STEAM Fair Winners

Salamanca families gathered Tuesday to explore the exhibits of more than 130 student STEAM Fair projects.

Contestants include students from Seneca Intermediate Art and Music classes, eighth-grade contenders from Mrs. Johnson, Science, Projects from Mr. Jankowski's Zoology students, and dozens of individual research projects on various subjects from the high school.

"Offering students a platform to design collective displays and present their scientific research is paramount to the development of the next generation of Science & Technology leaders," said Superintendent Robert Breidenstein. "Out annual Fair is an integral component to our vision to establish a fully comprehensive and innovative STEAM educational program." 

One team of students created unique pieces for a Spanish festival Las Fallas 3D Printing project.

Twelfth-grade senior Connor Klute designed an eight-foot Virtual Reality display showing his longtime pet project, "The SoundScape Experience." Eleventh-grade student, CJ Parameter, provided an elucidation on the design and build of a GoKart Build created in her father's home shop.  And Sophmore, Mitchell Schnaufer,  presented his GIS  class' a Map of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman.

"It is very rewarding to see our students engaged in meaningful projects as we focus on community learning experiences in Salamanca," commented Deputy Superintendent and STEAM Fair judge Dr. Mark Beehler. 

The amount of time that students and teachers spend preparing for science fairs varies widely, depending on how independent the students are, how much support they have at home and whether the project is elective or part of the classroom curriculum. After school, STEAM clubs meet once to twice a week for a couple of hours, and district officials estimate that in the fall and winter, they spend about 15 hours per month outside of class on particular activities, such as the STEAM Fair. 

Mrs. Johnson has each of her eighth-grade students complete one STEAM project as part of their eighth-grade Science grade.  It keeps you sharp because you are learning," said Johnson.

"The student is educating you as a teacher, which I think is wonderful. They're getting to tell you their discoveries. The roles get reversed there; that's what I think is exciting for me."

This year's STEAM Fair contestants could choose a STEAM engineering project where they identify a problem/question and a solution to the query—or conduct a Science experiment,  research project, and presentation, like in previous years.

"Our academic community is a competitive bunch," commented Straus, "We introduced a new rubric, which broadened the scope of the STEAM fair to include engineering design and gave our proverbial STEAM athletes some exciting trophies and prizes tiers to work towards."

Thirty-eight Salamanca students walked away with First, Second, and Third place trophies,  Barnes and Noble gift card prizes. Additionally, the Fair awarded four grand prizes that included a dual extruder 3d printer, which went to Connor Klute, Cole Johnson, the High School GIS class, and the Eighth Grade Spanish Class. 

"It was a real pleasure to realize that it was quite the year to put all of this together and to the degree of excellence," said Jody Clark, Executive Director of the Western Door Community Development Corporation in Salamanca, NY, who also served as a judge in this year's STEAM Fair. 

Salamanca's annual STEAM Fair is funded through the New York State Education Department (NYSED) SUNY Fredonia's STEP program.

To learn more about Fredonia's STEP program, please visit

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