The Colorado State Science Fair, Inc. was established in 1977 as a private, non-profit organization to run the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair (CSEF). The CSEF has actually been held since 1955 and is the state-level event in a year-long process of local and regional science fairs. The history of the CSSF can be found in this annotated history of the organization that shows how it has progressed and changed over the years as well in this table of basic information of each year's CSEF. More detailed information about each year's event, can be found in the Annual Report.
More than five thousand students participate in science fair programs state-wide. The purpose of the CSEF is to stimulate student interest and encourage students in science and engineering through recognition of their research knowledge, ability, and achievement. Each year, a number of experiences are made available to the student finalists who participate in the CSEF. Tours of university and local corporate research facilities provide opportunities for students and their families to see research in action. Additionally, the judges' interviews allow the finalists a chance to interact with professional scientists and engineers. Over the years, many students have said that having the chance to meet and speak with their peers about their science projects is the most beneficial aspect of the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair.
In addition to getting the opportunity to interact with working scientists, CSEF Finalists compete for awards in the categories of Animal Sciences, Behavioral & Social Sciences, Chemistry, Earth & Space Sciences, Energy & Transportation, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Mathematics & Computer Sciences, Medicine & Health, Microbiology, Physics, and Plant Sciences; either as an individual or as a team project. Recognition for outstanding research in each of these categories as well as an award for technical writing are presented each year at the CSEF Awards Ceremony. The top Senior Division projects are awarded trips to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair each year.
The past Directors of the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair include:
- Charles Bragaw*: 1956 - 1967
- Calvin Fisher*: 1968 - 1974
- Sam Shushan*: 1975 - 1977
- Gordon Moore: 1978 - 1979
- Russell Stoner*: 1979 - 1981
- Virgil Sandborn: 1982 - 1983
- James Sites: 1984 - 1985
- Lloyd Walker: 1986 - 1988
- Connie Vade-Lindholm: 1989 - 1990
- Lynn Butler: 1991 - 1992
- Kate Taylor: 1993 - 1994
- Christal McDougall: 1995 - 1996
- Kate Taylor: 1997 - 1998
- Lucy Adams: 1999
- Courtney Butler: 2000 - present
*Director Emeritus for outstanding contribution to the CSEF and more than two years of service as CSEF Director.