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Intel ISEF

The State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa is an Intel ISEF-affiliated science fair.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, annually provides a forum for more than 1,500 high school students from over 40 countries to showcase their independent research. The ISEF is the premiere science competition in the world exclusively for students in grades 9–12. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Regarding Forms:

What forms are required?

Please download our EntryChecklist to make sure you have everything covered for your official registration. 

Why does the SSTFI require so many forms?

In order to remain in good standing with the Intel International Science and Engineering (ISEF) this paperwork is required both at the Senior and Junior High level.  Also, the SSTFI Board of Directors and many of its sponsors maintains that in the real world of research and scientific investigation this paperwork and permission process is simply part of the process and should be learned at a young age.  Please note this paperwork is also a vital process in ensuring that the students, their research subjects, and the environment they worked in were not in danger.  As a teacher the paperwork also works to protect you legally by having both a written record and a support system of administrators and other academic professionals sign off on the research being done in case there would be any problems. 

Regarding On-line Registration:

How do I know what will be asked in the on-line registration?

Follow the information in our Registration Prep Form to be prepared for on-line entry. 

Regarding General Practices:

What is considered appropriate attire?

The fair is considered a professional science competition; however, during the course of the fair various levels of attire are accepted:
During registration and set-up -- jeans and t-shirts are acceptable (we always love to see the team t-shirts from various schools come through)
During judging -- business casual or business professional
Seminars -- business professional
During Final Judging and Award Ceremonies -- business professional 

What is considered business professional?  - 
Males: a suit or dress slacks and coat.  If you do not have a suit or sport coat than we would also consider dress slacks with button up shirt and a tie.
Females: a suit or dress slacks/skirt w/ professional blouse/shirt.  
Ladies -- this is the advice of several past alumni and judges: Skirts should go to the knee or slightly below the knee (NO short skirts please -- it is very unprofessional and gives the judges a bad first impression).  Shoes -- keep them comfortable (you will be on your feet quite frequently) low pumps or flats.  Blouses: please were a camisole or make sure you are covered on top -- think we are kidding - think again - gives judges a bad first impression.  

Remember this tip: poor attire will get you remembered for all the wrong reasons! (this does not mean you need to spend a lot of money on new clothes - we don't care how new the clothes are- this means keep it professional, tasteful and not distracting). 

Can we tear projects down early?

NO!  You will not be allowed to remove a project early.     

Is food allowed in the convention complex?

Outside food and beverages are NOT allowed in either Hilton or Scheman.  With the following exceptions: you may bring in your own water or have your own water bottle to fill at the water fountains.  If you have a dietary condition that would necessitate needing some food with you at all time this is acceptable.  

Food is available for purchase in Hilton Coliseum.  

Regarding Award Ceremonies:  

Do we have to attend the award ceremonies?

Yes, all students are expected to attend both award ceremonies.  Awards not picked up will not be mailed at a later date -- you are responsible for picking them up on stage or under certain approved circumstances sending another student across stage in your place. 

If my project didn't earn a Special Award during the Special Award Ceremony what is the point of competing the rest of the day?

Most certainly it is worth competing!  Don't let the Special Award Ceremony bring you down if you didn't receive a special award.  These awards are VERY specific.  Sponsors and judges place many qualifiers on the type of project that can receive these awards.  Just because you did not receive an award at this ceremony does not mean you will not place in the General Awards and be recognized on Saturday evening.  So put a smile on your face and go wow those judges!

Where do students sit?

Students are asked to sit as close to the stage as possible!  The SSTFI stage staff does everything possible to keep the awards running smoothly.  If you decided to sit in the upper regions of the coliseum and win an award you may be asked to sit in the front row of seats in order to keep the ceremony running smoothly.  When the award staff is forced to wait on students the ceremony is only dragged out that much longer for everybody.  Please be respectful of this!

Why are parents and other adults kept seperate from the student and teacher section?

Similar reasoning to the above question.  Keeping the students closest to the stage expedites the entire process and helps shorten the award ceremony.

Why is it necessary to walk around the stage?

Through the years the awards and stage staff have developed a method that allows for the most efficient use of space and time to keep the award ceremonies moving smoothly and as quickly as possible.  Behind stage our photographer awaits to take photographs and our award crew may have bulky items to hand out behind stage.  By following the flow students leaving back stage will also not disrupt the flow of those students coming down to receive awards.

How do we thank sponsors?

Every teacher will receive a packet with a list of sponsors to thank.  We ask that students write thank you's to these sponsors and mail them to the address listed on the sheet of paper the teacher received.  The SSTFI will mail these out in a large mailing to our sponsors along with other materials such as a program and sponsor certificate.  This ensures our sponsors receive one large package of materials to show how grateful we are!
Special Award sponsors may be thanked directly by the student/team.  Each Special Award ceremony packet that a project receives will have thank you information provided.

Regarding the FFA Agriscience Fair:  

If I enter the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair am I also registered for the SSTFI?

Yes!  You have actually registered to enter the SSTFI and designated that you are an FFA member who would also like to be judged in the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair.  

Do FFA Members participating in the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair need to wear Official Dress?

Students are NOT required to wear Official Dress during the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair judging; however it is encouraged--this will make it easier for the Iowa FFA Agriscience


FFA Agriscience Fair FAQ

Do FFA Members participating in the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair need to wear Official Dress?

Students are NOT required to wear Official Dress during the Friday Afternoon Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair judging; however it is encouraged--this will make it easier for the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair judges to quickly find your project.  

Will I have other judges besides the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair judges on Friday Afternoon?

Probably -- Special Award judges will be reviewing projects at the same time.  It is customary at the SSTFI that judges will take turns speaking to you and will wait until a set of judges is finished, come back later, or join in  the current discussion. 

When will Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair Awards be given?

ALL FFA Agriscience Fair awards will be given at the Grand Award Ceremony.  

Who should sign as Adult Sponsor if two teachers have monitored the project?

This is up to the Agricultural Education Instructor and the Science Instructor at each school.  Typically the Science Instructor (if they were the main person monitoring the project) would sign your paperwork as Adult Sponsor.  However, if the Agricultural Education Instructor was the sole adult supervisor they should be the one to sign the paperwork.  The SSTFI Officials will not care -- in the event that a student would earn a trip to the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair the Adult Sponsor that has signed the paperwork will be the person named to attend with the student (however this can be changed). 

The SSTFI allows teams to have up to 3 members, can Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair teams be teams of 3?

NO.  The National FFA Agriscience Fair Rules only allow teams of 2.  Since we will be advancing projects to this level team projects wanting to participate in the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair will only be allowed 2 team members. 

Past participants display your research paper and abstract.

January 12, 2016

NOTE:  Past participants/exhibors we are looking for good examples to include on the website.  If you would have a research paper/abstract you would like to submit please send to .  Please include your last or senior year as an exhibitor and your category.  ONLY exhibitors who have graduated are allowed to submit example papers!  Thank you for your help! Read more about Past participants display your research paper and abstract.



Donate Here

There are various types and levels of sponsorship for the State Science + Technology Fair of Iowa: 

General Fund Sponsorship:

These sponsors generously provide funds for the general operation and general scholarships provided by the SSTFI. These funds are corporately and privately given either through donation or grant. 

Scholarship Sponsorship:

These sponsors provide scholarships in their name to students usually within a designated category. Many of these sponsors are also General Fund Sponsors. 

Special Award Sponsorship:

These sponsors provide gifts, certificates, and other awards in their name to a specified group of students. These awards cover very specific criteria as required by the sponsor. Within the Special Award Sponsorship the awards are broken into three main levels: Intel ISEF Sponsored Awards (these awards come directly to us through our affiliation with the Intel ISEF), Military Sponsored Awards and Iowa Organizations & Individuals Sponsored Awards. 

Volunteer Sponsorship:

These sponsors are organizations, clubs, companies, educational institutions, colleges and departments, etc. that graciously provide judges and volunteers or allow their employees time off to serve as a judge or volunteer. 

In Kind Sponsorship:

These sponsors provide a service or equipment free of charge to the SSTFI. 

All of our sponsorships are recognized within the following levels based on their donations: 

Volunteer Sponsors: $0 but priceless service
Bronze Sponsors: up to $1,999
Silver Sponsors: $2,000 to $4,999
Gold Sponsors: $5,000 to $9,999
Platinum Sponsors: $10,000 or more




2010: The Fair

Follow Jess Truby as he gives you a tour around the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa.