About Us

“Rich in history. Full of promise for the Future.”

The Thomas A. Edison Regional Science and Inventor Fairs (TAERSIF) Steering Committee works year-round to organize Regional STEM Events that annually host over 1,000 local students at regional competitions and engage nearly 30,000 students in research projects at a school level. Over the years, our Edison Fairs program has grown into the largest pre-collegiate STEM competition program in Southwest Florida and includes three signature events: Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Regional Science & Engineering Fair, Thomas A. Edison Festival of Light Regional Inventors Fair, and Elementary Science Expo.

TAERSIF is a sanctioned event of the Edison Festival of Light, as well as three affiliations: the State Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) of Florida; Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF); and The Henry Ford National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurial Expo (NICEE). Special recognition has been acknowledged for one of the original sponsors with title recognition as follows:

The Thomas A. Edison Regional Science and Inventors Fairs presented by SONY Electronics

The Regional Fairs and underwriting of student expenses for the Fairs is possible because of the support from the Fort Myers Kiwanis Club, Lee County and Charlotte County Public Schools, Florida Gulf Coast University, The Edison Festival of Light, The Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Hodges University, Florida Southwestern State College, Edison Innovators Association , Imagine Solutions Conference, Caloosa Bromeliad Society, The Imaginarium Science Center, Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Caloosa Veterinary Medical Society, Florida Power and Light, Edison Pageant of Light, Sony Electronics, Imagine Solutions Conference, the Scientist Society of Southwest Florida, Lee Memorial Health Systems, the Lee County Medical Society and numerous private donors and volunteers.

Our competitions showcase students from Charlotte, Lee, and Collier Counties who will become our future scientists, technology experts, engineers, mathematicians, and entrepreneurs. The regional program celebrates achievement by elementary, middle, and high school students supported by their parents, teachers, and schools.

The TAERSIF Steering Committee

The TAERSIF Steering Committee is comprised of representatives from Southwest Florida educational institutions as well as public and private organizations and businesses. All parties are interested in promoting a sound education in the sciences, technologies, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields while instilling a working knowledge of each person’s intrinsic right to benefit from his or her creative, problem solving, and critical thinking skills through application of the scientific, inventive and entrepreneurial processes.

Florida Gulf Coast University, the Kiwanis Club of Fort Myers, the School Districts of Lee and Charlotte Counties, and 501(c)(3)’s such as The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools and the Edison Festival of Light serve as fiscal administrators, each in specific areas of the annual program. An endowment fund managed by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation was established in 2001 to provide a more stable source of future funding of the Regional Fairs. For more information on how you can contribute, check out our Sponsors Page.

Steering Committee Members

Allen Bova
Science Fair, Kiwanis

Roxann Camel
Past Regional Inventors School Coordinator

Benjamin Diamond
Webmaster

Melissa Giovanelli
Lee County School Board & Edison Festival of Light

Barbara Hartman
Inventors Fair, Kiwanis

Jim Helms
Ombudsman, Community Outreach

Lee Hughes
Director, Regional Science & Engineering Fair

Benjamin Johnson
Lee County Schools

Tim Jones
Science Fair, Kiwanis

Kristie Kennedy
Lee County Schools

Honorah Kenney
Connecticut Invention Program

Mark McCreary
Lee County Schools

Gary Nelson
Director, Regional Inventors Fair

Caren Polk
Regional Inventors School Coordinator

James Reilley
Science Fair

Joanna Salapska-Gelleri
FGCU Liaison

Katie Schlotterbeck
Science Fair, Bishop Verot

Todd Thomas
SONY

Friends & Guests

Randy Antik
Imagine Solutions

Shelby Baucom
City of Fort Myers

Glen Beitman
Super Science Florida

Patty Borden
FGCU

Joseph Byer
SONY

Mary “Susie” Cull
FGCU

Trey Davis
Lee County Schools

Cynthia Dunham-Derheimer
Charlotte County Schools, Edison Festival of Light
& Innovators Association

Robert Fay
Seminole Railway & Florida Refrigeration

Laura Frost
FGCU

Karl Gibbons
ESOA

Shelby Gilbert
FGCU

Sandra Kauanui
FGCU

Doug MacGregor
Mactoons

M. Eiluned Morgan
Earth Shine Institute

Shirley Morrison
SWFL Community Foundation

Barbara Rebeor
Lee County Schools

Dave Reigle

Jason Wikman
Charlotte County Schools

Mike Savarese
FGCU

Reba Singleton
FSW

Rick Tully
Past Chairperson, TAERSIF

Barbara Winitzer
Past Inventors Fair Director

TAERSIF Mission Statement

…Support the students, teachers and school systems of Southwest Florida in their efforts to expand knowledge of science and extend opportunities to participate in the invention processes;

…offer a relevant, hands-on experience that recognizes the content and processes used in specific projects and inventions;

…provide support to local science and inventors fairs and help produce high quality regional science and inventors fairs that are a valued experience for the student, teachers and volunteers that participate; and

…establish and help direct a self sustaining fund to provide the fairs with a reliable annual source of monies to meet general budget expenses and to recognize exemplary students and educators.

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