Metro North Regional Employment Board
Building Partnerships for a Better Workforce

Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair, Inc.

955 Massachusetts Avenue ♦ Cambridge, MA, 02139
STEM Contact: Cora Beth Abel ♦ ♦ (617) 491-1500


Organization Description

The Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair, Inc. (MSSEF) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded in 1949 by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a group of K-12 science educators and MIT professors.  For over six decades, MSSEF programs have advanced science literacy and inspired new generations of science and engineering leaders. 


MSSEF's mission is to increase awareness of, exposure to, and participation in inquiry-based learning through the development of science and engineering projects by middle school and high school students, and to showcase and celebrate that learning.

MSSEF ’s support of “real world” inquiry-based learning impacts thousands of students each year across the Commonwealth.  Students with the most outstanding scientific research and engineering design projects are selected to participate in the culminating statewide Science Fair events where, in 2010 ~45% of the 400+ high school students won over $500,000 in scholarships and prizes.  In 2010, the statewide Middle School Science Fair broke all previous records with 300 students participating.  MSSEF also provides professional development opportunities for science teachers and helps to support a network of twelve Regional Science Fair Centers in Massachusetts.

STEM Partnership Summary

The Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair (MSSEF) offers resources and activities designed for middle and high school students, and their STEM teachers.  Through the science fair program, students learn to “think for themselves” as they experience the excitement and challenges of the discovery process.

Science and Engineering Fair programs across Massachusetts:

MSSEF provides a wide range of resources for schools, students and business representatives interested in inquiry-based learning and teaching, and in developing or participating in science and engineering fairs in their districts. MSSEF's Website offers complete information on the policies, procedures and resources for these programs and events.  MSSEF also fields and funds a Massachusetts team to compete in the International Science & Engineering Fair, and supports a statewide Regional Science Fair Leadership Council.


Comments from alumni:

  • “A life-forming experience”

  • “Allowed me to go to college”

  • “I was constructing my future.”

Teacher Professional Development: Through its Curious Minds Initiative and in collaboration with Framingham State University, MSSEF offers a “STEM Certificate in Inquiry” consisting of three graduate-credit courses. The foundational course, “Teaching Science through the Inquiry Process” (TSIP), helps teachers to develop strategies for using inquiry-based learning in the classroom.  A hands-on practical course, teachers bring 2-3 classroom activities to TSIP that they adapt to make greater use of the inquiry approach. More info at:

Curious Minds Initiative (CMI):  CMI is a strategic, multi-stakeholder plan that aims to enable every middle and high school in Massachusetts to engage students in inquiry-based learning.  CMI provides science teachers with the tools, expertise and resources necessary to integrate exciting project-based experiences into their existing curricula, and to start or expand a Science & Engineering Fair Initiative.  Developed by MSSEF, “Curious Minds” builds on over six decades of experience and success with over 28,000 students across the Commonwealth.

Grants and Resources: Through CMI, MSSEF works collaboratively with GEMS (Gelfand Endeavor in Massachusetts Schools) to provide grants for schools aiming to increase inquiry-based learning, expand or start a science fair program, create a district-wide STEM Plan, and to promote teacher and student engagement in STEM. For more information, send an email to:

Types of Educational Outreach Opportunities

Guest Speakers
Educator Education/Workshops
Grants or Foundation Opportunities
Web Resources

Target Population

Grades 6-12 – Students and Teachers
Engineers and Scientists (for judging and mentoring of students/teachers)

Academic Subjects Related to Activities

All Science Subjects
Mathematics and Statistics
Communication (reading, writing, public speaking, design of poster boards)




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