EPSEF - Eastern Panhandle Science and Engineering Fair


Eastern Panhandle Science and Engineering Fair
Elementary and Middle School Divisions

What's New for '24?
Elementary categories have expanded to include Materials Science and Medical Science, which were previously limited to the middle school division.
Friday, February 2, 2024 
Snow Date: Friday, February 9, 2024
9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Ranson Civic Center
432 West 2nd Avenue
Ranson, WV 25438
7:30 AM - Fair Personnel Report for Venue Setup
9:30 - 10:15 AM - Student Arrival, Check-In and Project Setup
10:00 AM - Judges' Briefing
10:30 AM - Welcome and Opening Remarks
10:45 AM - Project Presentations and Judging
2:00 PM- Exhibit Hall Open for Public Viewing
3:00 PM - Presentation of Awards
3:30 PM - Project Removal and Clean-Up
Projects not removed by 4:00 PM will be "recycled."
Students in grades 3-8 who placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in county science fairs from the Eastern Panhandle counties of Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan, Pendleton, and the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind. 
Note: If your county did not host a science fair this year you may still be eligible to participate.  Contact your science teacher or county science fair coordinator for more information.
EPSEF is affiliated with WVSEF, the West Virginia Science and Engineering Fair.
First place category winners from EPSEF will be eligible to compete in WVSEF in Charleston on Monday, March 4, 2024.
EPSEF '24 Middle School Division is also affiliated with the Society for Science and the Thermo Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge.
Projects earning first place in each middle school category are nominated to participate in the Thermo Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge (JIC), hosted by the Society for Science.
Rules in Brief
As an affiliated fair, EPSEF adheres to the rules of the West Virginia Science and Engineering Fair and the International Rules for Pre-College Science Research, the official rules of the Regeneron ISEF as applicable to elementary and middle school students.
The purpose of these rules is to:
  • protect the rights and welfare of the student researcher and all human participants
  • protect the health and welfare of animals
  • ensure adherence to local, state, and federal regulations
  • ensure use of safe laboratory practices
  • protect the environment
  • ensure the safety and well-being of fair visitors
  • ensure eligibility for competition in WVSEF and the JIC
Projects will be inspected for potential violations of the Display and Safety (D&S) Rules prior to judging. Without further notice to the participant, the D&S Inspector may remove or obscure any prohibited items on display and make safe any potentially hazardous condition. Where necessary, the D&S Inspector will make a reasonable attempt to work with particiapants to correct any serious violations. Projects with unresolved violations after commencement of judging will not be eligible to compete in WVSEF or JIC.

The D&S inspector most commonly encounters violations of the following rules:
  • Absolutely NO liquids, not even water
  • No chemicals, food, grocery items, spices, or edible items
  • No plants, fruits, seeds, soil, sand, rock, or cement
  • No glass (no jars, containers, light bulbs, aquariums, etc; tablet/laptop computer displays are allowed)
  • No exposed sharp objects, pinch points, electrical wires, or other potential hazards
  • No insects, animals, body parts or fluids, etc (living or once living)
  • No algae, bacteria, fungi (molds, yeasts), protozoa, viruses, or other microscopic organisms
  • No items that may have contained or been in contact with hazardous substances
  • No lasers, bright lights, flames, loud noises, odors, or other distractions
  • No personal information (name, school, grade, web address, phone number, etc) (Students are encouraged to put their name on the back of items at their project display.)
  • No active internet connections
Instead of displaying prohibited items, participants are encouraged to display photographs of their work. Photographs are usually an excellent alternative way to display items that would otherwise be banned at the project booth. Remember that photos should not include any unobscured human faces, animals in distress, or potentially offensive images.

This is only a summary list of common violations. Adult Sponsors, teachers, parents, and student participants are strongly encouraged to carefully review the official ISEF International Rules for Pre-College Science Research, ISEF's complete Display and Safety Rules, and WVSEF Elementary or Middle School Rules, as applicable.
Questions should be directed to the student's science teacher or the EPSEF SRC (Scientific Review Committee).
Ethics Statement
"Student researchers are expected to maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity.  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 competition in affiliated fairs and the Thermo Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge. The Scientific Review Commitee reserves the right to revoke recognition of a project subsequently found to have been fraudulent."
EPSEF Elementary and Middle School Divisions use the WVSEF Categories.  Please note, the Fair Director reserves the right to change a project's category placement or combine categories with an insufficient number of entrants.
  1. Animal Science
  2. Behavioral and Social Science
  3. Chemistry
  4. Earth and Environmental Science
  5. Energy
  6. Engineering
  7. Materials Science
  8. Mathematics
  9. Medical Science
  10. Physics and Astronomy
  11. Plant Science
  12. Technology
How to Enter
The following information must be received by Friday, January 19, 2024 Monday, January 29, 2024:
  1. Eligible students and their parents/guardians will submit the electronic EPSEF 2024 Application Form and Abstract online.
  2. Students are to work with their science teachers to complete the required WVSEF paperwork. (Your science teacher or county science fair coordinator will scan and email the completed forms to apply@epsef.org or bring completed forms to the fair.)
  • Required forms for Elementary division (See the WVSEF Student page for forms.)
    • Student Checklist (Form 1A)
    • Elementary School Abstract (2-pages)
    • Vertebrate and Human Research Form (Form VHRF), if applicable
  • Required forms for Middle School division (See the WVSEF Student page for forms.)
    • Checklist for Adult Sponsor (Form 1)
    • Student Checklist (Form 1A)
    • Research Paper or Research Plan (Form 1A2)
    • Approval Form (Form 1B)
    • Vertebrate and Human Research Form (Form VHRF), if applicable
    • (Abstract is submitted via online Application Form)
    • Other forms as required by WVSEF or ISEF rules  (Note: If Continuation Projects Form (7) is required, the Abstract, Form 1A, and Research Plan from the previous year or years must also be attached.)
Questions concerning the application process should be addressed to Shane Price, Fair Director, at 304-270-7769 or email shane@epsef.org. 
Participation in EPSEF is provided at NO COST to students or attendees. Funding is provided by a grant from the West Virginia Department of Education and our generous sponsors.
Prizes and Awards
Award sponsorship opportunities are available! Please contact us for more information.
In addition to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards in each category, participants in EPSEF '24 may compete for a variety of Special Awards, including:
  • Best Graphic Design
  • Best Data Visualization
  • Best Application of the Scientific Method
  • Most Creative Model/Apparatus
  • Most Surprising/Unexpected Results
  • ISEF Alumni Award
Additional Prizes and Awards for Middle School Division participants:
  • Lemelson Early Inventor Prize ($100)
First place winners in each catetory are nominated to compete in WVSEF on Monday, March 4, 2024.
In addition to competing in WVSEF, first place winners have the honor of contiuing their science fair journey by applying to compete in the Thermo Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge.  From the enrants, the Top 300 will be selected and receive a prize of $150.  The Top 30 finaliststs will compete for more than $100,000 in prizes, including a top price of $25,000 and scholarships for STEM summer camps. Additionally, each of the finalists' schools will receive $1,000.
The top projects in each division will earn the distinction of EPSEF '24 Best of Show.
For Students:
For Coordinators:
* Coordinators please be sure students and parents/guardians complete either the online application or paper application.
Judges and Volunteers
The Science Fair can only be made possible with a small army of volunteers.  If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering to help with EPSEF, please complete the Judge and Volunteer Registration Form online.  Thank you! 
First place winners from each category will be eligible to compete in the 2024 West Virginia Science and Engineering Fair at the Charleston Coliseum on Monday, March 4, 2024.
Additional Info
EPSEF coordinates and co-plans with WVSEF and the Thermo Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge/ISEF.  As such, information is subject to change.
The Adult Sponsor for a project must be the student participant's science teacher, or another teacher if the science teacher is not available.
Students and parents should first contact your science teacher.  Teachers should contact their county science fair coordinators.  Coordinators, volunteers, and anyone still needing assistance should contact:
Shane Price, Fair Director
Tel: 304-270-7769
-- Updated January 31, 2024 SP