District Hosts East Panhandle Regional Science and Engineering Fair

On February 8th, 2022, students from Okaloosa and Walton counties assembled at the Beachside Community Church for the 2022 East Panhandle Regional Science and Engineering Fair Awards Ceremony.

The judging portion of the science fair took place Tuesday, February 1st through Thursday, February 2nd, at the Bull Rigdon Northwest Florida Fairgrounds, and incorporated interviews for exhibitors with the professional scientists and engineers who served as Judges. The discussion of the project, suggestions, questions, and ideas, plus the opportunity for the Judges to become aware of the student’s interest in professional fields, are some of the important outcomes of the personal interviews. The judging session also exposes students to role models in the disciplines in which they are interested. Students were required to describe their projects in the vocabulary of the discipline to increase their articulation with the challenge and practice. Ideally, the student grows academically by encountering ideas from professionals.

“Completing a Science Fair project takes patience, perseverance, and lots of support, and a few tears,” said Regional Fair Director, Jennifer Cook. “A science fair project will transform the learning from the pages in a book to real-life experiments that include mountains of data. Students that participate in the Science Fair process push themselves to higher levels of thinking, investigating, and collaborating with other scientists and mentors. These students are blazing a path for future discoveries and solutions to help improve our world.”

Special thanks to the following businesses, organizations, and individuals:

  • Scientific Review Committee: Scarlett Brock - Niceville High School; Lisa Nall - Ruckel Middle School; Shelly Langshaw - Okaloosa STEMM Academy; Angela Lehtimaki - St. Mary's Catholic School; Angela Reinke - Walton Middle School; Beth Russel - Fort Walton Beach High School
  • AFRL - who provides a generous grant to support Science Fair and Science Education in Okaloosa County
  • Judges - Over 25 community judges
  • Dynamic Software Solutions - sponsored the Judge's dinner
  • Okaloosa Technical College - prepared the Judge's dinner
  • HSU Foundation - who is a sponsor of the trip to the state level fair.
  • Community organizations - and partners who provided Special Awards at approximately $1800 in cash prizes:
  • Society of American Military Engineers
  • Air Force Association Chapter 398 Hurlburt Field
  • Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
  • Emerald Coast Science Center
  • Garnier Beach Garden Club
  • Dr. John Fay
  • Northwest Florida State College - awarded a 2 year scholarship to all senior division 1st place students (not included in my calculation of prize monetary values

Congratulations to all the Science Fair Winners!

State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida

State nominations are selected based on the student’s overall points and score within the entire fair, not just their category. There may not be a first-place from each category and every first place will be a state nominee. In some categories, there may be multiple state nominees from multiple placements. The state competition will be held from March 28 – April 1 in Lakeland, FL.

Senior Division Finalists

  • Mori McCain and Elizabeth Pruitt – Rocky Bayou Christian School|
  • Annalise Thompson – Niceville High School
  • Holly Thompson – South Walton High School
  • Zoe Orange – Paxton School
  • Ronald Gurney – Niceville High School
  • Aurora Mendenhall – Niceville High School
  • Adeline Berte’ – Niceville High School

Senior Division Finalists

Junior Division Finalists

  • Caitlin Scroggs – Ruckel Middle School
  • Londyn Lewis – Ruckel Middle School
  • Colin Smith – Ruckel Middle School
  • Drew Cook – Ruckel Middle School
  • Sydney Foggo – Ruckel Middle School
  • Julianna Stearman – Ruckel Middle School
  • Sierra Neitzke – Okaloosa STEMM Academy
  • Elizabeth Teater – Ruckel Middle School
  • Zachary Ott – Ruckel Middle School
  • Kathryn Conlan – Okaloosa STEMM Academy
  • Kai Loux – Ruckel Middle School
  • Olivia Hodapp – Okaloosa STEMM Academy

Junior Division Finalists

Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair

Every year, tens of millions of students participate in science fairs around the globe but only about 1,800 high school students from 75 countries earn the right to compete for nearly $5 million in awards bestowed each May at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). This year, ISEF will be held May 7-13 in Atlanta, GA. Students will be judged by doctoral-level scientists in this exciting week of competition.

  • Annalise Thompson – Niceville High School
  • Zoe Orange – Paxton High School

International Science and Engineering Fair

Community and Civic Awards

Emerald Coast Chapter of AUVSI, presented by Ken Blackburn - Aurora Mendenhall, Niceville High School, and Natalia Gisel, Okaloosa STEMM Academy.

AUVSI

Emerald Coast Chapter of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), presented by Chris Hood.

  • Zoe Orange, Paxton High School – First Place
  • Ronald Gurney, Niceville High School – Second Place
  • Karissa Grant, Okaloosa STEMM Academy – First Place
  • Zachary Ott, Ruckel Middle School – Second Place

SAME

NASA Earth Systems Science Award – Kathryn Conlan, Okaloosa STEMM Academy

NASA Earth Systems Science Award

ASM Materials Education Foundation – Ronald Gurney, Niceville High School

ASM Materials Education Foundation

Stockholm Junior Water Prize – Jillian Toppin, Niceville High School

Stockholm Junior Water Prize

Garden Beach Garden Club – Colin Smith, Ruckel Middle School, and Zoe Orange, Paxton High School

Garden Beach Garden Club

Emerald Coast Science Center GEMS Award – designed to encourage a young woman to continue studying STEM-related subjects - Reese Armstrong, St. Mary’s Catholic School

Emerald Coast Science Center Environmental Advocate Award – designed to recognize a Junior and Senior project that demonstrates outstanding efforts in addressing issues of environmental responsibility and sustainable development.

  • Junior Award – Karissa Grant, Okaloosa STEMM Academy
  • Senior Award – Jillian Toppin, Niceville High School

Emerald Coast Science Center

E to the I Pi Equals Minus One Award for Mathematics

  • Aurora Mendenhall, Niceville High School – First Place
  • Adeline Berte’, Niceville High School – Second Place

E to the I Pi Equals Minus One Award

Drs. Alice and Louis Fay Award for Chemistry
Junior Division

  • Londyn Lewis, Ruckel Middle School – First Place
  • Colin Smith, Ruckel Middle School – Second Place
  • Liam Wenzel, Okaloosa STEMM Academy – Second Place

Senior Division

  • Tracy Vause, Niceville High School – First Place
  • Annalise Thompson, Niceville High School – Second Place

Drs. Alice and Louis Fay Award for Chemistry

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pulse of the Planet Award – emphasizes NOAA’s mission to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment - Annalise Thompson, Niceville High School

NOAA

Florida Association of Science Teachers

  • Angelina Junghaus, Ruckel Middle School – Junior Division
  • Ava Rintala and Sadie Thornton – Senior Division

Florida Association of Science Teachers

Yale Science and Engineering Association – Adeline Berte’, Niceville High School

Yale Science and Engineering Association

Lemelson Foundation – Sydney Foggo, Ruckel Middle School

Lemelson Foundation

Naval Science Award for Excellence

  • Kai Loux, Ruckel Middle School, Junior Division
  • Jillian Toppin, Niceville High School, Senior Division

Naval Science Award for Excellence

Air Force Association Chapter 398 Hurlburt Field
Junior Division

  • William Anderson, Walton Middle School – First Place
  • Zachary Ott, Ruckel Middle School – Second Place

Senior Division

  • Elizabeth Pruitt and Mori McCain – First Place
  • Aurora Mendenhall, Niceville High School – Second Place

Air Force Association Chapter 398 Hurlburt Field

US Agency for International Development (USAID) Science Champion Award – recognizes a project that has the potential to make an impact on addressing an international development challenge - Zoe Orange, Paxton High School.

USAID

Ricoh Americas Corporation – recognizes a student for outstanding efforts in addressing issues of environmental responsibility - Jillian Toppin, Niceville High School

Ricoh Americas Corporation

National Geographic’s Award “Cultivating Empathy for the Earth” -  Zoe Orange, Paxton High School

National Geographic’s Award

Northwest Florida State College Scholarships

  • Elizabeth Pruitt, Rocky Bayou Christian School
  • Mori McCain, Rocky Bayou Christian School
  • Annalise Thompson, Niceville High School
  • Holly Thompson, South Walton High School
  • Zoe Orange, Paxton High School
  • Ronald Gurney, Niceville High School
  • Aurora Mendenhall, Niceville High School
  • Adeline Berte’, Niceville High School

Broadcast MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars)

This is a national competition for 6th, 7th, 8th-grade students. Nomination of application is limited to the top 10% of participants with a total of 30 finalists. Nominees compete in team hands-on STEM challenges to demonstrate their skills in critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity.

  • Olivia Hodapp, Okaloosa STEMM Academy
  • Sydney Foggo, Ruckel Middle School
  • Caitlin Scruggs, Ruckel Middle School
  • Colin Smith, Ruckel Middle School

Broadcast MASTERS

Category Award Winners

Biomedical and Health Sciences

  • Junior Division
    • Caitlin Scroggs, Ruckel Middle School – First Place
    • Angelina Junghaus, Ruckel Middle School – Second Place
  • Senior Division
    • Mori McCain and Elizabeth Pruitt, Rocky Bayou Christian School – First Place

Biomedical and Health Sciences

Cellular Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

  • Senior Division
    • Ava Rintala and Sadie Thornton, South Walton High School – Second Place

Cellular Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Chemistry

  • Junior Division
    • Colin Smith, Ruckel Middle School – First Place
    • London Lewis, Ruckel Middle School – Second Place
    • Liam Wenzel, Okaloosa STEMM Academy – Third Place
  • Senior Division
    • Annalise Thompson, Niceville High School – First Place
    • Tracy Vause, Niceville High School – Second Place

Chemistry

Earth and Environmental Sciences

  • Junior Division
    • Sydney Foggo, Ruckel Middle School – First Place
    • Andrew Cook, Ruckel Middle School – Second Place
    • Wyatt Rolison, Ruckel Middle School – Third Place
  • Senior Division
    • Holly Thompson, South Walton High School – First Place
    • Jillian Toppin, Niceville High School – Second Place

Earth and Environmental Sciences

Engineering

  • Junior Division
    • Zachary Ott, Ruckel Middle School – First Place
    • William Anderson, Walton Middle School – Second Place
  • Senior Division
    • Ronald Gurney, Niceville High School – First Place
    • Jessica Hankinson, South Walton High School – Second Place

Engineering

Environmental Engineering

  • Junior Division
    • Elizabeth Teater, Ruckel Middle School – First Place
    • Sierra Neitzke, Okaloosa STEMM Academy – Second Place
    • Karissa Grant, Okaloosa STEMM Academy – Third Place
  • Senior Division
    • Zoe Orange, Paxton High School – First Place

Environmental Engineering

Intelligent Machines, Robotics, and Systems Software

  • Senior Division
    • Aurora Mendenhall, Niceville High School – First Place

Intelligent Machines, Robotics, and Systems Software

Microbiology

  • Junior Division
    • Kathryn Conlan, Okaloosa STEMM Academy – First Place
    • Sophia Lucero, Okaloosa STEMM Academy – Second Place

Microbiology

Physics and Astronomy

  • Junior Division
    • Kai Loux, Ruckel Middle School – First Place
    • Reese Armstrong, St. Mary Catholic School – Second Place
    • Natalia Gisel, Okaloosa STEMM Academy – Third Place
  • Senior Division
    • Adeline Berte’, Niceville High School – First Place

Physics and Astronomy

Plant Sciences

  • Junior Division
    • Olivia Hodapp, Okaloosa STEMM Academy – First Place
    • Jezlyn Nelson, Ruckel Middle School – Second Place

Plant Sciences