About OSEF

The 2022 Ozarks Science & Engineering Fair will be held March 29 - March 31.

Ozarks Science and Engineering Fair Mission Statement

The Mission of OSEF is to:

  • Encourage independent student research in science and engineering
  • Promote the understanding and appreciation of science
  • Stimulate interest and support for science and math programs in area schools
  • Promote and encourage scientific thinking
  • Provide a public event to display and recognize area students' research
  • Illustrate that science is a creative human endeavor
  • Encourage youth to pursue science, math, or engineering careers
  • Promote collaboration and interaction between area students and scientists and engineers from the community and/or the world

What is OSEF?

The Ozarks Science and Engineering Fair (OSEF) is a regional competition which brings together student scientists and engineers with outstanding research projects. It also serves as an excellent opportunity for students to experience working with local scientists and professionals. Participating students are from a 16 county region that includes Christian, Dallas, Douglas, Greene, Howell, Laclede, Oregon, Ozark, Polk, Pulaski, Shannon, Stone, Taney, Texas, Webster and Wright counties.

Facts and History

  • 1959: The first organized Science Fair In Springfield, Missouri was held at Parkview High School. Early Fairs' expenses were covered by $400 donated by the Springfield School System and the Springfield Rotary Club
  • 1990: Joplin, Missouri becomes the site of the second Regional Science Fair, thereby providing more opportunities for local students to attend the International Science and Engineering Fair.
  • 1990: The Greater Springfield Area Science Fair Foundation was formed to manage and administer the Greater Springfield Area Science Fair.
  • 1992: A new name, Ozarks Science and Engineering Fair, is adopted by the Fair's foundation to more accurately reflect the mission of the organization.
  • 2003: An expanded region! Due to the dissolution of the South Central Missouri Science and Engineering Fair, the additional counties of Pulaski, Laclede, Texas, Shannon, Ozark, Howell, Wright, and Oregon were added to our region, while the counties of Dade and Cedar were moved to the Missouri Southern Science & Engineering Fair, for a total of 16 counties.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Who participates in OSEF?

  • an average of 750 students from the 16 county region surrounding Springfield participate in the Ozarks Science and Engineering Fair.
  • over 400 awards, prizes, and scholarships totaling nearly $50,000 are offered each year to students in the Junior and Senior divisions.
  • over 150 area professionals donate their time and expertise to judge exhibits in 13 categories.
  • approximately 24 professionals from 15 disciplines volunteer their time to act as mentors to Science Fair participants.
  • the Ozarks Science and Engineering Fair sends the two Senior Grand Prize Winners to the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). The 2018 Intel ISEF competition was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
    • Elementary Division: Students in grades 3 - 5 display their projects in this noncompetitive portion of the Fair.
    • Junior Division: Students in grades 6 - 8 compete for recognition and awards.
    • Senior Division: Students in grades 9 - 12 compete for recognition, scholarships, and cash awards. Two Senior Division students are selected to compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair.
    • On the first day, students set up their exhibits between 3:00 and 6:00 pm. Student must be with their projects from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on the first day for judging and are expected to discuss their research with the judges when asked.
    • During the second day, called "Science Day," the Fair is open to the public. Hundreds of visitors, including entire classes from area schools, come to see the various exhibits.
    • The final day of the Fair is also open to the public. The Award Ceremony is held that evening, at which time students finally learn what placement or special awards they have earned.
    • Students' research projects are displayed at Hammons Student Center on the Missouri State University campus.

When does OSEF take place?

OSEF is an annual event which normally takes place over three (3) days during late March/early April. This year's fair dates are March 29 - 31, 2022.

Where is OSEF held?

John Q. Hammons Student Center (just west of the Great Southern Bank Arena) on the campus of Missouri State University.

Why do students participate in OSEF?

  • Participation requires students to go above and beyond what is typically required in school projects.
  • Participation teaches interpersonal skills like how to present research or advocate for their own ideas.
  • Participation encourages scientific and critical thinking. 
  • Participation can open doors to career opportunities. 
  • Participation can lead to scholarships and other higher education opportunities. 

Don't just take our word for it - here's what previous Fair participants have said:

  • "I have found the business and community involvement to be extraordinary . . . . Sponsors are providing encouragement and support for students who pursue the sciences." Karen Kindall, First Place Behavioral Sciences, Grand Prize Recipient, Strafford High School
  • "The Science Fair is an exciting opportunity to create, develop, and complete a project . . . . Being judged by an expert in your field . . .is a tremendous first-hand experience." Tim Noonan, First Place Zoology, Grand Prize Recipient, Springfield Catholic High School

Students participating in OSEF also have the unique opportunity to develop working relationships with mentors outside of their classroom environment. Placement and Special Award winners receive prizes that include cash awards and scholarships. Participation also provides valuable additional material for college and scholarship applications and job resumes.

Placement and Special Award winners have their names, as well as the names of their sponsors, schools, and projects, published in the Annual Award Book, as well as on the web site.

How is OSEF funded?

  • Funds come exclusively from contributions by individuals, organizations, foundations, businesses, and industries within our region. These funds are used for operational costs, awards and expenses for participation in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. There, our students interact and compete with student scientists from all over the world!

Interested in sponsoring an award? 

If you are interested in sponsoring an award, please complete our online form and we'll be happy to work with you. 

Special Awards Contributions