Hall of Fame Members


Teacher – Roger Jobst
Supporter  -- Jolene Ann Schwinger
Supporter -- Dr. Kimberly Murphy 
Past Participant & Supporter -- Carrie Gebhart 


Past Participant & Teacher – Amanda Kite
Past Participant & Teacher – Alicia Schiller
Past Participant & Teacher – Arie Schiller
Teacher - Colleen Gordon 


Past Participant & Supporter – Nikki Schneider
Supporter  -- Dr. Travis J. Frey
Supporter -- Vicki Speake 
Supporter -- Jay Staker 


 Teacher – Kevin Brasser
Supporter & Teacher -- Debbie Stalter


 Past Participant & Supporter – Heather Gutknecht
Past Participant & Supporter – Andrea Spencer
Teacher -- Kyle VanAusdall
Teacher - Nadine Weirather


 Supporter – Dr. David Schmitt
Supporter – Pella Rolscreen Foundation
Past Participant & Supporter -- James Romer


 Supporters – Matthew & Nancy Clark
Supporters – Dr. Rex & Hope Wilhelm
Supporter -- Iowa Biotechnology Association
Supporter -- Iowa Energy Center
Supporter -- Iowa Space Grant Consortium


Past Student, Teacher & Supporter – Kris Groff
Supporter – Dr. Howard Shapiro
Supporter – Penni Bryant


Supporter – Dr. Harold “Sande” McNabb
Supporter – Margo McNabb
Supporter – Dr. Rodney Rogers
Supporter – Dr. Dean Hoganson


Past Student – Pete Gulbranson
Teacher – Walter Reemtsma
Teacher – Ernest Schiller
Teacher – Larry Schwinger


Student – Christy Taylor
Teacher – David Fagle
Teacher – Bev Iverson
Teacher – Ross Iverson


Student – Karin Wilhelm
Teacher – Ed Rezabek
Teacher – Richard Sorfendon


Teacher – Mary Sievert
Teacher – Merlyn Brown


Supporter – Clay Groff
Teacher – Robert Graves
Student – Daren P. O’Brien

Hall of Fame Winners Scripts


Colleen Gordon - 

Colleen had a great passion for science and was willing to try just about anything if she thought it would help her students learn!  Colleen taught at Lourdes Catholic School in Bettendorf, Iowa, for 12 years as the 6th-8th grade science teacher. One of her favorite units to teach was science fair! 6th grade students had to find a topic, research it, conduct the experiment, follow the scientific method then record it on a science fair board. They also had to present their projects in class.  Projects were then judged at the school level and the top winners moved on to the local Catholic high school for judging.  Many of these projects also placed at the State of Iowa Science and Technology Fair.

Sadly, Colleen Gordon passed away on August 28, 2012, after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer.  Colleen definitely left a legacy in the field of science for the students at Lourdes Catholic School, we were blessed to have had her as a teacher and mentor! 


Schiller Sisters (Alicia, Amanda, Arie) - 

The next ‘TRIO’ of inductees will be honored together into SSTFI’s Hall of Fame.  WOW!!! What an opportunity to recognize three up and coming educators that are truly entrenched into science, technology, and society.  They are so in tune with their schools, their students, in the communities they serve, and in the global scientific enrichment in their lives.  All three women are finishing their Masters of Science in Education at the University of Northern Iowa.  All three reside in Southeast Iowa and all are in constant contact with one another, both personally and professionaly.  Their father said that there is NEVER a day that there is not a science workshop or serious science discussion at the Schiller household table, on the phone, or by email.    

       Now, I am proud to present the Schiller trio:

Alicia Schiller, a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in Botany, started her teaching career at Ottumwa High School.  After a few years at Ottumwa, she served as her father’s replacement at Central Lee High School in Donnellson during his sabbatical.  At the end of that year, she replaced her father and has been teaching Biology, Advanced Biology, and Biotechnology ever since.  She supervises Central Lee High School Science Club and directs science research.  Alicia extends her scientific research arm to all those willing or needing assistance, even in neighboring schools by lending scientific equipment.  As a graduate of Central Lee High School and returning to her home community, Alicia has served on several school district committees, and has served in leadership capacities to set educational goals for Central Lee.  Alicia became interested in science and science research at an early age.  She has participated in so many science fairs and symposia that are too numerous to mention.  She represented Iowa at NJSHS in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.  She was selected as a sophomore in 1994 to attend the Interanational Science and Engineering Fair in Ontario, Canada and as a senior in 1996 in Louisville, Kentucky.  Her travels to ISEF have continued as her own students have been selected for the trip.   Alicia was recognized as the Outstanding New Biology Teacher by the National Association of Biology Teachers.  She was also recognized by the Iowa Academy of Science with the Excellence in Science Teaching Award.  She is in her tenth year in teaching. Alicia is a VERY avid runner, jogger, and has even challenged herself in half marathons and marathons.  Her best friend is truly her dog, a miniature Pomeranian named Zander.  


Amanda Kite graduated from University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Education with emphasis on Elementary Education.  She also is a graduate of Central Lee High School.  After attending UNI, she started teaching at Marquette Middle School in West Point, Iowa (now Holy Trinity Schools).  Presently she is a Life Science teacher at Van Buren Schools in Keosauqua, Iowa.  Amanda not only teaches science, but she lives and radiates science to her students.  Amanda’s contribution to the Van Buren School community is probably best put as living and wearing science and being a TRUE role model for all students that they can succeed in science.  She is recognized by her professional community as a leader/teacher and serves on several school district’s leadership committees.   Amanda directs the Van Buren School’s Science Research Club, which includes Middle School and High School students.   Amanda also started her science research experience at a very early age.  She has presented at many local, regional, state competitions as well as science symposia across Iowa.  She was selected by the Iowa Academy of Science and the Iowa Junior Academy of Science to represent Iowa at the National Junior Academy of Science in Philadelphia.  One of Amanda’s fondest memories was attending the 150th anniversary celebration of the NJAS where she met President Bill Clinton. Amanda was selected as National Award Winner from the National Earth Science Teachers Association and also selected by NASA to represent Iowa at NASA training at Huntsville, Alabama.  She was also honored by the Iowa Academy of Science as a Middle School Teacher receiving the Excellence in Teaching Award.   However, if you ask Amanda what her greatest achievement would be, it has been the impact that her students has given her as they reach for the stars and attain their long sought dreams.  And one huge dream came true this year when one of Van Buren’s students, Lydia Heald, became a Finalist for ISEF at the Eastern Iowa Science & Engineering Fair. She is in her tenth year of teaching. Amanda is married to Tyler Kite and resides in rural Donnellson, Iowa.  She is a work-a-holic and she simply adores her two dogs, Mya, a large red Husky and Linkin, a nice small lap dog weighing over 80 pounds.  

Arie is in her fifth year teaching Life Science at Keokuk Middle School in Keokuk, Iowa.  Arie graduated with a Bachelors of Arts from University of Northern Iowa with an Education degree in Middle School / Junior High Science and an Art Education endorsement.  Her present teaching assignment includes middle school life science.   She mentors and directs the Keokuk Research Science Club for middle school and high school students. Arie is an all-around science buff.  She is tenacious in her job, her learning community and has become a leader in her school.  She loves science, she loves challenging students and she brings her art education to the students as they seek out their science research presentations.  To her, art is science and she includes art in her everyday life.   Arie also began her scientific endeavors at a very early age.  She was always scientifically interested in every aspect of her life.  She has exhibited in so many local, regional and state science events and symposia that it would be too long to list.  However, some of her greatest accomplishments have included representing Iowa as a Finalist at ISEF her freshman year in Detroit, Michigan, in 2000 and again her senior year in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2003.  She represented the Iowa Junior Academy of Science at the National Junior Academy of Science in San Francisco, Boston, and Denver.  She was also selected to represent Iowa at NJSHS in Colorado Springs.  She truly has engaged in every level of science and science research that one could participate.  However, one of her favorite activities included accompanying one of her students, Prya Kahanolkar from Keokuk High School who was selected to attend as an observer to ISEF by SSTFI last year.   Arie is a thinker and a doer.  However, one of the most impressionable events took place in her life as a senior in high school.  While performing one of the most difficult tasks, she selectively crossed two different species of ferns creating a new genetic form of fern.  It was at that particular moment that she knew that science was REALLY cool and something that she wouldn’t mind endeavoring in and encouraging the next set of young scientists to challenge themselves to attain similar discoveries.   Arie resides in rural Donnellson, and misses her lifelong cuddly Ginger, a very miniature Pomeranian, her pet for over 14 years.


Nikki Schneider -

Our first inductee has had a love for agriculture and science all thru her life growing up in Adair County, Iowa. She joined 4-H as soon as she was old enough and began showing cattle and entering projects in the exhibit building.  Her curiosity in science brought her to start science fair projects in upper grade school.  She began working with the introduction of BT corn which provides protection from the corn borer, as a transgenic event in the corn plant. She was able to work with scientists at Pioneer and enhance her project thru her high school years. Her project won an unforgettable trip to the International Science Fair in San Jose, CA.  Her teacher, Mr. Schwinger wanted to be sure we included the fact she is only one of two students from West Central Valley to ever appear in front of the ISEF Scientific Review Committee and survive.

In 2003 Nikki graduated from West Central Valley High School in Stuart, Iowa and is a 2007 graduate of Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy with a Biotechnology and Plant Breeding option.  She currently works at Pioneer Hi-Bred International as a Research Associate in the Soybean Marker Discovery and Development lab, developing new SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) discovery protocols and soybean trait markers to help decrease the time it takes to incorporate traits into products.  As the world food demand increases, she is pleased to know that her research is helping to provide part of the solution.

Dr. Travis J. Frey -

Our next awardee - Dr. Travis Frey is a 99’ graduate of Penn State University in the College of Agriculture with a BS in Horticulture.  He obtained his MS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002 and a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware in 2005 both in Plant Breeding and Genetics. 
Travis discovered his love for science while in high school where he worked on a science fair project involving the control of weeds with different nutrient fertilizer amendments to the soil which he competed with at the 47th annual ISEF event and placed Second overall in Botany.  He then continued his research into his early college years which led to him majoring in Plant Breeding and genetics.  Travis has been involved at the local, regional, state and International levels of ISEF for over 20 years either as a competitor, mentor, chair or judge.  He has served as the SSTFI Senior High Judging Chair since 2006. 
Currently, Travis is the Genome Wide Genotyping and Platform Innovation Lead at Monsanto Company.  His core responsibilities include developing innovative strategies, methodologies and automation equipment to optimize the process of DNA analysis for Plant Breeding.  
Vicki Speake -
Our next awardee - Vicki Speake got to the Hall of Fame without much of a choice.  When the Fair moved to the 4-H program Vicki was the person who got the task of making it all work.  Judging, printing, accounting, and all the other tasks that make the fair work and look so organized was Vicki’s job, as well as keeping the fair staff calm and making things seem ok in the middle of a storm.  
All your gift cards, prizes, scholarships, travel and rooms at ISEF, that’s Vicki.  And she does all this while also doing the work at 4-H for the livestock and science programs.  
Vicki has been a valuable partner in making the fair what it is today.  She joins the many that have come before her in the Hall of Fame because of her hard work and perseverance.  Congratulations and thank you Vicki!


Jay Staker -



Kevin Brasser -

This inductee graduated from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, in 1985 with a major in biology.  Having no idea what to do with his biology major once he graduated he decided to teach English for one year in Taiwan after he graduated and realized he loved teaching.  Realizing his love for teaching he went back to Northwestern to get his degree in education and began teaching high school science in 1987.  He is currently in his 24th year of teaching. He enjoys teaching high school and junior high biology, anatomy and physiology, environmental science, and health.  In addition to teaching he also enjoys coaching many sports.  Although some may say this sounds cliché he loves teaching very much.  He has said before that "there's nothing else I'd rather do."  He enjoys travel and takes the South O'Brien seniors on a "Senior Science Trip" to Florida each fall.  In addition, he has had many junior high and high school students participate in science fairs including multiple ISEF and I-SWEEEP trip winners

Our newest Hall of Fame member currently lives in Paullina, Iowa, with his family.  Wife -- Karen Brasser; Two sons -- Ryan (19) and Peyton (11) and One daughter - Erin (17).


Debbie Stalter

Debbie Stalter had such a passion for science and was willing to try the latest science initiatives if she thought it would help the students learn more about science!  Debbie taught at West Central Valley Schools for 37 years as a 4th grade teacher. She taught science to all the 4th grade students. One of her favorite units of study was science fair! Students had to conduct their experiment at school and follow the scientific method then record it on a science fair board. High School students who had earned superior ratings at the state and national level were asked to judge the 4th and 5th grade students on their finished projects. 

These were some of the same students who had started their science fair careers in Mrs. Stalter’s 4th grade science class. These same students earned full ride scholarships to state universities and many trips to other states and countries because of their science fair activities. Several of these same students found careers in the science field and industry.

Over the 37 years Mrs. Stalter worked with over a thousand of students introducing them to their first experience at science fair. Her impact was great because she was the reason that the 5th ,6th ,7th and 8th teachers moved to implementing a local science fair.

Deborah Stalter passed away on March 7, 2011 but she definitely left a legacy in the field of science for the students at West Central Valley Schools! 




Heather (LeFleur) Gutknecht -

This inductee has participated in 14 State Science and Technology Fairs of Iowa.  She started in 6th grade and participated all the way through high school.  She had a lot of success with her projects and went on to compete at the International Science Fair twice.  She received a 2nd Place reward in 2002 with her project Electromagnetic Fields on Lactuca sativa: Phase III.

After graduating from West Central Valley, she went on to study at Iowa State University where she continued to stay involved in SSTFI.   She has spent the past 7 years behind the scenes at SSTFI as a volunteer and was named the Special Awards Chair in 2005.  She has worked hard to recruit new and maintain our Special Awards sponsorsThe Special Award Judging and the awards handed out at the Special Award Ceremony this morning would not have been possible without this person’s continued involvement and sincere dedication to science and youth.  Currently she is an insurance agent for State Farm and attending UNI to obtain her Bachelor’s in Education in Biology with Chemistry and Physics endorsements.  She and her husband Jared live on a farm near Cedar Falls.


Andrea (Clark) Spencer --


Nadine (McLearn) Weirather --

of Montrose, Iowa is one of the newest Honorees of this year’s 2010 State Science Fair of Iowa’s Hall of Fame Inductees.  Nadine was a 1980 graduate of Central Lee High Schools in rural Donnellson, Iowa and is teaching at her alma mater at the Central Lee Middle School.  Nadine received her Bachelors Degree from Iowa Wesleyan College in 1983 in Elementary Education.  She received her Masters of Science from the University of Iowa in 1991.  Nadine is a total advocate of Science Fair/Science Research/Inquiry Science.  In her 27 years of teaching, she has taught at Cardinal Stritch, but for the past 26 years she has taught at Central Lee Middle School.  There she teaches middle school science, has held numerous coaching duties throughout her teaching career, and has been a great advocate for science education.  Nadine married her high school sweetheart Lane Weirather, who is a special education teacher for Central Lee Middle School.  She and Lane have two daughters: Sara Newton—a pharmacist, married to Dr. Chase Newton and their 2 ½ month old grandson, Caedon.  Their youngest daughter Megan Weirather—student of the Nursing Program and is in her senior year at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.  Daughter Megan was a long time exhibitor at the State Science Fair of Iowa.  Daughter Sara exhibited at the State Science Fair of Iowa and was an Intel ISEF Finalist for three years while in high school.  Even Son-In-Law Dr. Chase Newton was an exhibitor to the State Science Fair of Iowa.  Some of her personal highlights have included being a proud volunteer at numerous school activities, teaching at Iowa Wesleyan College both in Elementary Science Methods and Curriculum Development & Evaluation, being named Central Lee Teacher of the Year in 2005, being selected for the Iowa Space Grant Consortium to tour NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in 2004, Editor of Iowa Science Teachers Section Newsletter for several years, 1996 Iowa Academy of Science Award for Excellence in Middle School Science Teaching, and 2008 Alan B. Adams Teacher Award Recipient from EISEF.  Last year Nadine and her class participated in a teleconference with Cassini scientists at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA.
Nadine has been an active member of ISTS for 26 years:

        Served from1996-1999—selection committee for Excellence in Science Teaching for the IAS

        Served from 1999-2002—Recognition and Awards Committee for the IAS

        Served from 2002-2007—Regional Director for the ISTS

        On October 2009, Nadine received the ultimate award from the Iowa Science Teaching Section of the Iowa Academy of Science.  Nadine was named ISTS Outstanding Service Award for 2009.
Nadine’s students have won numerous accolades and awards at conference, regional, state, and her middle schoolers have been invited to attend as visitors to ISEF events.  Congratulations to Nadine Weirather as the State Science Fair of Iowa’s newest Inductee to the Science Fair’s Hall of Fame.


Kyle Van Ausdall --

Kyle Van Ausdall is another one of the newest Inductees to the State Science Fair of Iowa’s Hall of Fame.  Kyle was raised in Montrose, Iowa and grew up in the Central Lee Schools and was a graduate of Central Lee Schools.   Kyle is married to Dawn his wife of 25 years and is the proud father of two sons:  Eric—married to Jenny and 10 month old grandson Gage  Eric is a banker at works at Lee County Bank and Trust.  Ryan, their youngest is a student at UNI who is also planning on entering the teaching profession.  Kyle received his BA Degree from William Penn in 1984 majoring in Business Management & Applied Computer Science with Minors in Economics & Music.  He graduated cum laude, received the Wall Street Journal Award, the Academic Awards for highest GPA in both majors, and is listed in Who’s Who Among Colleges & Universities.  His professional life included working 17 years at Smurfit-Stone Container in Customer Service Manager. Kyle received his MS in Education from Quincy University in 2002, which included honors from Kappa Delta Pi. Kyle is in his 8th year teaching at Central Lee Middle School, where he teaches Middle School Science, Math and Mass Production.  Kyle has brought his years of experience in the business sector to the classroom.  Besides teaching science at Central Lee, Kyle also teaches Driver’s Education in the summer, is a Baseball Coach, is an Assistant Basketball Coach, and assists as the Middle School Science Fair Advisor, along with Nadine Weirather, one of our previous nominees.  Kyle has received numerous awards in his short teaching career, including the “Teacher of the Year” awards presented by The Burlington Hawkeye and the Ft. Madison Daily Democrat.  Congratulations to Kyle Van Ausdall as the State Science Fair of Iowa’s newest Inductee to the Science Fair’s Hall of Fame.  Dual Congrats goes to two teachers from Central Lee Middle Schools, both Middle School Science Teachers and Science Advisors and whom were classmates and graduated from the Class of 1980!   They exude the true definition of teamwork.  Congrats Kyle and Nadine!!!!!



Dr. David Schmitt --


Our first inductee of the evening has been involved with science fair in some capacity for over 23 years – including participating as a student. He has been involved locally by serving as Scientific Advisor, as a member of the Scientific Review Committee, and as a science fair judge. In addition, as a veterinarian, this person has assisted students with projects involving live animal studies by housing animals at the veterinary practice, assisting with collecting samples for testing, training students in proper animal care practices and hygiene, and offering the use of equipment and supplies for testing.


Both of his children have attended the International Science & Engineering Fair and one of his most memorable moments was the invitation to be a chaperone to accompany students to an International Science Fair.

When asked what he thought of is the importance of science fair this was his response: "Over the years, I have told several students, parents and others that Science Fair is the one activity that includes the research and development of a project, the use and application of science and math skills, the use of artistic skills in creation of the display, English skills to create the necessary reports for the presentation and Speech skills in presentation of the projects to the various judges."





Why has he contributed to science fair for so many years? Because this Hall of Fame recipient believes that it is important to share our talents with youth and encourage their education in order for them to develop necessary life skills and prepare them for further education opportunities beyond high school.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. David Schmitt from the West Central Valley School District to the podium for comments.


The Pella Rolscreen Foundation seeks to contribute to the civic, cultural, educational, social and physical environment of the area in which Pella Corporation team members reside through gifts to active, nonprofit, charitable organizations whose purpose coincides with this goal. 


The Pella Rolscreen Foundation has generously provided general support funds and judges (you may recall them from their matching shirts) at the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa for ten years. 


James Romer --


The third and final Hall of Fame inductee of the evening is both a past student competitor and a support of the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa. This person has been involved with science fair in some capacity for more than two thirds of his life.  He participated as a student from 6th grade through 12th grade without ever missing a year.  While attending college he returned to his home high school to help judge the local fair.  He also served as a judge during this time for the Iowa FFA Agriscience Fair which this year became a part of the SSTFI.  One example of his overwhelming commitment to research was given by his middle school science fair teacher:  This student worked with plants for most if not all of his research projects.  One day it seemed to take him hours to mist his plants for one of his science fair experiments.  The woman in charge of closing up the research facility waited for a very long time for the student to emerge.  Later, the student confessed that he though he had to use up ALL the water in the mister at one time rather than just giving his plants a light misting.  He ended up drenching them with the mister.  I am going to assume that this experimental group of plants was destroyed a new set started.  Ironically enough this student went on to pursue a bachelor’s and a master’s in Horticulture from Iowa State University.  I believe many of us especially adults can relate to the fact that often our mistakes lead to the greatest learning.  His teacher did mention that a later project involved growing tomatoes in the hot house and they were very good tomatoes.  Each year this inductee looks forward to the spring when he can stand at this very podium and read the names of more than 400 award recipients.  Each year for the past ten years he comes in before the award ceremony to scour the list of names, practicing them diligently in order to pronounce as many correctly as possible.  As a former classmate and competitor it is my distinct pleasure to ask you to join me in welcoming James Romer a former student from the Algona Community School District and a current employee of Iowa State University Extension to the podium for comments.



Matthew and Nancy Clark --

In 1987, our first couple started volunteering for science fair events. Little did they know that science fair would have a major impact on the future of their family. As their three children progressed through science fair, this couple was always there to support all of the students from their school by organizing and hauling projects, volunteering to judge, and donating time to work at the state science fair. Their three children often placed in the top ten at the state science fair, in addition their first daughter was the first student from her school to win a trip to the International Science and Engineering fair and her brother topped that by attending two International fairs. Their children have moved on to professional careers -- that require skills learned from science fair. Hundreds of students in their home town and around the state have been directly or indirectly affected by the positive support from our first Hall of Fame couple. Please join me in welcoming Matthew & Nancy Clark from Algona to the podium for comments.


Dr. Rex & Hope Wilhelm --

Our second Hall of Fame couple can be described in one word: Genuine. Over the years this couple has committed time and energy to science fair students in their community with genuine passion. This couple has been exemplary in their support of science fair.  Their three children, Karin, Justin, and Anna were all International Science and Engineering Fair finalists.   For a few years their household served as the research laboratory for three science projects simultaneously.   Their dinning room table, the kitchen table, and the living room floor all served as one of their children’s work areas.   Project topics varied from grasses, lead in water, trihalomethanes, bacteria in meats, trichinosis in rats, solar voltaic cells, propeller cavitation, and Bt and cabbage plants.  Their eldest daughter Karin, a three time International Science and Engineering Fair finalist with the additional distinction of having the third highest award ever won by an Iowa student at the International Science Fair, now works for a world wide environmental engineering company.  Justin is an engineer for 3 M and Anna is a physical therapist. In addition, one of our awardees is a teacher who has initiated middle school student participation in science fair from two school districts. These students have continued to compete at these fairs.  Her hard work and leadership as a sponsoring teacher is recognized by her fellow science fair teachers.   And then there is our other half of the couple.  The list of what can be said about him and his support of science fair is long.  He almost automatically analyzes a science fair project idea for the proper application of the scientific method.  He has served on the West Central Valley’s scientific review committee for at least the last ten years.  He also has been a judge at many science fairs for many years.  His veterinary clinic has provided housing for many animal science fair projects.  The clinic has allowed numerous students to use a wide variety of analytical equipment in their research.  He has also contributed financially to fair awards.  His spontaneous interest in any student’s research and his willingness to support that student in their work makes him truly worthy of induction to the SSTFI’s Hall of Fame. Please help me welcome Dr. Rex & Hope Wilhelm from Stuart to the podium for comments.


The Iowa Biotechnology Association is comprised of the interested stakeholders in Iowa that work together to promote biotechnology.  As supporters of the fair, the Iowa Biotechnology Association has served on the SSTFI Advisory Board and has provided scholarships and judges at the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa. Accepting the award for the Iowa Biotechnology Association this evening is Doug Getter.


The Iowa Energy Center is committed to advancing Iowa's energy efficiency and renewable energy use through research, education and demonstration.  The Iowa Energy Center proudly supports the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa with the Youth and Energy Scholarship and through a grant to help fund the administrative costs of the Fair.  From engineering and physics to botany and earth sciences, energy plays a role.  2008 marks the twelfth year the Iowa Energy Center has provided the scholarship to Iowa High School students, totaling nearly $100,000 for exceptional energy-related projects!  Accepting the award for the Iowa Energy Center this evening is Keith Kutz.


The mission of the Iowa Space Grant Consortium is to coordinate and improve Iowa's future in aerospace science and technology and to stimulate aerospace research, education and outreach activities throughout the state.   The SSTFI is a major component of their pre-collegiate efforts to provide outstanding opportunities for Iowa’s youth to experience science, engineering, and technology.  As NASA celebrates it’s 50th year, we are proud to support SSTFI as they move into their second 50 years.  Inspiration, Innovation, and Discovery are shared goals of the Iowa Space Grant Consortium and the SSTFI.Accepting the award for the Iowa Space Grant Consortium this evening is Jay Staker.




Dr. Howard Shapiro --

Over 8 years ago the fair received a new Board Chair. The fair was lucky to find a chair that brought a vision of making the science fair an even richer educational experience for all the participants. Our newest Hall-of-Fame member had a driving passion to make the judging process an encouraging interview in which the exhibitor would learn how to make their project better and have a stronger sense of science and their research.

Our recipient spent 30-years of his academic career as a faculty member in Mechanical Engineering and as an administrator at Iowa State University. He joined Wayne State University in August 2005, as Associate Vice President of Undergraduate Programs and General Education. At Iowa State, he co-founded and directed the Center for Building Energy Research and started the Industrial Assessment Center. He served as Assistant Dean in the College of Engineering from January 1997 until he assumed the position of Vice Provost for Undergraduate Programs in August of 1998. He is well known for his work on learning communities, institutional change and reform in higher education. He also has written extensively on thermodynamics, refrigeration and energy efficiency.

Dr. Shapiro was unable to join us for the award ceremony this evening but thanks to some help from technology he has sent a message for us to view. Please direct your attention to the screen.


Pennie Bryant --

Eight years ago our next recipient came to the fair as part of her work in the office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Student Programs. In her role with the fair she assisted the fair board and fair director in all the important details that go on behind the scenes. She took care of registering judges and matching judges up with projects in addition to many other numerous roles.

On Friday nights after most had gone home she would be working to take the results from the first day of judging and use them to arrange for the next day. It is accurate to say that this Hall of Fame member was at the hub of the fair. Her hard work, dedication, and positive attitude made the fair even better and her hard work was greatly appreciated by those who worked around her.

She is well deserving of this recognition and the high quality experience that students have at the Fair is in large part due to the work of Penni Bryant.


Kris Groff --

Our third Hall of Fame inductee this evening has been involved with science fair in some capacity for the past 34 years. It is only fitting that as we mark the fair’s 50th Anniversary we welcome this recipient into the Hall of Fame. It was very difficult to decide what to put on his plaque as normally Hall of Fame recipients fall into one of three categories – Student, Teacher or Supporter. This recipient fits all three. He has participated as a student, parent, judge, board member, committee chair and currently has students, including his own children exhibiting at this year’s fair.

This recipient has started a science fair program at all three schools where he has taught. He has had 3 International Science & Engineering Fair qualifiers and many winners at local and state wide competitions. This is his 20th year to have students exhibit at the state fair. This year he also started a 9th grade science program that is totally dedicated to science research. He believes that science research is the best way for students to understand how a scientist thinks. In addition to being a two time recipient of the Teacher of the Year Award he has again been nominated this year for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.

He is not listed as one of the Hall of Fame recipients in this year’s program because friends and family asked it to be a surprise as he is not easily nor often surprised. If he has not already figured out who we are referring to maybe this clue about his former science fair project will help him out. Layered Fossils Please help me in welcoming Kris Groff to the stage.



Dr. Rodney Rogers --

For the last 51 years, our first Hall of Fame Nominee has served as a Professor of Biology at Drake University in Des Moines. In that time, he has assisted the former Hawkeye State Science Fair as a judge when the event was held in Veteran Memorial Auditorium, Merle Hay Mall, Valley West Mall, and the Drake University Field House. In addition, he has assisted with science fair judging at Stuart-Menlo High School and at the South Central Iowa Science & Engineering Fair at Simpson College. His dedication to the field of science has been demonstrated by teaching university classes in biology, microbiology, animal parasitology, history of biology, bioterrorism, and emerging infectious diseases. As a faculty advisor, he assisted 63 Biology Students achieve their Masters Degree.

His wife was a longtime professor of Biology at Drake University. His youngest son is a professor of Biology at Ball State University and his oldest son works for the Department of Finance. Please welcome Dr. Rodney Rogers to the stage.


Dr. "Sande" McNabb & Margo McNabb --

If you have participated in the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa for the past 25 years, you have more than likely seen this couple, but you may not know their names. The newest Hall of Fame members, Dr. Harold “Sande” McNabb and Margo McNabb, have been dedicated to the success of students in Iowa for the past 53 years.

Both graduated from the University of Nebraska on June 6, 1949, were married on June 7, 1949, and then traveled to New Haven, Connecticut so Sande could attend Yale University to eventually achieve a Ph.D. in Forest Pathology. While in New Haven, Margo taught school and assisted Sande with a wide variety of Forestry Department activities.

In 1953, they traveled to Ames so Dr. McNabb could accept a joint teaching and research appointment with the Departments of Forestry and Botany at Iowa State College. While at Iowa State, Dr. McNabb worked with over 300 high school and undergraduate interns, taught over 3,000 students, assisted 25 students to achieve their Masters Degree, and assisted 25 students to achieve their Ph.D. Dr. McNabb organized a Shade Tree Short Course at ISU that just celebrated its 50th anniversary. Dr. McNabb was instrumental in working with former ISU President Martin Jiscke to bring this science fair to Hilton Coliseum and served as the Director of this fair from 1997 to 1999. Dr. McNabb has also been in charge of the Scientific Review Committee since 1999.

Dr. McNabb and Margo have been very active in the Ames Community. Dr. McNabb served on the Ames School Board for 9 years, served as a Scoutmaster for 25 years, and along with Margo, served for 12 years coordinating the youth program at the Collegiate Presbyterian Church. Margo served as a Girl Scoutmaster for 6 years, has been politically active in the Story County Democratic Party, and has registered hundreds of people to vote. The couple was awarded the Humanitarian Award from the City of Ames in 2002.

Dr. McNabb’s is quoted as saying, “I couldn’t have asked for a better career.”

Please help me in welcoming Dr. Sande McNabb and Margo McNabb to the stage.


Pete Gulbranson --

The student recipient was a very active and successful science fair participant in the early nineties. His projects relating or bridge designs earned him two trips to the International Science and Engineering Fair. After graduating from Stuart-Menlo High School he attended and graduated from Georgia Tech University with a degree in civil engineering. He is currently a civil engineer in an Air Force RED HORSE Squadron – a heavy construction unit. Since 9/11 our recipient tonight has served two tours of duty in the Middle East including 6 months in Bahrain designing and constructing an air force base and most recently served six months in Iraq as a construction engineer. Currently Captain Pete Gulbranson is stationed at Malstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana. Unfortunately, Pete could not join us today. Accepting his Hall of Fame award will be his father, John Gulbranson. Please join me in congratulating Pete.



Ernie Schiller --

This 1971 Iowa State University graduate has been teaching for 33 years total between 2 school districts. His first teaching experience was at Harmony High School in Farmington, IA. He taught there for five years specializing in Biology, Advanced Biology, and Chemistry. After five years, he then moved on to Central Lee High School where he taught Botany, Biology, and Advanced Biology for 28 years. He is the sponsor and mentor for the AFS Club and Science Club. He has been involved with Science Club for 20 plus years. His most recent awards are: Selected as Iowa’s Teacher of the year for 2004-2005, Nationally Certified Science Educator and is now mentoring individual teachers to become certified as well, and he was awarded a Presidential Award for teaching science. This person had his first student win a trip to the International Science Fair in 1993 and has had at least one student every year since 1995. Within these years to International, 4 times were with his own daughters. His most memorable thought on education is “students learn science by doing science.” Please welcome 2005 SSTFI Hall of Fame Member and my teacher Ernie Schiller.


Walt Reemtsma--

Our next Hall of Fame inductee celebrated his 35th school science fair this year. He was recognized as the Middle School Science Fair teacher of the year in 1976 at Veteran’s Auditorium in Des Moines. His students would say the man is always on the go. His energy and excitement motivates students and energizes all those around him. He has attended the International Science and Engineering Fair numerous times and has even served on the International Science & Engineering Fair Advisory Council. Please welcome a man completely dedicated to science fair and his students 2005 State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa Hall of Fame Member and our middle school science teacher Walt Reemtsma.


Larry Schwinger --

The next State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa Hall of Fame Member started teaching high school science in 1974. He has an undying enthusiasm in science fair and what science fair can do for students. During his teaching career, this person has had 37 students represent Iowa at the International Science and Engineering Fair. In 2001, four of his students were selected to attend the ISEF which is an outstanding accomplishment for anyone. This man takes no credit for the success of his students. His joy is just in seeing the students walk across the stage. His smile and bear hug after a science fair just go to show the pride he has in his students. He participated in science fair as a student in high school and his son was selected to participate in the International Science Fair twice. This man still continues to teach chemistry, physics, and physical science at West Central High School.



Christy Taylor --

The student recipient today was a very successful science fair participant from Stuart-Menlo High School and even was selected to participate in the International Science and Engineering Fair, twice! Christy Taylor was unable to be with us today. She is currently a second grade teacher in California. Please join me in congratulating Christy.


David Fagle, Bev Iverson, & Ross Iverson --

The teacher recipients today are an outstanding group. They have taught in Knoxville, Marshalltown, and Honduras and have been involved in science fair for a combined total of over 65 years. Their dedication to their students and the students’ education in science is an outstanding testament to Iowa’s educational system. Their list of accomplishments is a very long and proud list.

David Fagle said that science fair helped to make him a better teacher because it involved students in basic research. Fagle has former students who are now physicians, research scientists, cytotechnologists, and chemists.

Bev Iverson knows that science fair has made an impact in students’ lives because of the thanks she still receives to this day for providing the science research experience to her former students.

Ross Iverson said that science fair kept him focused on science as a living, breathing, growing organ of life. He and his wife had fun helping students find new and exciting areas of science to study.

Please join me in welcoming David Fagle, Bev Iverson, and Ross Iverson to the stage.



Mary Sievert --

Our first inductee has been involved in science fair for thirty-eight years. She taught chemistry and AP chemistry at Central High School in Davenport, Iowa. She served 22 years as the President and Executive Director of the Quad Cities Science and Engineering Fair. She has served on numerous science related boards and has received many awards for teaching. When asked what was the most memorable moment in her science fair work, she wrote about a student who excelled in with a Kinetics project in 1967 and is now a well-known Kinetics professor at the University of Texas. The accomplishments of her students are too numerous to list. Please welcome 2002 SSTFI Hall of Fame Member Mary Sievert.


Merlyn Brown --

The second inductee this evening is retiring this year as a twenty year veteran of the science teaching profession. He has taught general science, physical science, biology, physics, and chemistry at Clarence-Lowden Schools, North Central Schools in Manly, Bridgewater-Fontanelle Schools, and Orient Mackburg High School. When asked how science fair has made you a better teacher, he responded that the cross-disciplinary projects that include English, math, sociology, industrial arts, and history was a fantastic way to make the students’ projects more well rounded and made his classroom teaching better every year. His highest accomplishment was coaching a student that was selected for the International Science and Engineering Fair. Please welcome 2002 SSTFI Hall of Fame Member Merlyn Brown.