Science and Engineering Fair Finalists Head to Indianapolis

March 5, 2020 – Valparaiso, Indiana – Valparaiso University hosted the 67th annual Northwestern Indiana Science and Engineering Regional Fair on Feb. 22 in the Harre Union Ballrooms. Now, 20 student projects are moving on to compete at “The Center” (Heritage Research Group Corporation Facility) in Indianapolis on March 28.

Students in grades 6–12 from schools in the neighboring communities of Porter, Lake, La Porte, Newton, Starke, Pulaski and Jasper counties were encouraged to compete for many prestigious awards and cash prizes, including scholarships to the University.

The top winners of the fair for 2020 were:

  • Senior Division, President’s Award sponsored by Arcelor Mittal was Lauren Jeffries from Boone Grove High School presenting: “Catch the Wave.”
  • Senior Division, Most Outstanding Award by a Team was Rebecca Parks and Natalie Sulewski from Crown Point High School presenting: “Stomach Content Analysis of Salvelinus namaycush.”
  • Junior Division, First place winner in the Biological and Life Sciences Award was Jade McDonald and Morgan Smith from Kankakee Valley Middle School presenting: “Be Smart, Don’t Start.”
  • Junior Division, First place winner in the Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Computers was Luke Baczkowski from Nativity of Our Savior School presenting: “Planetary Motion Simulation.”

These top winners as well as the second, third and honorable mention winners in the senior division and junior divisions will go on to compete at the Hoosier Science and Engineering Fair on March 28 in Indianapolis at “The Center” (Heritage Research Group Corporation Facility). The top senior division winners will also qualify for a chance to compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Anaheim, California, in May.

ArcelorMittal, a sixth-year platinum title sponsor, generously donated funds to cover operating expenses and award money for the regional fair, plus travel expenses to Indianapolis for the 20 state finalists. In addition, many of their employees signed up to be volunteer judges.

“Coming to a science fair and getting positive feedback on work you’ve put in is important to keep students interested in science,” said Amanda Szentesy, a chemist who works in quality assurance with ArcelorMittal and served as a science fair judge. “If you can keep encouraging the sciences now, maybe one day they will even end up working with us and helping lead innovation.”

Several other local businesses from Northwest Indiana made significant contributions as well. These include Kuraray (MonoSol), Thermco Instrument Corporation, SENSIT Technologies, Hoosier Travel, and BuyCoolPromotions. Also, the Ford family of Westfield, Indiana, who continue to sponsor the Outstanding STEM Award and the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) Award presented by Alan R. Ford, U.S. Navy, Ret, and his son Sgt. David Ford, U.S. Air Force.

The Northwestern Indiana Science and Engineering Fair is an annual regional fair hosted by Valparaiso University. Many students, faculty and staff volunteer as judges and present science activities by Valpo students during the fair.

For a complete award listing and more information on the regional fair, please visit or contact the fair director, Robert Clark, at or fair coordinator, Marcie Guzman, at