State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa Announces 2024 Winners

Innovative youth across Iowa earn thousands of dollars in prizes, awards and scholarships

April 24, 2024, 2:59 pm | Sydney Peterson, Alexa Groff

AMES, Iowa – Coming from across the state, 611 junior and senior high school students competed for prizes, awards and scholarships during the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa on April 4-5.

Students exhibiting over 450 projects from over 70 schools competed for prizes, awards and scholarships valued at more than $130,000. Winners are now listed on the SSTFI awards webpage.

Winston Fan of Iowa City West High School.The largest STEM competition for youth in grades 6-12 addresses the Next Generation Science Standards’ call for students to create scientific research using science and engineering practices. According to the National Research Council, the Next Generation Science Standards include critical thinking and communication skills, which are important for postsecondary success.

“We are extremely proud of the students who participated and the scientific research conducted,” said Alexa Groff, Iowa 4-H STEM educational specialist and director of SSTFI. “We had 27 new schools participate this year and are excited to see the fair continue to grow in years to come.”

In celebration of the 67th year, more than $200,000 in scholarships and prizes were awarded, including scholarships from each Iowa Regent school. The top overall winners will attend the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, California, May 11-17.

Senior high scholarships and awards

Top scholarships and awards for senior high were granted, including the following:

Grand Champion – Winston Fan of Iowa City West High School for his project, “Detecting and Quantifying Emotional Loneliness Risk in the Digital Age:  An Innovative Lexicon-based Text Analysis Method Combining Deep Learning and Rule-Based Classification.” [Winston Fan PHOTO]

Champion – Shanza Sami of Iowa City West High School for her project, “Pura Aerem: Computational Analysis and Prototype Optimization of a Novel Multi-stage Extension Designed to Reduce PM10, CO2, CO Exiting TWC-OC Catalytic Converters.” [Shanza Sami PHOTO]

Reserve Champion – Benjamin Lothamer of Mid-Prairie Homeschool Assistance Program for his project, “Research and Development of an Open-source Myo-electric Robotic Upper Limb Prosthesis Using Additive Manufacturing.” [Benjamin Lothamer PHOTO]

Grand Honorable Mentions

  • Ananya Balaji and Avyay Balaji of Ames High School for their project, “A mechanistic analysis of intraneuronal amyloid beta aggregation caused by cellular dysfunction and oxidative stress in Alzheimer’s.” [Ananya Balaji and Avyay Balaji PHOTO]
  • Ritvik Gupta of Johnston High School for his project, “ViGAR – Viral Genome Annotation with Recurrent Neural Networks.” [Ritvik Gupta PHOTO]
  • Amal Eltayib of Iowa City High School for her project, “DVL Inhibits YAP1 Bypass Mechanism of KRAS Inactivation.” [Amal Eltayib PHOTO]

Junior high scholarships and awards

Top scholarships and awards for junior high were granted, including the following:

Grand Champion – Gabriel Thompson of Ames Middle School for his project, “Pultrusion Conclusion.” [Gabriel Thompson PHOTO]

Champion – Caedon Newton of Central Lee Middle School for his project, “Pitch Prediction in MLB Baseball:  An Analysis Using Python and Machine Learning.” [Caedon Newton PHOTO]

Reserve Champion – Brynn Burlage and Brock Burlage of Beckman Catholic Middle School for their project, “Misclassification Rates for Human Perception of AI Generated Images.” [Brynn Burlage and Brock Burlage PHOTO]

Grand Honorable Mentions

  • Arabella McDowell of Central Lee Middle School for her project, “Does Exercise Affect Lamb Growth? Phase 2.” [Arabella McDowell PHOTO]
  • Caleb Schwartz and Jack Brink of Sheldon Middle School for their project, “Jack and Caleb And the Beanstalk.” [Caleb Schwartz and Jack Brink PHOTO]
  • Asher Reuel of Ames Middle School for his project, “How Nozzle Geometry Affects the Thrust of Electric Ducted Fans (EDFs).” [Asher Reuel PHOTO]

Other special awards

Other special awards for senior high youth were granted, including the following:

Iowa Space Grant Consortium Scholarship – Matthew Bedell of Iowa City West High School for his project, “Variable Charged TEMPO+ Concentrations for Use in Nonaqueous Redox Flow Batteries: A Spectro Electrochemical Study.”

Loras College Full-Tuition Scholarship – Sabrina Du of Iowa City West High School for her project, “The Impact of Adenylate Cyclase 3 Loss in SF1 Neurons on Obesity.”

Six-year Dedication to Science Award

  • Emerson Waltz – Algona.
  • Lara Canida – Central Lee.
  • William Potratz – Keokuk.
  • Jonathan Bryant – Keokuk.
  • Clark Spencer – Stanton.
  • Taylor Ommen – West Central Valley.

Seven-year Excellence in Science Award

  • Hoyt Crouch – Algona.
  • Mercedes Kirchner – Central Lee.
  • Sidney Gruntmeir – Central Lee.

Claison Clay Groff Traveling Memorial Trophy

  • Senior High: Beckman Catholic High School.
  • Junior High: Central Lee Middle School.

For more information on the SSTFI, please visit https://sstfi.org/ or contact your ISU Extension and Outreach county office.

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