Apr 27, 2011

The 49th National Junior Science & Humanities Symposium Opens in San Diego

“We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated,” said President Obama in his State of the Union address before the Congress, “but the winner of the science fair.”

It’s no secret that colleges and universities are upgrading their efforts to recruit strong STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) applicants to fill departments hungry for undergrads with research or other lab experience.

College-bound high school students would be wise to take the hint and redouble their efforts to explore this great route to college (and significant scholarship money) by investigating opportunities to showcase skills in these areas.

So how should you get started? One way is to see what other students across the country are doing in the way of scientific research.

This year, the 49th National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) is traveling to San Diego. Between April 29 and 30, a total of 96 students will present their research to panels of expert judges in a competition that could net them as much as $12,000 and an all-expense paid trip to London.

The JSHS program promotes original research and experimentation in the sciences, engineering and mathematics at the high school level by organizing a series of regional and national symposiums during the academic year at 48 universities located throughout the country and abroad. Literally thousands of students compete in categories including environmental science, life sciences, medicine & health/behavioral sciences, engineering, mathematics & computer sciences, and theoretical physics.

DC area students competing in the national JSHS event are representing Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, Yorktown High School, Montgomery Blair High School, the Academy of Science, and Poolesville High School. They’ve worked with mentors from Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins, NIH, the University of Maryland, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

And there is significant money at stake—both at the regional and national levels. Sponsors who support the regional competitions provide scholarships, cash awards, and other prizes in addition to the huge contributions from the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

By the way, teachers can get in on the prizes as well. A $500 award goes each year to one teacher from each of the 48 regions, honoring his or her contributions to advancing student participation in research.

Learn more about how high school students can get involved in local Junior Science and Humanities Symposia by visiting the JSHS website. A complete roster of students participating in San Diego as well as a list of paper titles is also available on the site.

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