I’ve been a judge at the Denver Metro Regional Science and Engineering Fair for nearly a decade now.  It is an annual event held every February at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  There are two divisions – Junior and Senior – each with numerous categories, including Plant Sciences, Animal Sciences, and Physical Sciences.  Winners from the Fair advance to the State Science Fair, and winners there may advance to even more prestigious competitions.  It is entirely possible for a local student to win a full college scholarship based solely on their Science Fair success.

One intriguing aspect of being a judge is the opportunity to see what fascinates students, and how that evolves over time.  A few years ago, for example, I noticed a dramatic upsurge in projects related to forensic science.  This was a direct result of the popular and numerous CSI TV shows.  Currently, there is a strong trend toward projects related to environmental concerns.

Hutton Architecture Studio has been a Gold Sponsor of the Science Fair for many years.  This entails both judging a category or two, as well as subsidizing the cash awards given to winning projects.  We have proudly sponsored the Junior Division and Senior Division Engineering Awards.  Three years ago, we decided to add an entirely new special project award.  It is the Hutton Architecture Studio Solar Energy Award.  This may be awarded to a student or team from any of the categories in both the Junior and Senior Divisions.  We did this because we want to encourage local students to think about environmental issues and, in particular, the need to utilize renewable energy resources.

This year’s winning entries of the Hutton Architecture Studio Solar Energy Award were “Solar Panel Science” (Junior Division) and “Heat Transfer from Biomass” (Senior Division).