Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Regarding Forms:

What forms are required?

Please download our Entry Checklist to make sure you have everything covered for your official registration.

Why does the SSTFI require so many forms?

In order to remain in good standing with the Intel International Science and Engineering (ISEF) this paperwork is required both at the Senior and Junior High level.  Also, the SSTFI Board of Directors and many of its sponsors maintains that in the real world of research and scientific investigation this paperwork and permission process is simply part of the process and should be learned at a young age.  Please note this paperwork is also a vital process in ensuring that the students, their research subjects, and the environment they worked in were not in danger.  As a teacher the paperwork also works to protect you legally by having both a written record and a support system of administrators and other academic professionals sign off on the research being done in case there would be any problems.

Regarding On-line Registration:

How do I know what will be asked in the on-line registration?

Follow the information in our Registration Prep Form to be prepared for on-line entry. 

 


Regarding General Practices:

What is considered appropriate attire?

The fair is considered a professional science competition; however, during the course of the fair various levels of attire are accepted:
Friday during registration and set-up -- jeans and t-shirts are acceptable (we always love to see the team t-shirts from various schools come through)
Friday during judging -- business casual or business professional
Friday seminars -- business professional
Saturday during Final Judging and Award Ceremonies -- business professional

What is considered business professional?  -
Males: a suit or dress slacks and coat.  If you do not have a suit or sport coat than we would also consider dress slacks with button up shirt and a tie.
Females: a suit or dress slacks/skirt w/ professional blouse/shirt. 
Ladies -- this is the advice of several past alumni and judges: Skirts should go to the knee or slightly below the knee (NO short skirts please -- it is very unprofessional and gives the judges a bad first impression).  Shoes -- keep them comfortable (you will be on your feet quite frequently) low pumps or flats.  Blouses: please were a camisole or make sure you are covered on top -- think we are kidding - think again - gives judges a bad first impression. 

Remember this tip: poor attire will get you remembered for all the wrong reasons! (this does not mean you need to spend a lot of money on new clothes - we don't care how new the clothes are- this means keep it professional, tasteful and not distracting).

Is it required to attend the entire 2 days of the fair?

Yes!  This is a two day event - registered projects are expected and required to participate the entire two days of the fair.

Can we tear projects down early?

NO!  You will not be allowed to remove a project early.    

Is food allowed in the convention complex?

Outside food and beverages are NOT allowed in either Hilton or Scheman.  With the following exceptions: you may bring in your own water or have your own water bottle to fill at the water fountains.  If you have a dietary condition that would necessitate needing some food with you at all time this is acceptable. 

Food is available for purchase in Hilton Coliseum.  Hy-Vee now offers less expensive and healthier options during the day on Friday -- they are located on the East Side upper concourse of Hilton Coliseum.

Senior High students - Lunch is provided for you on Saturday (you will not be able to leave the premises for lunch).  If you have special dietary needs you need to let us know in advance.

Regarding Award Ceremonies:  

Do we have to attend the award ceremonies?

Yes, all students are expected to attend both award ceremonies.  Awards not picked up will not be mailed at a later date -- you are responsible for picking them up on stage or under certain approved circumstances sending another student across stage in your place.

If my project didn't earn a Special Award during the Special Award Ceremony what is the point of competing the rest of the day Saturday?

Most certainly it is worth competing!  Don't let the Special Award Ceremony bring you down if you didn't receive a special award.  These awards are VERY specific.  Sponsors and judges place many qualifiers on the type of project that can receive these awards.  Just because you did not receive an award at this ceremony does not mean you will not place in the General Awards and be recognized on Saturday evening.  So put a smile on your face and go wow those Saturday judges!

Where do students sit?

Students are asked to sit as close to the stage as possible!  The SSTFI stage staff does everything possible to keep the awards running smoothly.  If you decided to sit in the upper regions of the coliseum and win an award you may be asked to sit in the front row of seats in order to keep the ceremony running smoothly.  When the award staff is forced to wait on students the ceremony is only dragged out that much longer for everybody.  Please be respectful of this!

Why are parents and other adults kept seperate from the student and teacher section?

Similar reasoning to the above question.  Keeping the students closest to the stage expedites the entire process and helps shorten the award ceremony.

Why is it necessary to walk around the stage?

Through the years the awards and stage staff have developed a method that allows for the most efficient use of space and time to keep the award ceremonies moving smoothly and as quickly as possible.  Behind stage our photographer awaits to take photographs and our award crew may have bulky items to hand out behind stage.  By following the flow students leaving back stage will also not disrupt the flow of those students coming down to receive awards.

How do we thank sponsors?

Every teacher will receive a packet with a list of sponsors to thank.  We ask that students write thank you's to these sponsors and mail them to the address listed on the sheet of paper the teacher received.  The SSTFI will mail these out in a large mailing to our sponsors along with other materials such as a program and sponsor certificate.  This ensures our sponsors receive one large package of materials to show how grateful we are!
Special Award sponsors may be thanked directly by the student/team.  Each Special Award ceremony packet that a project receives will have thank you information provided.

Regarding the FFA Agriscience Fair:  

If I enter the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair am I also registered for the SSTFI?

Yes!  You have actually registered to enter the SSTFI and designated that you are an FFA member who would also like to be judged in the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair. 

Do FFA Members participating in the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair need to wear Official Dress?

Students are NOT required to wear Official Dress during the Friday Afternoon Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair judging; however it is encouraged--this will make it easier for the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair judges to quickly find your project.  Saturday's judging is considered professional business attire (you may wear Official Dress but may be more comfortable in professional business attire).

Do FFA Members participating in the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair need to participate both days of the fair?

YES!  You are registering to attend the SSTFI.  The Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair is only one small component of this event. All students are required to attend both days of the fair.

Will I have other judges besides the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair judges on Friday Afternoon?

Probably -- Special Award judges will be reviewing projects at the same time.  It is customary at the SSTFI that judges will take turns speaking to you and will wait until a set of judges is finished, come back later, or join in  the current discussion.

When will Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair Awards be given?

The majority of these awards will be given at the Saturday morning Special Award Ceremony.  The top winners/those winning trips to the National FFA Agriscience Fair will be announced during the Grand Award Ceremony on Saturday evening.

Who should sign as Adult Sponsor if two teachers have monitored the project?

This is up to the Agricultural Education Instructor and the Science Instructor at each school.  Typically the Science Instructor (if they were the main person monitoring the project) would sign your paperwork as Adult Sponsor.  However, if the Agricultural Education Instructor was the sole adult supervisor they should be the one to sign the paperwork.  The SSTFI Officials will not care -- in the event that a student would earn a trip to the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair the Adult Sponsor that has signed the paperwork will be the person named to attend with the student (however this can be changed).

The SSTFI allows teams to have up to 3 members, can Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair teams be teams of 3?

NO.  The National FFA Agriscience Rules only allow teams of 2.  Since we will be advancing projects to this level team projects wanting to participate in the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair will only be allowed 2 team members.