Students from Charlotte and Lee Counties excel at State STEM Competition

For Immediate Release

Contact – Re: State Science Fair Winners from Southwest Florida
Media inquiries to Lee Hughes ( or call 239-335-1548

Twenty-eight (28) student scientists and engineers from the 61st annual Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Regional Science and Engineering Fair participated in the 63rd annual State Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) of Florida STEM Competition, which concluded Thursday, March 29th with the Grand Awards Ceremony in Lakeland. All twenty-eight SSEF participants had already been granted scholarships to FGCU during regional competition for their pre-collegiate research. Twenty-two (22) of our region’s State Finalists from area public and private schools received state-level recognition by winning multiple 1st Place, 2nd Place, 3rd Place, Honorable Mention, Recognition Awards, and Special Awards.

Dahlia Dry, an eleventh grader at Fort Myers High School, received a First Place Category Award in Mathematics and Computational Sciences and three (3) Special Awards for her exoplanet candidate detection project. Dahlia was also selected to be a Junior and Senior Outstanding Narratives (JASON) Colloquium Speaker (one of seven honorees) and addressed attendees with her presentation, “Math: The Story of an Unrequited Love,” during the opening ceremonies of the state science fair (Link to speech is

Second Place Category Awards were presented in the Senior Division to Luke Long (Canterbury School), and in the Junior Division to Maya Chandar (Canterbury School), Pavan Patel (Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School), and Junwei Tan (Gateway Intermediate Charter School).

Third Place Category Awards were presented to two (2) team projects: Sierra Rainville and Caitlin McCartney (Canterbury School), and Magnolia Cahill and Michael MacHarg II (Canterbury School), as well as, Michael Cherbini (Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School).

In addition to the rigorous, three-day STEM competition and professional judging, there were field trips to the SeaWorld Education Pavilion and a canoe adventure down the Hillsborough River.

A total of five (5) projects from our Kiwanis Science Fair will be advancing to this year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in Pittsburgh, PA from May 13th to 18th. Representing the Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Regional Science and Engineering Fair will be Dahlia Dry (Fort Myers High School), Anna Kucera (Canterbury School), Mark Leone (Canterbury School), Luke Long (Canterbury School), and Jackson Windhorst (Fort Myers High School). Follow these students online at and on social media (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, the Suncoast Credit Union Elementary Science Expo and the Thomas A. Edison Festival of Light Regional Inventors Fair that host in total more than 1,100 local students. Key partners of TAERSIF include the Fort Myers Kiwanis, Lee County and Charlotte County Public Schools, numerous private schools, Florida Gulf Coast University, the Edison Festival of Light, Florida Southwestern State College, Hodges University, the James and Eleanor Newton Scholarships, Sony Electronics, Inc., Imagine Solutions Conference, Daitch Family Foundation, Caloosa Bromeliad Society, The Edison & Ford Winter Estates, The IMAG History and Science Center, the Fort Myers Miracle baseball team, Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Pure Florida, Caloosa Veterinary Medical Society, Florida Power and Light, Doug MacGregor, The Edison Pageant of Light, the Entrepreneurs Society of Naples, the Scientist Society of Southwest Florida, Lee Memorial Health Systems, the Lee County Medical Society and numerous other  private donors and volunteers.

Share This