Students welcome return of engineering and science fair
by Margaret Hurlbert
April 15, 2022

MUSCATINE, Iowa–For over half a century, the Muscatine chapter of the Iowa Engineering Society has hosted an Engineering and Science Fair for students in Muscatine and surrounding cities. A high point in many kid’s school careers, current Science Fair Chair Ben Niedergeses has fond memories of entering his own projects in the fair as a child. In 2020 and 2021, organizers opted not to hold fairs due to the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, they felt comfortable bringing students together once more to show off their scientific learning April 8.

As in recent years, students in fifth through eighth grade could enter projects in the science fair either individually or as a pair. This year, approximately 200 students, including students from Muscatine Community School District and Saints Mary and Mathias Catholic School, as well as home schooled students, entered 150 different projects.

Students in each category have the opportunity to receive a cash prize if they place in the top three. In the first round, judges split up and made sure one judge talked to each student or pair about their project, learning more about what they did and challenging them to justify their conclusions. The judges then conferred and decide which projects they thought should move on to the final round of judging. Students who made it to this level then talked with the full panel of judges before the judges named the top five projects in each category. Bayer and Muscatine Power and Water also gave out their own awards for projects that met special criteria.

The following students won in each category:

Fifth grade independent physical science:

  1. Henry Hagerty
  2.  Henry Engelkemier
  3.  Garrett Kraushaar

Fifth grade independent biological science:

  1. Nate Persaud
  2. Quinn McLeod
  3. Noah Morrison

All fifth grade pairs:

  1. Kaylin Paul and Emersen Franke
  2. Janelle Lopez and Nevaeh Aguirre
  3. Elise Solomon and Hadley Hoops

All sixth grade individuals:

  • Josh O’Connor
  • Emery Anderson
  • Peyton Jansen

All sixth grade pairs:

  1. Eva Kurriger and Violet Poci
  2. Aiden Bullock and Drake Reichett
  3. Natalie Reesink and Essie Stover

Seventh and eighth grade individual physical science:

  1. Mohit Wani
  2. Aryan Singh
  3. Preston Bullock

Seventh and eighth grade individual biological science:

  1. Trinity Warnstaff
  2. Madyson Wyatt
  3. Nadiya Lopez

Seventh and eighth grade paired physical science:

  1. Cerinity Stover and Olyvia Reyes
  2. Cooper McLeod and Mireya Torres
  3. Camila Pereznegron and Chloe Paulsen

Seventh and eighth grade paired biological science:

  1. Claire Schumaker and McKenna Schumaker
  2. Olivia Brown and Marissa Eads
  3. Monica Ahluwalia and Rami Kammenti

Bayer awards:

  1. Kaylin Paul and Emerson Franke
  2. Kyndel Allen and Nico Bloom
  3. Nadiya Lopez

Muscatine Power and Water Energy Efficiency Awards:

  1. Preston Bullock
  2. Lexi Lui
  3. Kyndel Allen and Nico Bloom

Since taking up the role of science fair chair, Niedergeses has valued the chance to give students an open ended opportunity to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics concepts (or STEM), to learn how to justify their arguments, and, as he put it, “exercise their mental muscles and get broadly challenged.”

Niedergeses felt pleased that the fair could resume this year and keep its fine tradition of helping students grow academically. “I’m really glad we could bring it back and keep it going,” he said.

In January of 2023, Niedergeses will begin distributing materials about the next science fair, and he encourages any students intrigued by it to sign up.

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