State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa announces 2023 winners

ISU Extension

452 junior and senior high-school students from across the state competed for prizes, awards and scholarships during the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa on March 30-31.

Students exhibiting more than 350 projects from over 50 schools competed for prizes, awards and scholarships valued at more than $125,000. Winners are now listed on the website’s awards page.

The largest STEM competition for youth in grades 6-12 addresses the Next Generation Science Standards’ call for students to create scientific research using science and engineering practices. According to the National Research Council, the Next Generation Science Standards include critical thinking and communication skills, which are important for postsecondary success.

“We are extremely proud of the students who participated and the scientific research conducted,” said Alexa Groff, Iowa 4-H STEM educational specialist and director of SSTFI. “We had 12 new schools participate this year and are excited to see the fair continue to grow in years to come.”

In celebration of the 66th year, more than $70,000 in new scholarships were awarded, including scholarships from each Iowa Regent school. The top overall winners will attend the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in Dallas, Texas, May 13-19.

Shanza Sami of Iowa City West High School - Senior High Grand Champion Winner

Top scholarships and awards for senior high were granted, including the following.

Grand Champion

  • Shanza Sami of Iowa City West High School for her project, “Pura Aerem: A Five-Stage Extension to Catalytic Converters Designed to Purify the Gasses and Pollutants Exiting Gas-Powered Vehicles.”


  • Everlee Harvey of Central Lee High School for her project, “The Effect of Synchronization Hormones on Reproductive Ewes.” 

Reserve Champion

  • Andrew Salrin of Beckman Catholic High School for his project, “Ventilation Prototype Utilizing Additive Manufacturing and Ionic Thrust Phase II.”

Grand Honorable Mention

  • Michael Lee of Iowa City West High School for his project, “Determining Fat Preference for Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells.” 

Iowa Space Grant Consortium Scholarship

  • Yessenia Alvarez Zamora of Marshalltown High School for her project, “Choose Wisely: How One Decision Can Make a Difference in Feeding the World.”

Six-year Dedication to Science Award

  • Mercedes Kirchner – Central Lee
  • Alina Markutsya – Ames
  • Sidney Gruntmeir – Central Lee
  • Jordan Vorwaldt – Central Lee
  • Olivia Rule – Central Lee
  • Hoyt Crouch – Algona
  • Emily Barnhart – Central Lee

Seven-year Excellence in Science Award

  • Paisley Grafton – Central Lee
  • Jacob Hohl – Central Lee

Claison Clay Groff Traveling Memorial Trophy

  • Senior High: Beckman Catholic High School
  • Junior High: Central Lee Middle School

For more information on the SSTFI, please visit or contact your county ISU Extension and Outreach office.