Iowa Students Attend Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

AMES, Iowa – Seven students from Iowa attended the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and two received awards at the May 12-17 event in Phoenix, Ariz. Intel ISEF is part of Society for Science and the Public, a nonprofit organization dedicated to science education and research.

Intel ISEF is the world’s largest high school science research competition, with more than 1,500 high school students from more than 70 different countries showcasing their projects. Iowa students Rachel Kim, Sarah Kunch, Abigail Walling, Quinn Groff, Brice Plein, Nick Whitcomb and Lydia Heald attended the competition. Walling and Heald received awards.

Jay Staker, a program specialist for 4-H Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, also attended the Intel ISEF. He explained that to be eligible to attend the Intel ISEF, students must qualify by being named finalists at the State Science and Technology Fair at Iowa State University or regional science fairs. Each fair has an allotment of students that can be sent to the Intel ISEF. The Intel ISEF gives students the opportunity to present their projects, submit them for judging by scientists, and meet other students from around the nation and the world with similar aspirations in science and technology.

Science, technology, engineering and math education has long been a part of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and Iowa 4-H. ISU Extension and Outreach sponsors the State Science and Technology Fair every year, giving students the ability to showcase their projects, and the possibility of competing at the Intel ISEF. “We are working hard to increase the career and academic aspirations in the field of science, engineering, technology and math,” said Staker. “We are committed to providing STEM education for the young people of Iowa.”

In Phoenix, two Iowa students won awards for their projects showcased at the Intel ISEF. Abigail Walling, 16, was awarded $250 from the Patent and Trademark Office Society and received $500 for a fourth place award in the Microbiology category. Walling is an Iowa City native. Lydia Heald, a 17-year-old from Keosauqua, was awarded a full tuition scholarship to Drexel University for her project. “The whole experience was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had,” said Heald. “The Intel ISEF brings together all aspects of STEM, which I think is a very important part of our education.”