The Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair (GNOSEF) is one of the oldest such fairs in the nation, with the first “New Orleans Regional Science Fair” held in 1956. It is managed by the Fair Directors and Board Members of the Greater New Orleans Science Fair, Inc. and is affiliated with the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair. Open to 6th – 12th grade students in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, and Plaquemines parishes nominated by their schools or home school associations, it hosts over 300 students annually.
Awards and State/International Level Competition Eligibility
The GNOSEF awards more than $60,000 in cash and prizes to middle school and high school students. Selected category winners at the GNOSEF are eligible to compete for state honors at the Louisiana Science and Engineering Fair held at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
The GNOSEF is one of 10 regional fairs in Louisiana that are affiliated with the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Each year, four area high school students and two teachers are selected by the GNOSEF for an all-expense paid trip to compete for more than $5 million in cash and prizes at the Intel ISEF, which is held in a different location each year. Additionally, students that advance to the Louisiana Science and Engineering Fair are considered for advancement to ISEF.
The Thermo Fisher Scientific STEM Competition is a opportunity for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students who participate in an affiliated fair with their science, engineering or math project to advance to a national level. The top participating projects are nominated to compete in the national competition, with the top 30 national finalists awarded an all-expense paid trip for them and a parent to compete at the national level.
History of the GNOSEF*
From 1938 through 1954, annual science fairs were among the activities of the New Orleans Junior Academy of Science, which in turn was sponsored by the New Orleans Academy of Science, founded in 1853. In 1954, a small science fair was held at Loyola University in New Orleans, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Louisiana Academy of Science. During a meeting of the Academy Council, Dr. Edward Greco was appointed Director of Science Fairs in Louisiana and charged with the responsibility of organizing a state-wide program sponsored and coordinated by the Louisiana Academy. Representatives of various colleges and universities in the state were invited to meet in Alexandria, Louisiana, where the structure of state and regional fairs was outlined. This program was instituted in 1955 with affiliation with the International Science Fair. In 1956, the title “New Orleans Regional Science Fair” was used for the first time. In 1957, the fair was held at Newman School and in succeeding years (through 1974) at Tulane University.
Late in 1963, the Women’s Auxiliary of the Chamber of Commerce of the New Orleans Area stepped in as a supporting organization. Later that year, an advisory committee was formed with representatives from industry and education to serve on a board of directors. In 1983, the name of the Women’s Auxiliary was changed to Women’s Council of the Chamber of New Orleans and the River Region. In 1986 it dissolved and its members formed a new organization known as Women for a Better Louisiana and continued to support the Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair. In 1966, the Region IX Science Fair incorporated under the name of Greater New Orleans Science Fair, Inc. In 1976, the scope was expanded and the name was changed to the Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair, Inc. In March of 1975, the Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair moved to the University of New Orleans campus, and subsequently moved to Tulane in 2018, where it is hosted by Tulane University in partnership with Loyola University, and supported by the Women for a Better Louisiana.
*This information was obtained through the courtesy of Mrs. William H. Hindson, former Secretary of Greater New Orleans Science Fair, Inc., Dr. Edward Greco, Director of Research for United Gas Company, Dr. Walter Moore of Loyola University, and Dr. Homer Hitt, former Chancellor of University of New Orleans.