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Georgia Southern students host first annual Coastal Georgia Reverse Science Fair

The Association for the Advancement of Young Scientists, an organization founded by Georgia Southern University senior chemistry major Chelsea Miller, will host the first annual Coastal Georgia Reverse Science Fair on April 11 at the Southwest Chatham Library in Savannah. The reverse science fair is a research symposium for local graduate and undergraduate researchers where visiting high school students will judge their presentations.

“My organization’s overall mission is working together with our community for the benefit of the future of science,” she said. “This event is the first of its kind in the area and will offer many opportunities to the attendees and participants.”

Miller got the idea for a reverse science fair from an academic article she found while researching ways to bring high school and university researchers together. The study in the article found that 70% to 80% of the high school students who participated in the reverse science fair increased their understanding of the scientific process, including effectively communicating their projects, developing an original research question, representing data in different ways and drawing conclusions from data.

“I am passionate about getting students inspired about science by exposing them to the diverse STEM pathways,” Miller said. “Reading this paper was confirmation for me that we could provide a whole new outlet for our community to learn science.”

Miller, who has worked as a lab assistant and teacher’s assistant within the Georgia Southern Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said the faculty on the Armstrong Campus have given her many opportunities to gain experience and the skills to plan this event and spearhead a startup.  

“Working as a lab assistant allowed me to work under pressure because the students’ results relied on my work,” she said. “I had to provide work that could be trusted so the students could get results in their labs. As a teacher’s assistant, I had to learn how to consistently adjust my approach to help others understand, and many of the skills I have acquired are also applicable to organizational planning.”

The science fair will award first, second and third place prizes of $1000, $500 and $250, respectively, and the winning research group will have a feature article written about them in inChemistry magazine. There will also be free educational and professional development workshops held by the Oglethorpe Astronomical Association, Society of Women Engineers and the Foram Sustainable Aquaponics Research Center, among others.
Abstracts for the fair are due March 20.

For more information, visit To view the article that inspired the event, visit


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