Important Dates & Times

Wednesday November 01, 2023 at 1:00 AM
Thursday March 14, 2024 at 11:59 PM
Wednesday April 17, 2024 at 11:59 PM
Tuesday April 02, 2024 at 3:00 PM
Thursday April 04, 2024 at 9:00 PM
Tuesday April 02, 2024 at 6:00 PM
Wednesday April 03, 2024 at 9:00 AM
Thursday April 04, 2024 at 6:00 PM
Thursday April 04, 2024 at 8:00 PM

Participants of the Ozarks Science and Engineering Fair follow the rules set forth by Society for Science that govern the Regeneron International Science an Engineering Fair and the Thermo Fisher Junior Innovators Challenge.  Follow the links below for complete information.

Society for Science -

Rules and Guidelines -

ISEF Forms -
(required of all projects junior (grades 5-8) and senior (grades 9-12). Elementary projects (grades 3-4) are exempt.

About OSEF

The 2024 Ozarks Science & Engineering Fair will be held Hammons Student Center on the Missouri State University campus. The fair will be held Tuesday, April 2 – Thursday, April 4.

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 19-county region that includes Camden, Christian, Dallas, Douglas, Greene, Hickory, Howell, Laclede, Morgan, 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.

2020: OSEF Region continues to expand. Due to the dissolution of the Lincoln University Regional Fair, OSEF added Camden, Hickory and Morgan counties to bring the region to 19 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 April 2-4, 2024.

Where is OSEF held?

John Q. Hammons Student Center (just west of the JQH 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.

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?

    Funding comes from contributions by individuals, organizations, foundations, businesses, and industries within our region, in addition to school affiliations, and entry fees. These funds are used for operational costs, awards, and expenses for participation in the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair.


Science Day

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Science Day provides an opportunity for the public to view the projects.  Public viewing is open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM.  Another exciting feature of Science Day is the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers Bridge Building Contest.  The Bridge Building Contest Bridge Breaking event will begin at 5:00 PM and last until all bridges have been tested (broken), approximately 7:00 PM

What to Expect During the Fair

We are excited to welcome you to the Ozarks Science and Engineering Fair.  Here is an outline of what to expect across the three days of the fair.


You will enter through the East doors of Hammons Student Center.  These doors are located on the east side of the building between Hammons Student Center and the JQH Arena.

You will proceed to the Registration Table where you will pick up your Fair Name Badge.

Your Fair Name Badge identifies your project number (Category_Number) and will tell you where to place your project.  Your Name Badge must be worn at all times, especially during Judging.

You will proceed through the doors to the arena.  Volunteers will meet you to help you find your table where your project will be displayed.

When you reach your table, proceed with setting up your display.  Once you have set up your project, Display and Safety volunteers will check your project display to make sure you are ready for competition.  Please be sure you have thoroughly read all rules pertaining to the display of your project.  These rules can be found at

Judging will begin at 6:00 PM.  You, and any teammates that you have, MUST be present at your project during judging.  An assortment of judges will review your project.  These judges include judges that determine placement and judges seeking to recognize projects with special awards. All students will be dismissed at 8:00 PM.  When students are dismissed, we ask that All students to exit the floor and the building for the evening.

Toward the end of the evening, as results begin to come in, you may see volunteers moving through the projects placing stickers on projects.  These stickers indicate that a particular project has won an award of some type. The color of the sticker has no significance.  Additionally, a project that wins multiple awards, will still have only one sticker. Students MUST attend the Award Ceremony on Thursday evening to learn the award results.


Science Day provides an opportunity for the public to view the projects.  Public viewing is open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM.  Another exciting feature of Science Day is the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers Bridge Building Contest.  The Bridge Building Contest Bridge Breaking event will begin at 5:00 PM and last until all bridges have been tested (broken), approximately 7:00 PM


On Thursday, projects will remain on view to the public until 6:00 PM.  All projects must remain on the floor until the Award Ceremony concludes at approximately 8:00 PM.  This is to assure that all projects are secure until such time that the students, teachers or parents can safely remove them.

 The Award Ceremony will be held on the North end of the HSC main arena floor, beginning at 6:00 PM. We strongly encourage all students, their teachers and families to attend and enjoy the recognition for the exemplary work that has been accomplished.  We encourgae that a teacher or parent serve as a representative for each school to receive awards for any students unable to attend the ceremony.

Awards will consist of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Honorable Mention placement awards in each category for both Junior and Senior divisions; multiple special awards including certificates, merchandise, cash and opportunities to advance to National and International competitions.

A Junior Division Grand Prize Winner is selected from the Junior Division. 

Two Grand Prize Winners, and a First and Second Alternate are selected in the Senior division.  The Grand Prize Winners will advance to the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, CA May 2024.

At the conclusion of the Award Ceremony, all projects are to be removed from the display areas no later than 9:00 PM.  Unfortunately, we have no way to store or deliver projects left behind and they will be discarded.   


Behavioral and Social Sciences
The science or study of the thought processes and behavior of humans and other animals in their interactions with the environment studied through observational and experimental methods.
The study of chemical substances, interactions, and processes relevant to living organisms.
Study of plant life, including their structure and function, life history, growth, interactions with other plants and animals, classification, and evolution.
The science of the composition, structure, properties, and reactions of matter.
Computer Science
The study of information processes, the structures and procedures that represent processes, and their implementation in information processing systems. It includes systems analysis and design, application and system software design, programming, and datacenter operations.
Earth and Planetary Science
The study of sciences related to the planet Earth (Geology, minerology, physiography, oceanography, meteorology, climatology, speleology, sesismology, geography, atmospheric sciences, etc.)
The application of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, and operation of efficient and economical structures, processes, and systems.
Environmental Sciences
The application of engineering principals to solve practical problems of managing mans' interaction with the environment with the goal to maintain and improve the state of an environmental resource affected by human activities.
Mathematical Sciences
The study of the measurement, properties, and relationships of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols. The deductive study of numbers, geometry, and various abstract constructs, or structures.
Medicine and Health Sciences
The science of diagnosing, treating, or preventing disease and other damage to the body or mind.
The study of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and pathogens.
Physics and Astronomy
Physics is the science of matter and energy and of interactions between the two.
Study of animals and animal life, including their structure, function, life history, interactions, classification, and evolution.

Judge Criteria

What does it take to be a judge?

We need individuals who have a willingness to talk to students about the work they have performed; an understanding of the scientific method; and a wish to reinforce the students' pursuit of research and knowledge.


OSEF follows the rules of the International Science and Engineering Fair to which we are affiliated.

Judge Scoring

Lastly, all information regarding OSEF Judging can be found on the judging page of the OSEF website,

Thank you again for your support of our regional science fair and most importantly, the support of our students and their science education.




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