Summary of Facts


The Science Engineering Fair of Houston (SEFH) provides a unique and beneficial science educational service to public and private junior and senior high school students in grades 7-12. Through the development and presentation of science/engineering projects, students enhance their abilities to: (1) Make observations; (2) Ask questions regarding particular phenomena or situations; (3) Formulate ideas and procedures for the solution of a problem; (4) Use complex and/or analytical reasoning skills to find an answer or a solution to a problem, and (5) Effectively present their works to society. SEFH strongly believes that it is just as important for students to learn how to use mathematics and science as it is to learn the subject material in the classroom. Project based learning has been our top priority since 1960. At SEFH we stress understanding not memorization. The educational activities sponsored by SEFH complement the rapidly growing need for students to be able to understand and utilize new technology. In addition SEFH also sponsors a Science & Engineering Writing Contest and a Technical Poster Design Contest.


SEFH is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization, supervised by a board of directors and sponsored by the University of Houston; the University of Houston Downtown; the Engineering, Science & Technology Council of Houston; the Greater Houston Partnership; Consumer Energy Alliance; and the Houston Museum of Natural Science and is a member of the INTEL International Science Engineering Fair. Each year foundations, professional societies, businesses, individuals, industrial and technical organizations in the Houston area donate about 85% of the operating funds. Approximately 800 professionals volunteer their services to the fair as judges with support from more than 150 volunteer workers. 


SEFH serves as the regional fair for all public, private, charter and home school junior and senior high school students in Harris County and 22 surrounding counties throughout Southeast Texas. Major regional fair winners are eligible to compete in the annual International Science and Engineering Fair. Last year marked another successful year with 1,367 student exhibitors from 134 schools. Approximately 35,000 projects were entered in the preliminary school/district fair competitions. SEFH is the largest fair of its type in Texas, and one of the largest in the world.

Exhibits & Awards

The 2018 SEFH projects are scheduled for setup and judging February 23 and 24 at the University of Houston Athletic/Alumni Center, Main Campus and March 3  for the award ceremony. Projects (both team and individual) will be entered in either the Junior/Middle School (grades 7&8) or Senior Division (grades 9-12).

Project categories include animal science, behavioral/social science, biochemistry/microbiology, chemistry, computer science, earth/space science, energy & transportation, engineering, environmental science, mathematics, medicine/health, physics & astronomy, plant science and robotics. 

In 2017, SEFH awarded 360 “Place Awards” and 41 businesses, industries, technical societies, government agencies, and educational institutions presented more than  250 “Special Awards,” fellowships, and scholarships. SEFH also provided five Melinda Mills Teacher of the Year Awards. Junior Division Place Award winners (72) were eligible to enter the BROADCOM Masters Competition. One hundred and twenty Place Award winning projects were eligible to enter the State SEF in San Antonio. Thirteen Senior Division  Grand Award winners represented SEFH at the annual INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles, California. These SEFH students were successful with awards being granted.