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ELKO – Traditional science fair projects are being joined by technical, engineering and math poster boards at this year’s renamed Elko County STEM Fair.

A group of more than 20 teachers and staff from schools in the Elko County School District set up approximately 600 STEM project boards throughout the Elko Convention Center Monday in preparation for judging which takes place March 12 and 13.

Winners are announced March 14, with public viewing available 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday.

The name change reflects the impact of STEM-related classes and clubs at schools and includes more categories for students to enter.

The Elko County Science Fair was established in 1983. According to the fair’s website, winners over the years have gone on to careers in medicine, pharmacy and higher education, with one former grand prize winner accepted to NASA.

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade in the district, along with homeschoolers and those from the Elko Institute for Academic Achievement and Spring Creek Christian Academy, are participating in this year’s fair.

Organizer Sandi Braunstadter said the amount of exhibits increased by about 200 this year because of the additional options.

“This is the first year for the extra categories,” said Braunstadter, science teacher at Spring Creek Middle School. “There are quite a few technical and engineering projects and a few math ones.”

Braunstadter and Mountain View Elementary third-grade teacher Jennifer Andersen organized this year’s event.

Each school has a site fair that narrows down the amount of entries per school, allowing the winners to move forward to the district-wide fair, which reduces the amount of projects displayed at the Convention Center.

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High school student projects are eligible for the grand prize, which is a chance to compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair this summer in Pittsburg.

Winners of the poster contest and the STEM fair from kindergarten through eighth grade will receive cash prizes, special awards, ribbons and certificates.

Awards are presented at the Convention Center 5:30-6:30 p.m. March 15.

Braunstadter, Andersen and the STEM Fair committee wished to thank the multiple donors who made the first year of the fair possible with prize donations and other support:

April and Dirk Danninger; Assemblyman John Ellison; Barrick Gold of North America; Canyon Construction Co.;Carlin Trend Mining Services; Copenhaver and McConnell, P.C.; Darla Lipparelli; Dr. David Hogle and Janice King; Eide Bailly LLP; Elko County School District; ECSD Administration Association; Elko Federal Credit Union; Elko Glass Service; Elko Tool and Fasteners; Epiroc USA LLC; Family Dental Care; Gallagher Ford; Glaser Land and Livestock; Great Basin Pathology; Hughes, Collins, Braunstadter Families; Jess and Denise Lopategui; Julian Tomera Ranches-Stonehouse Div.; Linkan Engineering; Louise Basanez; Maggie Creek Ranch LP; McIntyre Ranch; Nevada Bank and Trust; Newmont Mining Corp.; Picture This!;Pilot Gold; Pizza Barn; Rand Ranch; Read & Powell LLP CPAs; Richard and Lisa Perry; Ruby Mountain Sand and Gravel; SC Ruby Mountain Lion’s Club; Spring Creek Volunteer Fire Dept.; Stephen C. Price, DDS Ltd.; Susan Tomera-Stonehouse Ranch; and Wells Rural Electric.

For more information, visit the STEM Fair website www.escdnv.net.

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Courts, schools & Spring Creek reporter

Staff writer for the Elko Daily Free Press

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