More than 380 county students participate in annual science research competition

A student participant in the 2024 Chester County Science Research Competition explains the details of her project to a volunteer judge.

Last week, students from across the county showcased their passion for science in the 2024 Chester County Science Research Competition (CCSRC) at the West Chester University Student Recreation Center. Facilitated by the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU), the fair brought together over 380 students from 53 schools, who embraced the spirit of competition across 15 different categories from botany to chemistry, earth and space, zoology and more.

The CCSRC, which is sponsored by CCRES, AGC Chemicals, the Children’s Fund of Chester County and Phillips Mushroom Farms, has two parts: the Dr. Lucy Balian Rorke-Adams Fair for students in grades 6-12, and the Dr. Jonas Salk Fair for students in grades 4-5. The Rorke-Adams Fair included 64 volunteer judges and the Salk Fair included 51 volunteer judges, spanning a variety of backgrounds across several different industries.

Students in both fairs displayed months of research on their chosen topics and presented their findings to the judges. The judges, who could preview student projects, met with the student researchers to interview them about their research and conclusions. After the interviews, the judges deliberated in category-based groups to determine winners and provide each student with valuable feedback.

“This event encourages students to go outside of their comfort zone, whether they are participating in interviews, going to various venues or providing information to the questions being asked that are related to the work that they have done. They learn to express categorically the information that they have learned,” said Jay Erb, a volunteer judge for the CCSRC.

Karin Brian, another volunteer judge for the CCSRC, added, “It gives the students an opportunity to see potential mentors and the realization that pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math is possible for them. They get to see real world applications and engage with people who think like them.”

After a full day of competition, both the Rorke-Adams Fair and the Salk Fair concluded with an open house in the evening, where students and their families had the opportunity to browse all the projects. During the Salk open house, students who placed in each of the 15 categories received their awards while accompanied by their family and friends.

Of the 183 projects entered into the Rorke-Adams Fair of the CCSRC, 123 met the judges’ criteria of a winning project. Winners from Rorke-Adams will be celebrated at the Rorke-Adams Award Ceremony on Tuesday, March 19, 2024. High school students who placed first, second or third in their category and middle school students who placed first or second will advance to the Delaware Valley Science Fairs (DVSF) held in the first week of April. To learn more about the CCSRC, visit

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