Tennessee High School Students Compete in STEM Research Symposium at UT

 

KNOXVILLE—More than forty students and teachers representing sixteen high schools from across the state were invited to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, earlier this month for the forty-seventh annual Tennessee Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. Twelve students presented original research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as they competed for college scholarships.

The 2012 Tennessee Junior Science and Humanities Symposium winners. Pictured left to right: (back row) Amelia Dmowska of Farragut High School, Andrew Messing of Hardin Valley Academy, (front row) Darby Schumacher of Baylor School, Adam Bowman  of Montgomery Bell Academy, and  Jiahe "Ben" Gu of Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet High School. The symposium consisted of student oral research presentations judged by a panel of UT faculty; tours of various research laboratories at UT and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory where students interacted with world-renowned researchers; and a teacher professional development workshop focused on mentoring student research.

Although the Tennessee Junior Science and Humanities Symposium has had a long history at UT, new schools participate each year. This year’s school representation included a mix of public, private, and parochial schools from across the state according to Engin Serpersu, director of the program.

“School administrators have recognized teacher participation in the Tennessee Junior Science and Humanities Symposium is an important vehicle for advancing STEM education in their schools, and parents see their child’s participation as not only an enrichment of the student’s education but also a chance to win scholarship monies that can be used at the university or college of the student’s choice,” Serpersu said.

The top student presenters were:

  • Adam Bowman, a senior at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, took first place overall and a $2,000 scholarship with his presentation, “The Development of Low Voltage, Solid-State Plasma Focus Devices for Portable Radiation Sources.”
  • Jiahe “Ben” Gu, a senior at Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School in Nashville, won second place and a $1,500 scholarship with his presentation, “Human Hemoglobin Polymorphisms Affect Recognition by S. aurus Receptor IsdB.”
  • Amelia Dmowska, a senior at Farragut High School in Knoxville, received third place and a $1,000 scholarship with her presentation, “Effect of Low Dose X-Ray Radiation on Mouse Macrophage Cells.”
  • Andrew Messing of Hardin Valley Academy in Knoxville and Darby Schumacher of Baylor School in Chattanooga received honorable mentions.

Engin Serpersu, director of the Tennessee Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, presents the 2012 Teacher Mentor Award to Debbie Sayers, teacher at Hardin Valley Academy. These five students will represent Tennessee at the National JSHS in Bethesda, Maryland, May 2-6, with the top two winners competing against students from forty-eight states for additional scholarships. Students finishing in the top twenty-four at nationals will earn the right to compete at the London International Youth Science Forum this summer.

In addition, teacher Debbie Sayers of Hardin Valley Academy received the 2012 Teacher Mentor Award for her extraordinary contribution to mentoring high school students in their original research.

The Tennessee Junior Science and Humanities Symposium is one of forty-eight programs hosted by leading research universities in the United States. For more information about the Tennessee JSHS, visit jshs-tn.utk.edu/.

C O N T A C T:

Carole Vosdingh, coordinator of the Tennessee Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, (865-974-0963, jrscihum@utk.edu)

Engin Serpersu, director of the Tennessee Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (865-974-2668, serpersu@utk.edu)

 

 

 

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