KENT Gives Back to Next Generation of Researchers at 4-H Youth Development’s Annual State Science & Technology


AMES, Iowa (May 15, 2023) – Giving back to the communities where KENT operates is integral to our business and culture. With this in mind, Soma Gandikota, Director of Research and New Product Development for KENT Pet Group, opted to offer up his time and leadership abilities to around 500 young researchers from across the state of Iowa as a volunteer judge during the 4-H Youth Development’s 66th annual State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa (SSTFI) in March.

SSTFI, hosted at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa, serves as a platform for student researchers in grades 6-12 to meet with professional researchers and communicate their findings and understanding of the research process. SSTFI comprises fifteen categories for youth to enter their STEM research project including Plant Sciences, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Physics & Astronomy, and Engineering.

Gandikota, who holds a Ph.D. in Cereal Science, was inspired by the young minds he interacted with, and the science projects displayed during the fair.

“I had the opportunity to judge the Physics & Astronomy category,” said Gandikota, “It was incredibly fulfilling to give back to the next generation of researchers all while representing KENT.”

On day one of the of the event, judges reviewed each project in their respective categories and then ranked them on a 1-5 scale per the SSTFI criteria. The top three projects from each category were combined on day two and the best overall project was selected by the panel of judges to close out the event. 

“Talking to the students was a great experience; I could gauge their investment, knowledge, and passion by asking scientific questions,” said Gandikota, “I was impressed by their ideas and look forward to representing KENT at future fairs.” 

For more information on the SSTFI, including a look-ahead to next year’s fair, visit

About KENT Corporation 
With origins in the livestock feed business, today KENT Corporation is a diversified, family-owned company headquartered in Muscatine, Iowa (USA) with operating subsidiaries involved in corn wet milling, the production of animal feeds, and the manufacture of food, beverage, and pet products. KENT is led by third generation family member, Gage A. Kent. KENT serves customers across the world and employs approximately two thousand people in 40 locations across 20 states and seven countries.

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