History of …


First Western Zone Science Congress
Held at the Buffalo Museum of Science and hosted by the Junior Hobby Club, Buffalo Museum of Science Congress limited to members of Hobby Club
The Purpose of Western New York Science Congress, Inc (1939)
To enable science students and science teachers of Western New York schools to see what is being accomplished in school and out in the various sciences, through projects and lecture demonstrations. 

  • To encourage science students in the development of science interests and hobbies.
  • To offer an opportunity for public recognition of science talented youth.
  • To encourage further work in the field of science in college and industry.
1940 2nd Congress
1st Buffalo Salon of Photography (Photograph contest attached to Congress) First Lunch Menu: (“Plate Lunch 25¢, milk, ice cream, etc. 5¢ each. Sandwiches and soup, 10¢ each. Pie 7¢”)
1942 4th Congress
First Radio broadcast interviews on WGR 55 AM and WBEN 930 AM
1943-46 Congress suspended because of W.W.II
1947 5th Congress
Invitations extended to those who are not members of the Science Clubs of America Monetary awards, certificates, plaques, and trophies given as prizes
1948 6th Congress
Grand Prize: Merchandise certificate ($5.00)
1949 7th Congress
First ever televised presentations by WBEN TV
Post cards used to confirm acceptance of entry of Lecture-Demonstrations
1952 10th Congress
1st MOTOR building Contest sponsored by Westinghouse Electric Co.
1st POSTER CONTEST started
1958 16th Congress
Visitors time they can view projects limited
Lecture-Demonstrations no fee, individual exhibits 25¢ ea., group exhibits 50¢
1963 21st Congress
Divisions changed from Senior and Junior to Senior, Intermediate, and Junior
1988 46th Congress
Congress begins modernization
1989 47th Congress
Start of Incorporation procedures and Constitution
1990 48th Congress
Beginning of major computerization of entries
1991 49th Congress
Incorporated as Western New York Science Congress, Inc.
Moved to Buffalo State College after 49 years at Museum of Science
1992 50th Congress
50th anniversary celebration
Fee raised to $3.00 per entry/student
Novice Division Philosophy adopted
Inauguration of Novice Division allowing 6th grade students to participate since 1950’s
1st medals given for Novice Division
1993 51st Congress
New judging procedures tested
Judges in Novice Division judge with students present
1994 52nd Congress
First time ever that 5th Grade students can compete in Congress Novice Division
Novice Division: 5th and 6th Graders
Updated Constitution adopted
New application form tested
Final adoption of Congress logo
Monetary awards increased substantially for Lecture-Demonstrations in Intermediate
and Senior Divisions. Intermediate = half of Senior Division. Teams split prize money.
Congress condensed into single Saturday competition
Divisions standardized to Novice (5/6), Intermediate (7/9), Senior (10/12)
1995 53rd Congress
Applications form refined
Teams allowed for first time since 1960’s. Size: 3 students max
New Safety Rules written and adopted. Committee formed
Creative Cover Contest revived on trial run. (Revival of Poster Contest)
Judging standards and form adopted for 1996
First time Judges judge all Divisions with students present to interact
New and established Judges view judging video
First time public viewing opened during entire Congress including judging since 1958
Novice Division Philosophy (1995)   The Novice Division is established to reintroduce the 5th and 6th Grade students into the Science Congress.We believe students at this age express a natural curiosity and spontaneity that is the essence of experimentation and discovery. We believe every student has the ability to demonstrate their knowledge of the world around them and should receive the maximum encouragement to continue exploring that world.  Students may participate as individuals or in teams of two (2) students. The number of students or teams per group shall be established at 6 with a maximum of 7.  Students shall present and explain their project to the judges. In turn, the judges shall ask questions and discuss the project with each student or the team members. Group sizes are small to allow more time for students and judges to ask questions and exchange ideas. The number of medallions awarded in each group shall be a minimum of three (3) and maintain a 50% award ratio for each Novice Group. The award categories shall be: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. All awards given shall be determined by the judges.  Beverly Hill & John-Paul Martin
1996 54th Congress
Animal usage criteria being drafted
Group size set at 2 students per Team. Lecture Demonstrators included
Safety Rules updated and new booklets printed, Committee established
Group size limit tested at 6 students per group.
Lecture-Demonstrations limited to 6 students per group no overall runoffs between
Cover Contest reintroduced as part of Congress $25.00 prize per cover
1997 55th Congress
Introduction of new Congress medals for Grades 5-12
First time Lecture-Demonstration students must mail in synopsis of project prior to Congress
Group sizes standardized. Novice (6, max 7), Intermediate & Senior (8, max 9) per group
2000 58th Congress
First website established. wnysciencecongress.org
2007 65th Congress
NEW website introduced: [wnysc.org]. Forms available on website
Student exhibit rooms closed to public during judging
2010 68th Congress
Online registration available
WNY Science Congress, Inc. enters the world of social media
Sponsors of students expanded to include After School Organizations, Boy/Girl
Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs
2013 71st WNY Regional Science and Engineering Fair (WNYRSEF)
Name of annual event changed
All entries are projects (lectures eliminated)
Names of categories changed
Divisions renamed as Gr 5-6 (Novice), Gr 7-9 (Intermediate), and Gr 10-12 (Senior)
Entry fee $7.00 per student
Online registration and abstract submission initiated
2014 72nd WNY Regional Science and Engineering Fair (WNYRSEF)
New by-laws and WNY Science Congress, Inc. Board of Directors reconfigured
Entry fee $10.oo per student
2016 74th WNY Regional Science and Engineering Fair (WNYRSEF)
Website redesign, new email address, updated logo
Commitment made to host the STANYS New York State Science Congress for the next 3  years in Buffalo
First steps taken to become an Intel ISEF affiliate

75th WNY Regional Science and Engineering Fair (Diamond Anniversary)
Became an affiliate of International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF)
Student opportunities and funding for four new advancement awards were made available by Terra Science and Education Foundation and Ying TRSEF
Judging rubric updated
Safety Checklist and Considerations updated

9th graders moved to the Senior Division to align with ISEF
Fair held at Cheektowaga Central H. S. after 26 years at Buffalo State

77th WNY Regional Science and Engineering Fair
Monetary awards increased for Grade 7-12 (Gold, Silver, Bronze) and Gr 5/6 (Gold)

Awards distribution formula changed to 33% of projects in each division for Gold/Silver/Bronze and HM to 5% of # of projects in each division Fair held at D’Youville College
2020 78th WNY Regional Science and Engineering Fair was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Virtual fair held for Divisions 7-8 and 9-12.  zFairs software used for registration in place of STEM Wizard