The YSEA Science Fair Award is given to 11th grade students who present the most outstanding exhibits in Computer Science, Engineering, Physics, or Chemistry at regional high school science fairs around the world. The Award consists of the YSEA Award Medal and a formal certificate. Each winner also receives a brochure about undergraduate studies in Engineering at Yale. The list of winners is forwarded to the Yale Admissions Office. Through this award, YSEA reaches some of the world's most engaged and enthusiastic high school science teachers and students, increasing awareness of Yale University as a premier institution for science and engineering education.
YSEA is an official Regional Affiliate of the Intel® International Science and Engineering Fair® (Intel ISEF) program, coordinated by the Society for Science & the Public, a Washington, D.C. based, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization "dedicated to public engagement in scientific research and education." Intel ISEF is the world's largest international pre-college science competition, providing an annual forum for more than 1,500 high school students from about 70 countries, regions, and territories to showcase their independent research as they compete for over $3 million in prizes and scholarships each year.
The YSEA Award initiative was conceived and crystallized by members of the YSEA Board in 1989, building on a seed idea from Elona Vaisnys '66 Ph.D., editor and webmaster for Yale Engineering. Steven Lasewicz '60E developed the project and grew it as the Coordinator for the YSEA Awards until 2000, at which time he passed the baton to Elie K. Track '88 PhD. Dr. Track streamlined the process by introducing web-based submissions and worked at expanding alumni participation and broadened the program to include international participation. Beginning in 2009, Prof. Ralph France '97 PhD took over the reins with the important goal of significantly increasing alumni participation. Lasewicz and Track continue to maintain a keen interest in the initiative they nurtured into the major project of the YSEA, and together with France, they intend eventually to make the YSEA Award one of the coveted awards at the annual International Science and Engineering Fair, where outstanding high school students from the U.S. and other countries compete for top laurels for scientific and engineering insight and ingenuity.