The SCOPe of Science in Greater New Orleans

Patrick Greiffenstein, M.D.

The Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair (GNOSEF) is one of the oldest high school science fairs in the nation and 2016 marked its 60th anniversary.  This past year, LSUHSC had an impressive showing with 35 LSUHSC students and faculty stepping up to serve as judges.  358 area middle and high school students presented their projects in what could be considered the “Play-offs” of scientific achievement.

Winners from each category subsequently attend the state-wide Louisiana Science and Engineering Fair held at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and this year, GNOSEF sent 64 young scientists and engineers to represent the region with hopes of bringing home the top prize in each of their categories. Ultimately, the winners at both the GNOSEF and state fair attend “The Superbowl”, the annual Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) that hosts the best and the brightest kids from around the world.

Locally each year, four area high school students and two teachers are selected by the GNOSEF for an all-expense paid trip to compete for more than $5 million in cash and prizes at the Intel ISEF, which is held in a different location each year. GNOSEF also presents a special Outstanding Sustainability Award and the recipient is automatically entered into the International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering, & Environment) Project Olympiad (ISWEEP).  At this event, over 600 young scientists and engineers from almost 70 countries display their science projects about pressing issues of energy, engineering, and the environment.  The prize comes with a scholarship to cover expenses (excluding travel) for the worthy young scientist.

The GNOSE Fair is itself an impressive undertaking, directed by Tulane University engineers Drs. Annette Oertling and Michelle Sanchez and managed by the board members of the Greater New Orleans Science Fair, Inc.  Each year, they award more than $60,000 in cash and prizes to middle school and high school students.  For the past few years it has been held at the University of New Orleans Lakefront campus and this year the number of entrants prompted the event organizers to spread it out over four full days.

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The Fair is open to any student attending middle or high school in the Greater New Orleans four-parish-area, which includes Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard Parishes, and entrants fall into two divisions: Junior Division is middle school students (6-8 grade), Senior Division is high school students (9-12 grade).

In an effort to promote participation in GNOSEF and help establish meaningful relationships between LSUHSC scientists and area students, science teachers, and schools, Dr. Patrick Greiffenstein, M.D. (Department of Surgery) formed the Scientific Community Outreach Project (SCOPe) and with the help of the LSU School of Medicine Student Government Association, they have identified LSUHSC students, graduate students, and faculty who have taken time out of their very busy schedules to get involved.

The goal of SCOPe is to identify interested scientists within LSU, define the degree of involvement they would like to commit, and then link them up with the student, teacher, or school in need of scientific mentorship.  The scientist decides if they would like to help with project ideas via email, come to a school to discuss the scientific process, work with a local teacher to develop a scientific curriculum, or directly mentor a student during the development of their project.  The nature and extent of the involvement is entirely up to the scientist.

The mission of SCOPe is to “Promote scientific inquiry, enhance the understanding of science, and expose children to the scientific process by building relationships between students and scientists.  We believe that a community that has a better understanding of science is equipped with a set of tools that extend far beyond the intended experimental application because we are a community more capable of critical analysis and intellectual discipline.  This is the basis of a true democracy.  We are not just teaching children science, we are helping them become responsible and capable citizens.”

Together with Drs. Paula Gregory and Fern Tsien of LSUHSC (see the two stories by Dr. Fern Tsien in the Top Stories section of this issue), we hope to broaden the impact of the scientific community’s presence in the Greater New Orleans area beyond the scientific community alone.

If you would like to participate in SCOPe, click on the Survey Monkey link and fill out the survey or contact Patrick Greiffenstein at for more information.

We would like to recognize the following representatives of LSUHSC who volunteered to judge at last fall’s Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair.  It is the largest involvement of LSUHSC at this event ever (35 in all) and it constitutes a significant commitment in time and effort from each, whose responsibilities range from training medical and graduate students to division chiefs.  This is an impressive and admirable show of support for the community’s future scientists and for the educational health of our region as a whole. These volunteers should be publicly commended for their efforts and interest in fulfilling this essential part of our institution’s mission. Thank you!

  • Gerald Billac
  • Alexandra Caillouet
  • Rochelle Cole
  • John Cork
  • Judy Crabtree
  • Martha Cuccia
  • Steven Eastlack
  • Elia El Hajj
  • Catherine Fitzpatrick
  • Stephen Ford, Jr.
  • Mohamed Ghonim
  • John Hunt
  • Addie Imseis
  • Minghao Jin
  • Imran Mungrue
  • Anthony Naquin
  • Van Ninh
  • Henry Nuss
  • Jacobi Owens
  • Amanda Pahng
  • Abhilash Ponnath
  • Robert Rosencrans
  • Allyson Schreiber
  • Liz Simon
  • Fern Tsien
  • Tomas Vanugunas
  • Tom Wen
  • Matthew Whim
  • Donna Williams
  • Kirsten Wood
  • Xiaming Xu
  • Farshid Yazdi
  • Alice Yeh
  • Arnold Zea