The 2017 Northern South Dakota Science and Mathematics Fair showcases student research

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Aberdeen, S.D. — Students from across northern South Dakota gathered in Aberdeen, South Dakota Thursday, March 23, 2017 to showcase their student research projects in the 34th Annual Northern South Dakota Science and Mathematics (NSDSMF) hosted by Northern State University.

A science fair research project is a capstone learning activity that helps students understand and apply the scientific method, develop their problem-solving skills and serve as the basis for exploring science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. The fair showcased research projects from more than 230 students in grades 6-12.

The NSDSMF also included 48 volunteer judges to evaluate 191 research projects in 10 categories ranging from biology, chemistry and physics to health and medicine. Individual student research project award winners were Daniel Orr, a 10th grade student from Northwestern High School and 11th grade student Jake Flakus from Aberdeen Central High School. Hamza Jamal and John Prosper, 12th grade students from Aberdeen Central High School were the overall team research project award winners. Each of the students will advance on to represent South Dakota and compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Intel ISEF is held in Los Angeles, California May 14-19, 2017. It hosts approximately 1,800 students from more than 75 countries, bringing together the top young scientific minds to showcase their research on an international stage. Student participants will present their independent research projects and compete for approximately $4 million in prizes.

Alexis Rahm, an 8th grade student from Northwestern High School was selected for her exemplary student research project to receive the South Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (SD EPSCoR) observer award. Rahm and her teacher, Tamra Haven, will receive an all-expense-paid trip from SD EPSCoR to attend Intel ISEF as an observer. Addison Sparling, an 11th grade student from Northewestern High School was also a recipient an Intel ISEF observer award sponsored by NSDSMF.

SD EPSCoR in partnership with Fisher Science Education also presented the High School Science Lab Makeover award to Sisseton High School, a $5,500 award to be used towards the purchase of equipment, technology and research supplies for the classroom. Schools also competed in the SD EPSCoR and Fisher Science Education School Challenge Competition in which schools whose top three scoring student research projects have the highest mean scores receive award money toward the purchase of STEM classroom equipment and supplies. School Challenge competition winners at the NSDSMF were:

  • Waubay School – 1st place ($1,100)
  • Northwestern High School – 2nd place ($800)
  • Aberdeen Central High School – 3rd place ($525)

SD EPSCoR is focused on building the human infrastructure that is necessary to drive South Dakota’s STEM-based economic development. A primary vehicle for providing these experiences is strengthening the state’s regional science fair programs. The U.S. Department of Education’s recently released STEM 2026 Vision report reinforces the SD EPSCoR vision to foster growth in science and technology and drive innovation by making investments in research-based, hands-on STEM experiences in K-12 classrooms.

SD EPSCoR promotes and supports educators, research faculty and programs in STEM with a mission to increase South Dakota’s science and technology research capacity, provide educational opportunities for all students and promote science-based economic development for South Dakota. SD EPSCoR is supported by the National Science Foundation/EPSCoR Award IIA-1355423 and by the State of South Dakota.

NSDSMF Photos
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