Op-Ed: Shoreline STEM Festival and Science Fair is a "Must-See"

Monday, March 20, 2017

A young exhibitor at last year's Shoreline STEM Fair
Photo by Peter Tong
Ray Koelling lived in Lake Forest Park for 25 years. His son went through Shoreline Schools from LFP Elementary to Kellogg to Shorecrest.

Ray organized the Shoreline Science Fair at Shoreline Community College over five years ago. Now that he has moved to Spokane, others are running the Fair, with Ray's enthusiastic support.

By Ray Koelling

I would like to offer my full and enthusiastic support for the “must see” Shoreline STEM Festival and Science Fair. It is being held May 20, 2017 at Shoreline Community College.

My name is Ray Koelling. Mariko and I lived in Lake Forest Park until recently. Our son Kennosuke went through the Shoreline School District and graduated Shorecrest in 2010. Currently he is about to finish his Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering at UW.

About six years ago, I helped organize and start up the very first edition of the Shoreline Science Fair. Great people helped with that original fair and each year the fair continues to grow, expand and improve.

It is an important event in K-12 STEM education for the local region and worthy of everyone’s support. 

Whether a student eventually will work in a STEM profession or not, it cannot be over-emphasized how critical it is for every person in society to have a firmer and more solidly grounded idea about STEM.

Environmental, local, personal, global, political, social, technological and economic decisions are currently being made almost entirely emotionally and irrationally by societies. 
Unfortunately, without the critical “thinking through” and reasoning that is a basic and easily learned tool and forms the very fiber of STEM, positive progress in society is elusive, sporadic and can even come to a dead stop.

Although I came to Spokane to retire, I’m now on the lecture faculty for the UW School of Medicine in Spokane. I’ve not forgotten students and science fairs. I’m still on the Board of the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair (the 60th year, March 31/April 1 in Bremerton). Hoping to see some of you there.

Additionally, on March 16, the first ever Eastern Washington Regional Science and Engineering Fair was held in Spokane and which I helped organize and start. At least 25 students and teachers from that fair will travel 300 miles and attend the state fair in Bremerton. The big news is that two superior projects and students from Spokane are being sent, all expenses paid, directly to the International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles this May to compete against 1,800 high school students from 70 countries. I hope Shoreline will one day soon be represented at both state and internationally.

From President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address: “The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations.” “We need to teach our kids that it is not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the Science Fair”.

Please come see the 700 students and projects from all around the state in Bremerton March 31 and April 1. And look me up then.

Do be sure to attend the Shoreline Fair on May 20. Think about and see how your kids can turn a good science project into awards, scholarships, cash and other prizes of over a million and a half dollars we give away every spring at the Washington State Fair. Shoreline students deserve the chance to be part of those rewards and have that lifetime opportunity.


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