Annual Synopsys science fair goes virtual in response to concerns over coronavirus spread

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Jin Tuan

Ellen Guo (12) presents her project to a judge at the 2018 Synopsys Science Fair. The fair has gone virtual in response to the CDC's advisory against mass gatherings.

by Mark Hu and Sabrina Zhu

The annual Synopsys Science & Technology Championship, which features work from students in Santa Clara Valley, is going virtual due to concerns over the coronavirus. 

The competition has been held annually at the San Jose Convention Center, but for precautionary reasons, the Santa Clara Valley Science and Engineering Fair Association (SCVSEFA) has decided to host a virtual science fair. SCVSEFA alerted student participants through an email sent out on the morning of March 5 and with an update on the science fair website.

Students will be required to upload the information from their display boards and their abstract, a condensed explanation of their project to an online folder by March 11. Projects will be judged through video conferences with a pair of judges on March 12 using remote conferencing programs such as Zoom. In addition, training sessions will be held prior to set time slots to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Student participant Rishab Partharasathy (10) shares his concerns about the virtual fair and how the online conferences may affect the quality of presentations and discussions.

“The video conferencing is going to be weird,” said Rishab. “You don’t really know what the judges are looking at, and you can’t see the whole poster.”