State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa Celebrates 65 Years

Students from across the state will compete for thousands of dollars in scholarship prizes

February 28, 2022, 9:01 am | Valyn Bodensteiner, Alexa Groff

State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa.AMES, Iowa – Junior and senior high-school students from across the state are gearing up to compete for prizes, awards and scholarships during the upcoming State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa on March 24-25. The event is the largest STEM competition for youth in grades 6-12 and will be hosted in person at Hilton Coliseum on the Iowa State University campus in Ames.

The research experience is core to the mission of SSTFI and allows students to gain critical scientific skills needed for postsecondary work, according to Alexa Groff, Iowa 4-H STEM coordinator and director of SSTFI. Through participation in the event, students learn about science and engineering processes, problem solving, and the importance of being able to communicate and defend those findings to others. To compete, participants are asked to prepare a research poster detailing their findings and the data collected.

Students, teachers, families and members of the public are invited to view the exhibits and ask youth researchers questions about their projects on Thursday or Friday, 1:30-3:30 p.m. A special opportunity for media to interview top winners and SSTFI organizers will take place on March 25 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Pete Taylor Media Room in Hilton Coliseum.

In addition to the exhibits, this year’s competition will see the return of youth-led educational seminars. Students will submit a paper on a STEM topic of their choice and the top eight in each category will get a chance to present to compete for cash prizes sponsored by Meta.

The 15 award categories include animal science, biochemistry, behavioral and social sciences, biomedical and health sciences, cellular and molecular biology, chemistry, computer science, earth and environmental sciences, engineering, mathematics, energy and transportation, microbiology, physics and astronomy, plant sciences, and robotics and intelligent machines.

Four VIP tickets to see astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson speak on the Cosmic Perspective April 5 will be given as a special award to a top student researcher, courtesy of the Des Moines Performing Arts.

“SSTFI is an important scientific experience for Iowa youth,” said Groff. “The skills and practice they get from participating in this event will stay with them for years to come and hopefully encourage a lifetime of curiosity and exploration in science.”

In celebration of the 65th year, more than 30 new scholarships will be awarded to winners, including scholarships from each of the regent Iowa schools. Another innovative addition to the program this year includes “Lunch with a Scientist” for all senior high youth. Students will get to ask a panel of STEM scientists about their experiences in their field and potential career options.

The State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa is organized through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development with support from generous sponsors. 2022 sponsors include:

Platinum Level

  • Alliant Energy
  • Broadcom Foundation
  • Corteva Agriscience
  • Iowa 4-H Youth Development
  • Iowa State University
  • Iowa State University College of Engineering

Gold Level

  • Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Iowa State University College of Human Sciences
  • University of Northern Iowa

Silver Level

  • Andrew and Jessica Denner
  • FFA Agricultural Education
  • Iowa State University College of Veterinary Science
  • Iowa State University Program for Women in Science and Engineering
  • NASA Iowa Space Grant Consortium
  • University of Iowa College of Public Health

Bronze Level

  • Des Moines Performing Arts
  • Ernest Schiller
  • Let’s Roam
  • Meta

For more information on the SSTFI, please visit or contact your ISU Extension and Outreach county office.


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