Science and Engineering Fair Finalists Head to Indianapolis

20160319-CML-Katelyn-Marak-and-NWISEF-Fair-008Valparaiso University hosted the 63rd annual Northwestern Indiana Science and Engineering Regional Fair on March 19 in the Harre Union Ballroom. Now, 18 student finalists are moving on to compete at IUPUI in Indianapolis on April 2.

There were 85 students showing 62 projects in grades 6 – 12 from schools in Porter, LaPorte, Starke, Jasper, Pulaski and Newton counties who participated and competed for many prestigious awards and cash prizes, including scholarships to the University.

The top winners of the fair for 2016 were:

  • Linnaea Awdey from Boone Grove High School presenting: “Comparison of Environmental Sustainable Biomaterials”
  • Keegan Jones and Denver Smith from Kankakee Valley High School presenting: “Lead vs. Steel”
  • Grant Wyness from Barker Middle School presenting: “Ice Ice Baby”
  • Elias Sewell from Saint Paul Catholic School presenting: “Does the Concentration of Fertilizer Affect Grass Growth?”

These top winners as well as the second and third place winners in the senior division, and the second place winners in the junior division, will go on to compete at the Hoosier Science and Engineering Fair on April 2 in Indianapolis at the IUPUI campus. The top senior division winners will also qualify for a chance to compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Ariz. in May.

ArcelorMittal, a second-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 18 State finalists.

In addition, 15 of their employees signed up to be volunteer judges. Several other local businesses made significant contributions as well. These include Dwyer Instruments, AMT Computers, and Thermco Instrument Corporation, all located in Valparaiso. Also, the Ford family of Westfield, Indiana who continue to sponsor the David W. Ford Outstanding STEM Award, presented by Alan R. Ford, U.S. Navy, Ret.

The Northwestern Indiana Science and Engineering Fair is an annual Regional fair hosted by Valparaiso University. Many faculty, staff, and students volunteer as judges and present special campus tours of the science, engineering, and technology buildings during the fair.

For a complete award listing and more information on the Regional fair, please visit or contact the fair director, Laura Spickard at