Science and Engineering Fair of Houston

History of SEFH

SEFH in the News

Syamantak Payra

Karan Jerath




2016 Science and Engineering Fair of Houston
Posted on Google Photos

2015 Science and Engineering Fair of Houston
Posted on Facebook

2014 Science and Engineering Fair of Houston
Posted on Flickr



2014 Science and Engineering Fair of Houston Seminar
Houston Museum of Natural Sciences

SEFH Historical Summary

1949 Science Service Inc. in Washington, D.C. began a movement to encourage countries and states to promote engineering, mathematics, and science at the pre-college level via organized science and engineering fairs.
1960 The first Science Engineering Fair of Houston (SEFH) was held in the Sam Houston Coliseum, sponsored by The Houston Post and the Engineers Council of Houston (now known as the Engineering, Science & Technology Council of Houston). It was held as a regional fair and open to private and public school students in grades 9–12 throughout most of Southeast Texas. There were about 500 students in this first event. SEFH joined the International Science and Engineering organization sponsored by Science Service and thus agreed to follow a comprehensive set of rules related to student research. It also agreed to send it’s Grand Award winners to compete in the annual international fair.
1961–1982 The Fair continued to grow and eventually moved to the Astrohall Exhibition Center in 1974. In 1980 SEFH was recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization.
1983 SEFH hosted the 34th International Science & Engineering Fair.
1984 SEFH was officially recognized by the State as a not-for-profit organization and accepted its Articles of Incorporation. A formal organizational structure was established with a Board of Directors, Officers, and an appointed Executive Director.
1986 The Fair changed its official structure and formed two fairs: Science Engineering Fair of Houston — Life Sciences Science Engineering Fair of Houston — Engineering/Physical Sciences Each fair had six entry categories. A Junior Division was created for grades 7 & 8; a Ninth Grade Division; and a Senior Division for grades 10–12. The fair moved to the Astroarena Exhibition Center and was recognized as an official Texas Sesquicentennial Event.
1987 SEFH established a Poster Design Contest and a Science Writing Contest.
1992 The Houston Museum of Natural Science and the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) were added as co-sponsors of SEFH. The American Petroleum Institute awarded scholarships to the Grand Award Winners in the Junior and Ninth Grade Divisions. Teacher of the Year Awards were presented to one teacher in each of the three divisions.
1994 Team project competition was added to the Junior Division.
1999 Fortieth Anniversary!! Most of the administrative work associated with the fair is now handled by UHD. About 85% of the operating costs are paid for via an annual fund solicitation drive, conducted without any paid professional assistance. Twelve “working” committees and many continuing volunteers and dedicated teachers help to make SEFH a successful event.
2001 Team project competition was added to the Ninth Grade Division.
2004 Fair moves to the George R. Brown Convention Center.
2008 Team project competition was added to the Senior Division and a new project category, Energy & Transportation added to all three individual project category divisions. The 49th SEFH was dedicated to the memory of Dr. Norman Hackerman, long-time SEFH board member and internationally known scientist.
2009 Fiftieth Anniversary!!! Greater Houston Partnership Energy Collaborative joins as a co-sponsor of SEFH. Changed name of writing contest to Science & Engineering Writing Contest. Service region expands to include Harris County and 23 surrounding counties (most of Southeast Texas).
2010 Consumer Energy Alliance becomes a co-sponsor of SEFH; 1,441 students from 145 schools participate.
2013 The University of Houston now sponsors the Fair.
Dr. Bonnie Dunbar, Executive Director of the UH STEM Center and Executive Director of SEFH as well Dr. Heather Domjan, SEFH Associate Director presides as the new SEFH administration.
2015 The Fair moves to the University of Houston Athletic/Alumni Center.
Engineering Category has been divided into four categories: Aerospace, Chemical, Electrical & Mechanical, Materials & Bioengineering.
2018 Teams Division combined with the other divisions. and will compete with individual project entries in each category.