312 students to participate in first annual STEM Expo


Sophomore Julie Curtis prepares to isolate DNA for the upcoming STEM Expo April 2.

Lindsey Buck

Sophomore Julie Curtis prepares to isolate DNA for the upcoming STEM Expo April 2.

With chickens, mice, birds, and magic, the Great Falls Public School STEM Expo is expected to be more than just an exciting science fair.

“I am so excited to see so many students and community members showing an interest in STEM Expo and preparing projects,” gifted education teacher and event coordinator Mary Rearden said.

 The STEM Expo will feature students’ projects in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Students will have the opportunity to share their projects with judges as well as people from their community.

It was put together by a committee including Tom Moore, Ruth Uecker, Katie Kotynski, Shelly Kelly, Kim Kellogg, Jon Konen, Luke Diekhans, Jan Mader, Jean Jones, Beth Thomas, Chris Olszewski, and Rearden. It will be held on April 2.

“We wanted students to extend their learning in science, math, and technology classes to investigate their own projects and develop expertise and excitement for science, technology, engineering, and math,” Rearden said. She said she wants to see many students get involved in this event, as well as prepare projects.

“We had hoped we would have at least 50 projects this year, but we have 163 student projects involving 312 students and 19 community demonstrations,” Rearden said. Some of these demonstrations include newly hatched chicks, mice from the McLaughlin Research Institute, and a chemistry magic show designed by honors chemistry students at CMR.

Students of any age are welcome to participate. Since the STEM Expo has never been done in the past, there are many details to work out, according to Rearden.

“There are so many different aspects and details that I need to attend to for it to be well organized, and I want it to be perfect. I want everyone to have a great time without any glitches,” she said. Rearden said that the STEM Expo was not only created for students to but for the community as well.

“I recommend that people come to the Expo.  One of our goals and part of the design was so that it is as much for people who come to the event as it is for those presenting at the event.  Everyone who has prepared a project had to design some form of participation for the people who come to the event,” she said.

One person who will be enjoying the event is CMR teacher and advisor Tom Cubbage.

“It is really new to me, so I am excited to see what kinds of projects and activities are at the expo,” Cubbage said. He said that even though some students might be nervous to present their projects, he knows they will do a good job.

“The purpose from my perspective is twofold. Education of the public about science, technology, engineering, and math, and  to educate the public about what kinds of things Great Falls students are doing in the science and math areas,” Cubbage said.

One student participating in the STEM Expo science field is sophomore Julie Curtis.

“I hope to gain more insight about the science, technology, and math subjects,” Curtis said. She will be isolating DNA, a concept she said she is familiar with due to her biology class this year.

“I will receive the knowledge of being better involved with my peers and ideas,” Curtis said. She said that although she is not nervous, she believes that it will be challenging to put all of the time and effort in that is required to make her project perfect.

“Seeing all of the students’ projects is part of what is so great about this event.”