Welcome to the Science and Engineering Fair of Northern Kentucky!

About Our Fair

Our Mission
The SEFNK mission is to promote and contribute to the educational and scientific development of students in its 30 county drawing area of northern and northeastern Kentucky. Throughout the year, SEFNK encourages and assists schools and their students in their science study and research programs in order to stress the understanding of fundamental principles of the STEM disciplines.

Our Vision
Through partnerships with educational institutions, businesses and communities we will use the all-inclusive educational nature of science fair projects to strengthen STEM education in Kentucky. We will utilize our resources to work toward implementation of county science fairs in each of our 30 counties to feed into our regional fair. Through this goal we will make SEFNK an annual showcase of the STEM talent and ability being prepared in the Northern Kentucky region and throughout the schools of the Commonwealth.

Ready to Get Down to Science?

Project Limits:

Elementary and Middle School level projects will not be accepted in the following areas: Microbiology; Human or Vertebrate projects that contain or make use of tissues, fluids, cells, etc; Projects pertaining to the use of recombinant DNA. Attempts to move such projects from the Microbiology category to another will be disqualified from competition. Please contact us if there are any questions concerning a project's eligibility to register. Please note that projects are accepted on a first-come basis, thus if project numbers fill up in a specific grade or category, caps can be enforced to limit project numbers.

IRB and SRC review: Please also review and pay special attention to the rules regarding use of animal or human subjects, hazardous chemicals and devices. We plan to continue our strict adherence to ISEF paperwork requirements set for high school participants for the elementary and middle school levels as well. The ISEF Rules Wizard is the easiest way to determine what forms are required for a project. IRB and SRC project reviews must be performed prior to project research. Please refer to SEFNK and ISEF rules for more details. In the occasion that a senior participant wins the grand prize at the SEFNK Fair more than two consecutive years, while they can still advance to higher competitions, SEFNK reserves the right to award the prize of a expense paid trip to ISEF to the next consecutive winner/s.

Science Fair Contact Info: Phone: (859) 572-1308 Email: doresd1@nku.edu Fax: (859) 572-6179
SEFNK Mailing Address: Science Center 200 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, KY 41076

Learn more about the SEFNK Categories

The partial list of awards includes:

  • The American Meteorological Society will offer two Certificates of Outstanding Achievement to student exhibitors in grades 9, 10, 11, or 12 ( unless in the judges' opinion, exhibits in those grades are less meritorious than junior division exhibits) For a team exhibit, each team member will receive a certificate. The winning projects should represent ability and creativity in an atmospheric science exhibit. .
  • The Certificate of Outstanding Achievement for Ability and Creativity in In Vitro Biologyward recognizes (1) 11th grade student for most outstanding exhibition in the areas of plant or animal in vitro biology or tissue culture. Complete Awards acceptance form with award winner and return to the SIVB.
  • GENIUS Olympiad is an international high school project competition about environmental issues. It is founded and organized by the Terra Science and Education and hosted by the State University of New York at Oswego. GENIUS Olympiad will host projects in five general disciplines with an environmental focus.
  • The winner of the Intel Excellence in Computer Science Award will receive an Intel Certificate and $200 (The monetary award is mailed to the recipient of the award at a later date).
  • The high school winner of the SEFNK fair is being sent to Phoenix, AZ for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair from May 12th to 17th.
  • The ASM Materials Education Foundation is pleased to provide an award. The award consists of a medallion and certificate recognizing the winner of the best materials engineering project as the fair. The criteria by which the project will be judged is as follows: 1. Use of materials-related concepts 2. Demonstration of some aspect of the materials paradigm, i.e., structure - processing - properties - properties - performance relationships 3. Clarity in presentation 4. Clear understanding of the scientific method 5. Aesthetics - layout of the project, neatness, etc.
  • The Yale Science & Engineering Association, Inc. (YSEA) wishes to provide one (1) award at each Regional Intel ISEF Competition. It is intended that this recognition be awarded to the most outstanding 11th grade student exhibiting in the areas of Computer Science, Engineering, Physics or Chemistry. A "Preliminary Certificate" will be presented at the fair. A formal award certificate, suitable for framing, and a pewter medallion will be forwarded directly to the recipient sometime in July or August, 2005. In addition, it is possible that the recipient will be contacted by a local Yale Club or Association and invited to an annual or special meeting for further recognition and publicity of his/her achievement.
  • Since 2003, Mu Alpha Theta has supported a special "Mu Alpha Theta Award" at regional and international science fairs on an annual basis. Additionally, we provide up to $6000 in prizes each year at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May as well as judges to the event. The Mu Alpha Theta Award is given to the most challenging, thorough, and creative investigation of a problem involving mathematics accessible to high school students. Components of the investigation may include, but are not limited to, mathematical proof, mathematical modeling, statistical analysis, visualization, simulation, and approximation.
  • The NASA Earth System Science Award is a certificate awarded to a project that studies the environment and its effect on organisms and/or systems, as well as studies of the various components of Earth systems, their interactions and their evolution.
  • NOAA's 2019 Taking the Pulse of the Planet Award is presented to the student whose research has demonstrated the Principals and Technical Innovations that offer the greatest potential for an improved understanding of the Earth's dynamic processes.
  • The Ricoh Sustainable Development Award 2017 is a certificate for a project which features principals & technical innovations that offer the greatest potential for increasing our ability to grow environmentally friendly & socially responsible businesses. Project must reflect 1. Energy conservation/ prevention of global warming 2. Resource conservation / recycling 3. Pollution prevention 4. Conservation of biodiversity.
  • The Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives utilize the considerable knowledge and research assets of Arizona State University, the nation’s leader in sustainability education, to develop scalable solutions to economic, social and environmental challenges throughout the globe.
  • The Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG) is pleased to provide an Award Certificate to a female student whose project, in the opinion of the judge, exemplifies high standards of innovativeness and scientific excellence in the geosciences. Special consideration will be given to projects that increase public awareness of the geosciences, illustrate the interdisciplinary nature of the geosciences, or promote the sensitivity to the earth as a global system.
  • The American Psychological Association Education Directorate and Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools are pleased to award one certificate recognizing outstanding research in psychology under the category of behavioral and social sciences. The Regional Fair's awards committee is asked to judge entries using the following criteria: Literature Review, Hypothesis and Method, Results, and Discussion.
  • The U.S. Metric Association is providing one certificate to be presented to the student whose project involves significant amount of quantitative measurement and which best uses the SI metric system for those measurements. Criteria includes: Any project which involves measures and expresses those measures consistently and correctly in SI metric would be a good choice to win the metric award. A project which uses a variety of metric units for different kinds of measures (such as force in newtons, pressure in kilopascals, energy in joules, power in watts, etc.) would be a better choice than one which uses only centimeters to measure lengths or liters for volumes.
  • The US Stockholm Junior Water Prize gathers imaginative young minds from all over the world, encouraging their continued interest in water and sustainability issues. The competition draws more than 10,000 entries from over 30 countries. Each year, thousands of participants in over 30 countries from all around the globe join national competitions in hopes of earning the chance to represent their nation at the international final held during the World Water Week in Stockholm. The national and international competitions are open to young people between the ages of 15 and 20 who have conducted water-related projects of proven environmental, scientific, social or technological significance. The projects range from local or regional to national or global topics. The winner of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize receives a USD $15,000 award, a blue crystal prize sculpture, a diploma as well as the stay in Stockholm. The prize is awarded by H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, the Patron of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize.


The regional Science and Engineering Fair of Northern Kentucky has a long proud history of promoting and highlighting scientific achievement in Kentucky’s youth. Since 1995, as an affiliated fair, the northern region of Kentucky has been sending talented young researchers to the International Science and Engineering Fair, ISEF. Since 2002 the regional fairs have also been able to send excited fair winners to the Kentucky Science and Engineering Fair, KY-SEF. SEFNK has had several names and incarnations over the years. In the early days the region was nearly twice the current size and the fair appropriately named the North and Central Kentucky Exposition of Science. In 2001 STEM interest and growth required a split of the region. Out of that split came 2 fairs, NACKES and CKRSEF. The NACKES acronym remained with the northern portion of the region and was updated to reflect the split and thus became the North Area Counties of Kentucky Exposition of Science.

In 2011, the organization board decided that some redefinition of the organization and fair was in order. As a new national concentration and initiative to improve STEM education in the US began, a branding update was undertaken to highlight the organization’s ties and alignment with ISEF and KY-SEF. A more logical name of Science and Engineering Fair of Northern Kentucky was selected and SEFNK was born. Under this new brand we now set our sights forward to growth and improvement. Our goals are to help create a county fair system to feed into our regional fair. With the increased competition of STEM research we strive to make SEFNK a preeminent showcase of STEM education and talent for the Cincinnati, tri-state area and the Common Wealth of Kentucky.

Want to be a vendor or have a table at our fair? Click here.


The Science & Engineering Fair of Northern Kentucky would like to thank the following companies and organizations for their tireless support.
With their commitment, students have an opportunity to share ideas, showcase cutting-edge projects,
and compete annually for awards and scholarships.

If you would like to become a sponsor of the Science & Engineering Fair of Northern Kentucky
please contact Mrs. Danielle Dores for more information.

For technical questions and support, please contact your event administrator