama (4 April 2019)
SPIE Member Volunteers: Tommy Cantey, Ron Eng, Hemang Jani

Aniket Pant (First Place)
Project: Novel Applications of Machine Learning in Ultrafast Optics


Catherine Blevins (Second Place)
Project: Capital X: Designing and Testing a Procedure for Building an Inexpensive X-ray Generator


Eesha Banerjee (Third Place)


Minnesota State Science and Engineering Fair

Brooklyn Center, Minnesota (30-31 March 2019)
SPIE Member Volunteers: Melkamu Jembere, Kelli Fuchs

Daniel Fleury (First Place)
Project: Deployment of a Scalable Single Shot Detector (SSD) Mobile Architecture for the Localization and Classification of Pneumonia Chest Radiographs


Eric Warmka (Second Place)
Project: Arduino Gas Sensor


Kerui Yang (Third Place)
Project: Harvesting the Blue Wave Energy by Circular Electromagnetic Generator

Junior Division:

Nick Watson and Ashu Machida (First Place)
Team Project: Title Not Available


Annika Clift (Second Place)
Project: Blocking Blue Light


Noah Spencer (Third Place)
Project: How Bright is your Light?


Washington State Science and Engineering Fair

Bremerton, Washington (30 March 2019)
SPIE Volunteer Judge: Nancy Magnani


Caroline Wu (First Place)
Project: A New Compact Embedded Laser Source for Emerging Applications


Akshay Murthy (Second Place)
Project: GreetSense - A Facial Recognition and Obstacle Detection Device for the Visually Impaired


North Carolina Science and Engineering Fair

Raleigh, North Carolina (30 March 2019)
SPIE Volunteer Judges: Russell Philbrick, Hananiel Setiawan, Shuzhen Wei, Yunji Yao

Senior Division:

Jason Li (First Place)
Project: A Novel Multimodal Sensor System for Continuous Monitoring of Chronic Diseases


Sai Varanasi (Second Place)
Project: Analyzing the Polarization of Skylight in Relation to Air Quality


Emily Liu (Third Place)
Project: Environmentally friendly design of ITO-free organic solar cells with pre- and post-processed PEDOT:PSS electrodes

Junior Division:

Anika Purohit (First Place)
Project: Effect of Color and Shape of an Object in Peripheral Vision

Jacob Alan Smith (Second Place)
Project: Shining Light on our Plastic Problem


Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (29 March 2019)

Caitlyn Gratton and Ayla White (First Place)
Team Project: Here Comes the Sun


Misimi Sanni (Second Place)
Project: Holograms


Ben Theron (Second Place)
Project: Seeing Beyond the Human Eye


Southwest Ohio District Science and Engineering Expo

Cincinnati, Ohio (16 March 2019)
SPIE Volunteer Judges: Jason Schmidt, Karthik Vishwanath, Hui Wang, Robert Trusty, Frank Fago

Aaron Ziegler (First Place)
Project: Light Wavelength's Effect on Early Stage Garden Bean Development


Noa Dagenbach (Second Place)
Project: The Benefits of Tf Thermal Imaging on Horses


Gus Elovitz (Third Place)
Project: The Effect of Temperature on a Solar Cell Voltage Conversion

Badger State Science and Engineering Fair

Milwaukee, Wisconsin (16 March 2019)
SPIE Volunteer Judge: Faraneh Fathi

Rahul Mullick (First Place)
Project: Cardioprotective Effects of Carvedilol in Inhibiting Chemotherapy-Induced Cardiotoxicity


Nithin Venkat Ramachandran (Second Place)
Project: Characterization of Protein Expression and Retinal Structure upon GABA Receptor Deficiency

North Alabama Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Huntsville, Alabama (13 March 2019)
SPIE Volunteer Judges: Zach Ford, Yongbin Lin, Wade Porter, John Rauseo, H. Philip Stahl

Jayden Vanterpool (First Place)
Project: Can Nanotechnology be a Better Method of Cancer Therapy?

Catherine Blevins (Second Place)
Project: Design of Testing an Inexpensive X-ray Generator



Emma Brolliar (Third Place)
Project: Robotic Hand


Javon Zion Jennings (Honorable Mention)
Project: The Impact of Reflective Parabolic Wing Position to Concentrating Solar Energy in a CAD Designed Automated Arduino Controlled Solar Tracking Absorption Device


Northeastern Ohio Science and Engineering Fair

Cleveland, Ohio (12 March 2019)
SPIE Volunteer Judges: Howard Fein, Qing Wu

Michelle Park (First Place)
Project: The Modulation of Light Curves by Absolute Magnitude in non-Blazhko RRab Lyraes as a Result of the Alterations of the [Fe/H] Values


Lauren Rolda (Second Place)
Project: Does the Distance from a Parabola Affect Light Intensity?


Aiden Purcell (Third Place)
Project: Speed of Light


Seminole County Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Sanford, Florida (2 February 2019)
SPIE Volunteer Judges: Gerald Holst and Carl King

John Schuck (First Place)
Project: Exploring Factors that Affect Solar Panel Efficiency


Bridget Martinez (Second Place)
Project: How to Build an Efficient, Cost-Effective At-Home Spectrophotometer


Nadia Knoblauch (Third Place)
Project: Here Comes the Sun