Every summer, we make it our mission to recognize six all-star students who exhibit hard work, dedication and a commitment to using STEM to serve their school and community. Students are nominated by their teacher for their love of learning. The winners are then carefully selected by MDU Resources and Gateway to Science. Students in grades 1-12 attending North Dakota schools are eligible.
The 2021 STEM All-Star students are:
Kallen Albers | Center Stanton Elementary School | 6th Grade
“Scientists are noted for their careful observations, wild experiments, and close questioning. As a 6th grade student, Kallen has demonstrated that he is not only well on his way to being a scientist, but already is,” Ms. Gusewelle wrote in the nomination of her student. After completing his assignments, Kallen enjoys tinkering with whatever he has in his desk to create something new or to create something differently. Kallen not only demonstrates the 4 C’s – Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity – but has an excitement and enthusiasm for them.
Mackenzie Johnson | Century High School (Bismarck) | 12th Grade
At the top of her class with a diverse set of interests and accomplishments, Mackenzie is a driven and focused student. “Mackenzie has been a leader in Century High School’s Science Olympiad program for all four of the years she has been a student at the school, and has won first place in most of her events over the four years of competing,” noted her anatomy teacher, Mr. Johnson. Mackenzie has completed seven AP-level courses throughout her high school career and is looking forward to the next step in her education. Her college goals are to become a forensic pathologist, one who works on cadavers to determine the cause of death and/or pathology of the body systems to determine the cause of certain disorders and diseases.
Braden Ficklin | Mandan Middle School | 8th Grade
Braden’s critical thinking skills and creativity were highlighted while learning HTML during a web design unit. He was able to find and use code that was not taught in class to make his website really stand out. Braden is looking into business opportunities, designing a new website, and dabbling with video game design. In the classroom, he often is a great help to his fellow students. According to his teacher Mr. Dossenko, “Braden’s ability to work in groups and help students who need a different point of view to learn is a real gift.” Classmates agree, with one noting, “It was like having two teachers in the classroom.”
Lydia Wolfe | Mandan Middle School | 7th Grade
Lydia has a deep fascination for how things work and may enjoy a career in engineering. She has a strong motivation to learn and develop an understanding of topics, and shows a wonderful depth of understanding and the ability to connect classroom concepts to real-life scenarios. “Lydia works well with classmates and lab group members,” observed nominating teacher Mr. Long. “She communicates and collaborates so naturally to the point that each member in her group feels like a valued teammate and contributor to the learning process.”
Kiara Irizarry | Mandan Middle School | 7th Grade
Born in Puerto Rico, Kiara’s family moved to the United States when she was eight years old and in second grade. “While Kiara does well in all her classes, her favorite is science. She has a real passion for it,” according to her teacher Ms. Dagman. Kiara is very inquisitive and able to apply new information to other areas of existing knowledge. She asks insightful questions in class and then works out the answers on her own or in a small group. Her teachers agree she is impressive when it comes to how hard of a worker she is and that she will be an asset to any class or community she is a part of.
David Bettenhausen | Myhre Elementary School (Bismarck) | 4th Grade
David puts the 4C’s to use every day in his classroom and is often found assisting his fellow students. His class created a map of tourist attractions in North Dakota and coded an Ozobot to travel to each place. “Many students had a hard time coding their Ozobot, and David went to other students and helped them with the coding,” noted classroom teacher Ms. Hjelmstad. David enjoys going to STEM camp and creating things; he is going to be working on a free little library for his yard.
In honor of their accomplishment, the Larks will recognize each STEM All-Star during MDU Resources Group and Gateway to Science STEM Night on Saturday, August 7.
Each STEM All-Star receives the following:
- Personalized Larks jersey
- (4) Larks tickets to a select game
- Recognition in in the Larks game day program
- On-field recognition at STEM Night
- A Gateway to Science One-Year Student Membership