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The Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair, Inc. (MSSEF) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization that was founded in 1949 by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a small group of spirited science educators. For more than six decades, MSSEF programs have advanced science literacy and inspired new generations of science and engineering leaders. Nearly 29,000 students have participated in Massachusetts statewide fairs, and many thousands more have been part of the state fair pipeline: regional and school-based fairs across the Commonwealth.

Leading the Science Education Agenda

MSSEF has been promoting inquiry-based learning in science for over a half-century. The MSSEF programs engage sustained student interest, increasing science literacy while also developing students’ 21st century workplace skills, such as communication, teamwork and a strong work ethic. MSSEF’s five-year strategic outreach plan, the "Curious Minds Initiative" (CMI), aims to engage every Massachusetts school district in inquiry-based learning, providing science teachers with the tools, expertise and resources needed to implement project-based learning and school-based fairs

Life Skills for All Students – Embracing Diversity

Science fair involvement requires a broad range of essential life and career skills: reading, writing, math, critical thinking, ethics, communication and graphic arts. Students must use all of these skills when conducting research, analyzing data and presenting their projects to expert judges and mentors. MSSEF programs are thriving in diverse communities. Currently, 40% of students come from schools in high-needs districts, and over 50% are young women. Students entering the fair interact with highly motivated peers who share similar interests yet come from different backgrounds. For many students, the science fair is a turning point toward college, and new career and life opportunities. “The Science Fair gave me the chance to attend college,” one recent student participant wrote. Many science fair alumni refer to their MSSEF participation as “a life-forming experience” that helped to raise their level of self-expectation, improve their public speaking ability, teach them the importance of perseverance, and give them a taste and thirst for the joy of discovery.


MSSEF is most grateful to its loyal consortium of corporations, individuals, foundations, institutions of higher learning, and professional and trade organizations that underwrite our operations and special initiatives, create a nationally acclaimed Award Recognition Program, and make it possible to develop and implement STEM programs for Massachusetts youth. Simply stated, MSSEF is a small organization that is accomplishing a big mission! We succeed because of our strong partnerships, loyal sponsors and dedicated volunteers.

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