Janice Zhang and Austin West Earn Highest Honors at 23(rd) Annual ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair

More Than $50,000 in Scholarships, 210 Awards Presented to Top Competitors as Three-Day State Science Competition Concludes

Mar 30, 2009 - 02:00 PM EDT



Public Company Information:


SAN ANTONIO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Janice Zhang and Austin West received Best in Fair awards today at the 2009 ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair. Zhang and West’s projects were selected from among more than 1,100 as the best in the state, in the senior and junior division respectively. The 23rd annual competition, which concluded with today’s awards ceremony, began on March 27.

During the awards, more than $50,000 in scholarships were presented to outstanding competitors. Students competed in two divisions – junior (grades six through eight) and senior (grades nine through 12) – and each project was assigned to one of the fair’s 19 categories. Awards were given to first through fourth place winners in each category, and Grand Prize and Best in Fair projects in each division. Senior division Grand Prize winners, including Zhang, received all-expense paid trips to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) May 10-15 in Reno, Nev. The top 10 percent of competitors in the junior division qualified to participate in the Discovery Channel Young Scientists Challenge.

“The ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair brings together some of the best and brightest young minds in the state and we are proud to sponsor it each year,” said Truman Bell, senior program officer for education and diversity, ExxonMobil Foundation. “This competition provides students with a forum in which to sharpen the research and critical thinking skills that are vital to their academic success. Whether they become professors, scientists or engineers, these young people will find solutions for the challenges we will face in the future, and we are excited to support them on their path to those goals.”

For the ninth consecutive year, ExxonMobil served as the title sponsor of the state-level competition, which is hosted by The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and the Texas Science Careers Consortium. ExxonMobil’s grant of $75,000 supported not only the fair, but also a diversity recruitment initiative, which aids qualifying minority students with project and travel expenses that might otherwise prevent them from competing.

“We are proud to host this competition once again and we’re thankful to ExxonMobil for their ongoing support of math and science education,” said Dr. Stuart Birnbaum, associate professor, UTSA and executive director of the ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair. “Each student who participated this year put forth a great deal of effort and ingenuity and that hard work is apparent in the quality of projects that were presented here. Congratulations to this year’s winners and we look forward to seeing the innovative projects our competitors will bring to the fair next year.”

Students qualified for the state fair by placing first, second or third in one of 13 regional fairs throughout Texas. Each regional fair is sanctioned by Science Service, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the understanding and appreciation of science among people of all ages.

Special awards were presented to projects in both divisions by nonprofit and professional organizations, including: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Society of Professional Engineers, Northrop Grumman, Society of American Military Engineers, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Surgeon General, and the U.S. Water Environment Federation.

Additional information on the 2009 ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair can be found at www.emtsef.org.

About ExxonMobil Foundation

ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of the Exxon Mobil Corporation in the United States. The Foundation and the Corporation engage in a range of philanthropic activities that advance education, health and science in the communities where ExxonMobil has significant operations. In the United States, ExxonMobil supports initiatives to improve math and science education at the K-12 and higher education levels.

Globally, ExxonMobil provides funding to improve basic education and combat malaria and other infectious diseases in developing countries. In 2008, together with its employees and retirees, Exxon Mobil Corporation, its divisions and affiliates, and ExxonMobil Foundation provided $225 million in contributions worldwide, of which more than $89 million was dedicated to education. Additional information on ExxonMobil’s community partnerships and contributions programs is available at www.exxonmobil.com/community.


For ExxonMobil Foundation
Leah Johnson or Caroline Horner, 214-373-1601