Brown recognized for work

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

The Los Alamos County Science Fair, with the help of coordinator Dawn Brown, runs like a well-oiled machine. In fact, some may say that she’s helped make the fair an event worthy of praise.
The praise was heaped upon her last weekend, when volunteer, and husband, Art Brown was asked to stop the awards ceremonies for a brief pause, as Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gene Schmidt acknowledged Brown before the crowd.
“Dawn Brown is terrific,” Schmidt said. “Under her guidance and direction, participation in the science fair has become the thing to do. What makes her special is her ability to stay in perpetual motion. As a community, we need to offer one giant collective thanks.”
Brown, along with committee members Andy Erickson, Mary Ethel Plotner, Ryan Ross, Randy Ryti, Eva Abeyta, Heather Coy, Barb Musgrave, Katie Tauxe, Becky Steritz, Becky Littleton, Amy Gilbert, Debbie Smith and Susan O’Brien, work behind the scenes for months, to pull off the day’s events.
More than 321 students represented 309 projects on Saturday, filling Los Alamos High School with science, technology and more volunteers than can possibly be named in a single story.
“We have an incredible support system of judges in Los Alamos,” Brown said. “Our 100-plus judges gave of themselves Friday evening for the judges meeting and from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. I cannot say enough about such a large group of people who dedicated the better part of their weekend to work with our youth. There is no way to thank them for all that they do each year when asked to help judge at the County Science Fair.”
Brown credits the numerous volunteers for being the backbone to the fair and said she values them all.
One addition to the event this year was the Los Alamos National Laboratory Post-Doc group. “They brought youth, cultural diversity and excitement to our students,” Brown said.
The judges went above and beyond the call of duty to assist youth in being successful not only in the science fair, but in other areas, as well.
Brown arranged for several students to be interviewed early, in order for one to attend a prior religious engagement, and several local youth swimmers to be on time for their local swim meet the same day.
“I love seeing the enthusiasm of our youth when they present their projects to the judges or come across the stage for a high-five from Dr. Schmidt,” Brown said. “Our students represented themselves and our schools with pride.”
Once again, the J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee, along with new co-sponsor CB Fox, made sure each student received a T-shirt for their participation.
The 32 organizations and private donors ensure that the LAPS Science Fair Committee can present a science fair each year and Brown said the community responds without hesitation.
The donors range from small, anonymous donations, like a $10 gift card, to community groups like the Elks, Beta Sigma Phi, the Masonic Lodge, Parent Teacher Organizations, Kiwanis and businesses such as Los Alamos National Bank, the Los Alamos Schools Credit Union, Los Alamos National Laboratory and more.
“We value each and every sponsor that we receive and we know the students do also,” Brown said. “Economically it’s been a tough year for our area, however, the level of support we received matched past years. That says a lot about how valued our Los Alamos County Science Fair is to our community.”
The regional qualifiers will meet for an informational dinner Feb. 13 in preparation for the March 2 Northeastern New Mexico Regional Science and Engineering Fair at New Mexico Highlands University.
The 2014 science fair is set for Jan. 24 and 25.