Student-Scientists Succeed at State Science Fair

Group of students sitting in rows

High school students from Des Moines Public Schools earned 10 awards at the State Science & Technology Fair at Iowa State University.

More than 80 DMPS student-scientists who qualified at the school district’s science fair in February took their projects to the next level last week in the State Science and Technology Fair at Iowa State University in Ames.

Their work went neither unnoticed nor unrewarded.

In both the middle school and high school divisions DMPS entrants won top honors in multiple categories.

Gabriel Mintzer from Central Academy was the overall Grand Champion at the high school level and was awarded a $5,000 college scholarship for his investigation of the properties of dark matter.

A pair of Merrill 7th graders were in the running for the top middle school honor. Kate Beeman (1st place in Microbiology, Biomedical, & Health Sciences) was runner-up for Grand Champion and John Puri (1st place in Chemistry) received Grand Champion Honorable Mention.

Group of students sitting in rows

Middle school students from DMPS won 27 awards at the State Science and Technology Fair.

Here are the rest of the promising results of the DMPS research:


  • Nawadir (Nosa) Ali (Central Campus/Roosevelt)—Yale Science and Engineering Association Award, Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Science $500 Scholarship
  • Tiffany LeMaster (Central Campus/Roosevelt)—Schneider Seed & Cattle Corp. Agriculture Excellence Award
  • Rabsa Naseer (Central Campus/Roosevelt)—Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Science $500 Scholarship and Honorable mention in Animal Science
  • Rosy Banda-Rivera (North)—Honorable Mention Chemistry, Physics & Astronomy
  • Crystal Velazquez (Central Campus/East)—Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Science $500 Scholarship
  • Esteban Heredia (Central Campus/East)—Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Science $500 Scholarship
  • Hanna Walker (Central Campus/Roosevelt)—Honorable Mention in Animal Science
  • Andrew Van Nice (Central Campus/Roosevelt) Honorable Mention in Microbiology
  • Rosy Banda-Rivera (North) Honorable Mention in Chemistry and Physics
  • Gabriel Mintzer (Central Academy/Valley) Iowa Space Science Consortium $5000 scholarship, 1st Place Chemistry and Physics, Overall Grand Champion


Champion Overall (2nd Place Project): Kate Beeman, 7th Grade, Merrill

Grand Honorable Mention: John Puri, 7th Grade, Merrill

Broadcom MASTERS: Kate Beeman, John Puri, Luke Garcia, Abigail Levering, Campbell Helton, & Christie Rus

Astronomy, Earth, Environmental Science:

  • 2nd Place: Alex Pond & Joshua Campos, 6th Grade, Weeks
  • Honorable Mention: Emma Donahey 7th Grade, Brody

Behavioral & Social Sciences:

  • Overall Best Project, 1st Place: Abigail Levering, 8th Grade, Brody
  • 2nd Place: Zadie Hoff & Julia Moody 6th Grade, Cowles
  • Honorable Mention: Ethan Cusimano & Dan Pham, 6th Grade, Weeks


  • 1st Place: Luke Garcia, 6th Grade, Merrill
  • Honorable Mention: Madeline Lohmeir, 6th Grade, Merrill
  • Honorable Mention: Leo Gaukel, 6th Grade, Merrill
  • Overall Best Project, 1st Place: John Puri, 7th Grade, Merrill
  • Honorable Mention: Macy Mouw, 7th Grade, Merrill

Engineering, Physics,& Math:

  • Overall Best Project, 1st Place: Campbell Helton, 6th Grade, Merrill
  • 2nd Place: Christie Rus, 8th Grade, Merrill
  • 3rd Place: Lilly Grasmick, 6th Grade, Merrill
  • Honorable Mention: Jacqueline Bernardino, 8th Grade, McCombs

Microbiology, Biomedical, & Health Sciences:

  • Overall Best Project, 1st Place: Kate Beeman, 7th Grade, Merrill

Plant Sciences:

  • 3rd Place: Nina Lopez & Faith Nguyen, 6th Grade, Weeks
  • Honorable Mention: Olivia Speers, 6th Grade, Cowles
  • 3rd Place: Emma Phomovisay, 7th Grade, Merrill
  • Honorable Mention: David Williams, 8th Grade Cowles
  • Honorable Mention: Lauren Drake & Gabrielle Miller, 8th Grade, Cowles


Science Excellence Award:

  • Jenna Link, 8th Grade Cowles
  • Lulu Rongerude, 7th Grade Merrill

NASA Earth Systems Award:

  • Ryan Huang, 7th Grade Merrill

Discovery Award:

  • Emma Donahey, 7th Grade Brody
Published on