Address: 835 West Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY 13204

E-mail:     Phone: (315) 422-2902

E-mail the Fair Director



Mon-Fri 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Weekends by appointment only!


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What do mentors do?
What do I need for the task?    

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Your primary responsibility is the safety of every student you are mentoring and the subjects of their research.

Science fairs want the students and subjects to be safe, so systems and paperwork are in place to document appropriate adult supervision for every project.

You need to review:

  1. the guidelines for the Research / Engineering Design (RED) projects in the TNRSEF PDF;
  2. Scientific Review Committee guidelines and paperwork LINK
  3. the IISEF wizard will help your student identify the forms require for his/her project LINK;
  4. TNRSEF schedule and deadlines.

If you do not have access to an SRC or IRB at a local institution, and the local science fair or school has not formed their own, contact the TNRSEF’s SRC with any questions you have BEFORE your student begins actual experimentation!

There are important signatures required on the SRC paperwork, including your own. The most common mistake is to enter dates that reflect when the person put pen to paper. THE DATES REFER TO WHEN THE SPECIFIC EVENT ACTUALLY HAPPENED! For example, the date you and the student first started discussing the project, the date a parent was notified that the student was doing a science fair project, the date needed training was completed. No one cares what day you signed the piece of paper. SRC members want to know if the student actually received the necessary training and guidance to conduct the research safely. Thus, you report those actual dates. (The dates should be readily available from the student’s lab notebook in which s/he is recording all meetings, trainings, etc.)

Submit completed forms to your school’s Scientific Review Committee (SRC), the sponsoring company’s or college’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), or the TNRSEF SRC. If you must use the TNRSEF SRC, you will scan your completed paperwork to create a single PDF and email the file to the TNRSEF.



  1. TNRSEF Senior Research / Engineering Design Guide and Checklist PDF
  2. Use the ISEF Wizard to identify the paperwork that is required AND REVIEW IT WITH YOUR MENTOR, TEACHER OR PARENT!
  3. Interactive ISEF SRC Forms LINK
  4. Overview of SRC forms (the what and why of each) LINK
  5. 2017-18 Rules and Guidelines LINK

After a project has received SRC or IRB approval, the student submits any changes to the research plan for approval as well. This must be done immediately.

Ideally, no experimentation begins until an SRC or IRB notifies the student of project approval. This is particularly true with living subjects, certain chemicals, for example. Contact the TNRSEF immediately concerning already-completed projects.

Additional Resources:

If you have questions, email the Science Fair Director.

If you’d like to learn more about science fairs, check out these sites:
Science Buddies
Our current TerraFairs video

Learn more about what it means to partcipate in a science fair! Watch Science Fairs: A Piece of the Puzzle or click here!

Guides to online registration:    Student PDF   
Note: "Teacher" can mean parent or mentor, especially for homeschoolers and students participating through 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs, and such. 
Your student can put your organization in via "Other" and go on from there.

Interested in the awards available this year? Check out this list >>> PDF