SOCORRO, N.M., April 3, 2002 -- More than 500 middle school and high school scholars from throughout the state will exhibit their research projects on Saturday, April 13, at the 50th Annual New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair on the New Mexico Tech campus.

The student exhibitors will compete for more than $100,000 in awards and scholarships. Students qualify for the state competition by placing in one of the six previously held regional science and engineering fairs. Four senior division grand award winners and two alternates will be chosen at the state level to proceed to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 12 - 18.

Exhibits at the state science fair will be judged Saturday morning and early afternoon on April 13, with the display areas opening for public viewing later that evening, from 4 to 7 p.m. in the New Mexico Tech Gymnasium.

Featured speaker at the event will be NASA astronaut John M. Grunsfeld, payload commander for last month's Space Shuttle servicing mission, which upgraded the Hubble Space Telescope.

New Mexico Tech has been hosting the New Mexico Science and Engineering Fair since the science fair's inception in 1953.