Congratulations to three Lee County School District students for placing at the 63rd Annual State Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) of Florida STEM Competition. More than 900 aspiring engineers, scientists and mathematicians competed to win $1.2 million in awards, prizes, scholarships and internships.

Fort Myers High School Junior Dahlia Dry won a First Place Category Award in Mathematics and Computational Sciences and three Special Awards for her exoplanet candidate detection project. Dahlia opened the science fair as the Junior and Senior Outstanding Narratives (JASON) Colloquium Speaker. Her speech, one of just seven, “Math: The Story of an Unrequited Love,” can be seen at

Dahlia is a two time winner of the Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

She now advances to this year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in Pittsburgh, PA in May.

Pavan Patel, an 8th grader at Paul Lawrence Dunbar Middle School won a Second Place Category Award for his Chemistry experiment. His classmate, Michael Cherbini, won a Third Place Category Award for his project in Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Of the 28 student scientists and engineers from the 61st annual Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Regional Science and Engineering Fair who qualified for the State Science Fair, 22 of them received state-level recognition by winning multiple 1st, 2nd or 3rd Place Category Awards, Honorable Mention, Recognition Awards, and Special Awards.

Five of the 22 students, including Fort Myers High School’s Dahlia Dry and Jackson Windhorst, move on to the International Science and Engineering Fair. You can see the full list of Southwest Florida winners from the State Science Fair at