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Idaho Science & Engineering Fair Staff

Merrie Rampy - State Fair DirectorEmail

Between 1977 and 2016 I taught all levels of math and science, from remedial to AP, for grades 7-12 in six different school districts in four different states.  I am certified to teach math and science in Montana, Nevada, and Idaho, and earned National Board Certification in science in 2006.  I have six children and four grandchildren living in California, Idaho, Montana, and the Czech Republic.  I am no longer teaching k-12 and am now focusing on getting ISEF affiliated Science Fairs going in Idaho.  I am also teaching some elementary methods classes at Lewis Clark State College in Lewiston.  I can’t imagine better semi-retirement jobs than working with the Idaho STEM AC to bring Science Fairs to our state and working with future teachers!

Cindy Thorngen - Mentorship Coordinator - Email

A lifelong Idahoan Cindy almost followed her parents into teaching but instead graduated from Boise State with a degree in marketing. Cindy worked in the non-profit field for 10 years including three years as Executive Director at Junior Achievement of Idaho.  She transitioned to software training/testing and IT project management until more recently returning to her education roots including substitute teaching in the Boise District.  In 2013 she started her organization, STEM Idaho, using social media to expand awareness of the many STEM activities educators and after-school programs were offering in the state.  She currently serves on the Idaho’s Bias & Sensitivity Committee which reviews new SBAC test questions each year and is the co-chair of Million Women Mentors – Idaho which works to increase women and girls participation in STEM programs and careers.  Cindy is the Mentoring Coordinator for the Idaho STEM Action Center and is involved in recruiting mentors and designing an online mentoring platform for the Action Center’s projects.

Brad Howard - Judging Coordinator and SRC Chair - Email

Brad was born and raised in Massachusetts. After receiving a B.S. in Chemistry from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he moved to Boise in 1993 to work for Micron Technology. At Micron, he worked as an engineer doing process development for semiconductor devices, and then managed process development in the Etch area of Micron's R&D facility. In 2003, Brad and his family moved to California. During his years in California, he was a Principal Engineer working on process and device development at Intel Corporation, a Managing Director for core etch technology at Lam Research Corporation, and Vice President of Etch Advanced Technology at Applied Materials Corporation. Brad and his family really missed living in Boise, so they moved back in 2014. He retired from the semiconductor industry in spring of 2016, and he has kept himself busy since then by working on the Idaho Science & Engineering Fairs, gardening, mountain bike riding, and doing science experiments / engineering projects with his two sons.