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ELKO – Young artists and photographers took their place alongside budding scientists, engineers, and tech and math wizards and scientists as the poster contest winners were revealed on the first day of public viewing for the 37th annual Elko County STEM Fair.

Inspired by the multiple themes of the fair, the five winners visualized them in a unique way that garnered them a $25 cash prize from Friends of the STEM Fair and custom matting and framing of their work by Picture This! of Elko.

For the second year in a row, Maura Sweeney and Sophie Taylor, students at Spring Creek High School, took first place in their categories. Sweeney won for her colored pencil and watercolor of the earth surrounded by symbols representing STEM; and Taylor for her digitally enhanced photo of a succulent plant.

“I really wanted to have something that encompassed all areas of STEM, and really just represent everything in it,” Sweeney said of her artwork.

Houseplants sparked Taylor’s idea for her poster that took “a lot [of time] to edit it and get it finalized.”

“I took some pictures of our plants and I thought it would look nice if I worked on it a little more,” Taylor said.

Seventh-grader Zoe Lopez, a student at the Elko Institute of Academic Achievement, chose to use icons that represented the four words in the acronym.

“I thought the ‘S’ [would be] in a beaker for science; the computer [is to] label technology; and for engineering, I thought, why not use a clock,” Lopez explained. For the last letter, she made the connection to one of history’s earliest mathematicians: Leonardo da Vinci.

“I thought it would be really cool to [use his] mathematical sign,” Lopez said.

When Southside Elementary third-grader Cade Ames put his mind to designing a poster for the contest, he said he came up with one thing in common with all four elements.

“[STEM] inspired me to draw robots,” Ames said. “Robots represent science because scientists used them because it was too dangerous to send humans out to do things.”

Robots, which are made up of motors and oil, represent technology, he said. They also “inspired engineering because it took work to build them; and mathematics because scientists had to use mathematics to create the perfect form for them,” Ames explained.

Kayla Snider, a sixth-grader at Flag View Intermediate, said she loves chemistry and art and she wanted to do something fun for her poster.

“I like cartoons,” Snider said. “Instead of drawing a normal scientist, I wanted to make it more fun with a mad scientist for chemistry … and be more colorful.”

The winners were announced on March 13 and were selected from entrants in five categories: kindergarten through third grade; fourth through sixth grade; seventh and eighth grade; high school and high school digital.

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Courts, K-12 schools & Spring Creek reporter

Staff writer for the Elko Daily Free Press

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