Joplin, MO (SNS) – The 26th annual Missouri Southern Regional Science Fair will be held Tuesday, March 24, in the third floor ballroom of Billingsly Student Center at Missouri Southern State University.

The competition for high-school and middle-school students is affiliated with the Society for Science and the Public. Individual senior projects and individual or team projects are accepted from students in the following counties: Vernon, Barton, Jasper, Newton, McDonald, Barry, Lawrence, Cedar and Dade in Missouri; Neosho, Crawford, Montgomery, Labette, Bourbon and Cherokee in Kansas.

This year’s fair will include entries from 100 students in the junior category (grades 5-8) and 23 students in the senior category (grades 9-12) from six high schools and 10 middle/junior-high schools. Categories include behavioral science; cell, molecular and microbiology; chemistry and biochemistry; computer science, engineering and math; Earth and environmental science; human and animal science; physics and astronomy; and plant science.

Closed judging will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with public viewing from 1 to 5 p.m.

Science activities – including sessions on static and current electricity, extraction of DNA from various berries, measuring respiratory variables and liquid nitrogen ice cream – will be offered from 1 to 3:45 p.m. in Reynolds Hall. Students who attend three activities will have their name placed in a drawing for iTunes gift cards.

The Missouri Southern Regional Science Fair has also teamed up with the Junior Missouri Academy of Science. Students write papers and give a 12-minute oral presentation to judges for ratings and possibly being chosen to present at the state JMAS meeting in April. Students can use the same project for both the science fair and the JMAS. Oral presentations start at 1 p.m. in Reynolds Hall and are open to the public.

An awards ceremony will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. in Webster Hall’s Corley Auditorium.

First-place winners will receive a scholarship to Missouri Southern (graduating high-school seniors who win their category in the senior division), or a cash prize (for the junior division and all others in the senior division). Grand prize winners (two from the senior division and two from the junior) will also receive cash prizes. One senior grand prize winner will also receive an all-expense paid trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, to be held May 10-15 in Pittsburgh, Penn.

Special awards – ranging from an iPad to two $500 cash prizes – will be offered by a variety of sponsors.

They include: Luke Nugent Memorial Inc.; Dr. Ryan Longnecker with Freeman Heart and Vascular Institute; Cardiology, Critical Care and General Surgery and Orthopedics at Freeman Health System; Les Olson with Sidecars Inc. and WiseApp, Inc.; Victoria Timoschenko with Executive Tailoring; Dr. Rod Carson with Carson Chiropractic; Home Depot; Pro 100 Inc. Realtors; Macy’s Department store; Sergey Bedin and Lance Doubek with B Line Inc.; the U.S. Air Force; Dr. Richard Falkenstein with Dental Care Center; the Perry Thomas Physical Science Award; Calvin and Vickie Cassady with the Ozark Gateway Audubon Society; Vogel Family Vineyard; and the Environmental Health Club, Caduceus Club and Chemistry Club at Missouri Southern.