By Laura Shaposhnikova
Every year, middle school science enthusiasts across the country vie for top prizes at their regional science fair. At affiliated fairs, the top 10% of students receive an incredible opportunity- a nomination to apply for Broadcom MASTERS!
We contacted a few regional fairs that had standout application rates in 2014 to hear their tips for encouraging Broadcom MASTERS nominees to submit applications online.
Help us close the gap between the number of students nominated versus the actual number who enter the national competition online. We want to make sure all eligible students take advantage of this life-changing opportunity!
1. Turn your Broadcom MASTERS alumni into role models.
Tell your nominees about students from YOUR fair that have gone on to become semifinalists and/or finalists. Eddie DeMoll, fair director from Kentucky, makes sure to give an introduction explaining the award to nominees. He knows it might be the first time nominees are hearing about Broadcom MASTERS, so he makes sure to mention past nominees and finalists.
2. Cha-ching: remind schools about their chance to win $1,000 too!
Remember: Finalists’ schools each receive $1,000 from the Broadcom Foundation to support STEM.
“The reason we have high response is several schools give the students time during the school day and support them in filing it out,” explained Stephanie Jones, an Oregon affiliated fair director.
3. Parents, your child is a gem- now get that application in!
“I write letters to the parents/students explaining that with the award comes the responsibility of getting the application in. That they need to do their parts to show the world how good Kentucky students are,” said Eddie DeMoll.
4. Persistence is key.
“I tell them I will continue to pursue them every two weeks until they email me letting me know they have registered,” said California affiliated fair director Patti Carothers.
5. Strange and unusual- in a good way!
This is a special, rare opportunity for young students enthralled by STEM. Patti Carothers reminders parents, teachers, and students that only the top 10% receive this honor.
6. Teacher appreciation goes a long way.
Teachers of semifinalists and finalists receive a prize for their role in influencing these students, too!
Teachers of semifinalists will receive a set of Sally Ride Science career books, courtesy of Deloitte. Teachers of finalists will receive a one year subscription to Science News Magazine.
“We send emails to the teachers to encourage their students to apply,” said New York affiliated fair director Angela Lukaszewski. “A minimum of three reminders are sent requesting that the teachers encourage their students to apple and reminding them of the upcoming deadline.”
7. Read all about it!
Let your local press know about kids in your area doing amazing things!
8. Sweeten the pot.
Many fairs give additional awards, like a special ribbon or cash, for students who complete the application. In addition, all students who enter receive a Broadcom MASTERS t-shirt and a chance to win an iPod Nano or Raspberry Pi.
Patti Carothers made the nominations more exciting by presenting nominees with specially made Broadcom MASTERS ribbons.
9. Bragging rights.
“I explain…that simply by being nominated this is an honor they can capitalize on at a later date with applications to high schools and internships,” said Patti Carothers.
10. Practice makes perfect.
The process of having to complete the paperwork to enter their project in Broadcom Masters is a good experience for our middle school students,” said Tennessee affiliated fair director, Katie Schumacher. “It begins to train them for the larger paperwork demands at the high school level.”
Teachers, parents, and fair directors all play a role in helping their students succeed. Make sure your nominees have the tools to apply—the nominee packet with their username and fair password. Request a digital packet from Allie Stifel to send out as a reminder to your nominees.
Fair directors: forgot to distribute nominations at your fair? No worries, the application is open until June 17 so they still have plenty of time!
Do you have advice you’d like to share with us? Send us an email at email@example.com.