University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

UND to host North Dakota State Science and Engineering Fair April 4-5, with special guest Kirsten Baesler

Kirsten Baesler

Kirsten Baesler

UND is set to host the North Dakota State Science and Engineering Fair (NDSSEF), with special guest Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota superintendent of public instruction, Thursday, April 4 and Friday, April 5.

More than 200 middle and high school students and their families are expected to attend. Student projects will be available for viewing by the public from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, April 5, in the Memorial Union Ballroom.

The fair will bring together more than 100 judges and teachers from across the state who are involved in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Students who placed as top competitors in regional science fairs will come to Grand Forks to compete at the state level. UND also is slated to host the 2014 State Science Fair.

About Kirsten Baesler:

This event will be Baesler's first official visit to UND since being elected to her current position last November.

Baesler has served in many areas of education beginning as an elementary aide to children with intellectual disabilities. She has two associate degrees from Bismarck State College, a bachelor's degree in K-8 education from Minot State University, an information and technology specialist degree from Valley City State University, and a master's degree in education and library information technology from Valley City State University. She began her public school system career as a library assistant, a library media specialist. She was an assistant principal in the Bismarck Public School District. Baesler was elected to the Mandan School Board in 2004 where she served as president from 2005 to 2012. She has served on local and state committees addressing issues impacting teachers, school boards, and students.

Hands-on activities:

In addition to presenting their projects for judging, students compete for invitations to advance their project to the International Science and Engineering Fair as well as for prizes, cash awards and scholarship opportunities.

During this year's fair, the competing students will visit various departments on campus to complete a variety of hands-on science and engineering activities with UND students and faculty.

"Giving these students a hands-on exercise – working next to current students of engineering and the sciences – will help them connect science learning to the real-world experiences of university students seeking these careers," said Laura Munski, executive director of the Dakota Science Center, one of the partners in this year's fair.

The Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau also stepped up as a partner and co-sponsor for the Science Fair.

The College of Engineering and Mines spearheaded the planning of the event, along with many other UND departments, faculty and staff; members of the Grand Forks community also contributed their time and resources to help make the event possible.

-- David L. Dodds, media relations/writer and editor, University and Public Affairs, 777.5529,

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