The Western Nevada Regional Science & Engineering Fair traces its roots back to 1964, when it was under the direction of Dr. Ken Johns of the College of Education at the University of Nevada. Under Johns and then Dr. John Trent, another College of Education professor, the fair grew from about 100 to 200 participants to nearly 600 by the time the reins were turned over to Dr. Tom Lugaski, administrator of the Mackay School of Mines and Engineering Keck Museum, in the late 1980s.

During Lugaski's directorship, participation grew even more, to more than 1,000 participants by the time the well-liked and well-respected campus fixture died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 2000.

Ochs, along with Dr. Julie Ellsworth, took over as director of the fair following Lugaski's death, with Ochs assuming the position by himself in 2002.

The goal of the Western Nevada Regional Science & Engineering Fair (WNRS&EF) competition is to promote scientific thinking, creativity, and innovation. The competition is an opportunity for students to exhibit their creative and critical thinking abilities and compete for recognition. Student-athletes have opportunities to show their stuff during athletic competitions; the WNRS&EF is like a big tournament for student-scientists.

Executive Director

George T. Ochs


Scientific Review

Dr. Richard Simmonds


Head Judge

George T. Ochs



George Ochs


Public Relations

Heather Emmons


Display & Safety

Cathy Hackler


Advisory Board

Dwight Egbert

University of Nevada, Reno

Dr. Julie Ellsworth

Truckee Meadows Community College

Dr. Steve Ellsworth

Sierra Nevada College

Heather Emmons

Nevada Resources Conservation Service

Erin Macaluso

Depoali Middle School

Cathy Hackler

CC Meneley ES

Sam Macaluso

Retired Nevada National Guard & WCSD

Dr. Richard Vineyard

Nevada Department of Education

Dr. Regina Tempel

College of Science, UNR

Board of Directors


George T. Ochs


Dr. Richard Simmonds,

University of Nevada, Reno

Emeritus Director of Laboratory Animal Medicine


Jim Bryn,

Bishop Manogue Catholic High School (retired)


Ron Geyer,

North Valleys High School (retired)

Nevada Science Fair