Students from Charlotte and Lee Counties excel at State Science Fair where SW Florida Grand Prize Winner explains “Why I Hate Science Fair”

For Immediate Release

Contact – Re: State Science Fair Winners from Southwest Florida – Media inquiries to
Jim Helms or call 239-432-0970

32 Finalists from the 60th Annual Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Science and Engineering Fair participated at the 62nd annual State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida STEM Competition, which concluded Thursday, March 30th with the Awards Ceremony in Lakeland.  All 32 had already been granted scholarships to FGCU for their work..Twenty-two (22) Kiwanis Science Fair finalists from area public and private schools received state-level recognition by winning multiple 1st Place,  2nd Place, 3rd Place, 4th Place, Honorable Mention, Recognition Awards and Special Awards.

Jay S. Chandar, Canterbury School, was selected as Senior Division Best of Fair – Grand Award Winner (Ying Scholar) and a First Place Category Award in Cellular/Molecular Biology and Biochemistry.  This year marks the seventh and final year Jay has competed at the state event. Jay was also selected to be a JASON Colloquium Speaker (one of seven honorees) and addressed attendees as the final speaker at the opening ceremonies of the state science fair (link to speech is ).

Two other students from Southwest Florida joined Jay as First Place Finalists: Maya S. Chandar of Canterbury and Morgan Barkhurst of North Fort Myers Academy of the Arts. Participating with other aspiring scientists and innovators at this advance level was a wonderful academic experience.  In addition to the rigorous competition and professional judging, there were field trips to a rope course walk and a white water adventure ride down the Hillsborough River.

A total of six projects (5 Individual, 1 Team) from our Kiwanis Science Fair will be advancing to this year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, CA from May 14th to 19th. Representing the Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Science & Engineering Fair will be Jay Chandar (Canterbury School), Dahlia Dry (Fort Myers High), Anna Kucera (Canterbury School), Ethan Leung, Jash Patel, and Shaan Chaudhari (Fort Myers High), Qiao Jiao (Canterbury School) and Melissa Marchese (Canterbury School). Follow these students online at and connect there to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter as they showcase their independent research and compete against 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions, and territories at this year’s International Science and Engineering Fair.

Click HERE for a full list of state science fair winners from Southwest Florida.

The Thomas A. Edison Regional Science and Inventor Fair (TAERSIF) Steering Committee works year-round to organize and conduct the Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Science and Engineering Fair and the Thomas A. Edison Festival of Light Regional Inventors Fair that host more than 700 local students. TAERSIF is the signature event of the Fort Myers Kiwanis and a sanctioned event of the Edison Festival of Light.  Other key partners of TAERSIF include Lee County and Charlotte County Public Schools, numerous private and parochial schools, Florida Gulf Coast University, The Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Hodges University, Florida Southwestern State College, the James and Eleanor Newton Scholarships, Imagine Solutions Conference, Caloosa Bromeliad Society, The Imaginarium Science Center, Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Caloosa Veterinary Medical Society, Florida Power and Light, Doug MacGregor. The Edison Pageant of Light, Sony Electronics, the Entrepreneurs Society of Naples, the Scientist Society of Southwest Florida, Lee Memorial Health Systems, the Lee County Medical Society and numerous private donors and volunteers.


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