FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 5, 2015
By Sierra Jones, ONR Corporate Strategic Communications
ARLINGTON, Va.—Assistant Chief of Naval Research Capt. Robert Palisin, from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), was on-hand to present awards and congratulate some of the nation’s top science- and engineering-focused high school students at the 53rd National Junior Science & Humanities Symposium, or JSHS, in Hunt Valley, Maryland, on May 2.
For 53 years, students have come together each spring to share their independent research with peers, teachers, military leaders and others. This year’s National JSHS saw 225 students gather from April 29 to May 2 for the annual STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) competition.
“These students are some of the best and brightest upcoming researchers in the country,” said Palisin. “The work they are doing today, and what they will pursue in college—from medical advances to development of alternative fuels—is vital for the Navy, Marine Corps and our nation.”
Sponsored by the Navy, Army and Air Force, the JSHS national symposium represents the culmination of dozens of regional symposia held at various universities around the country. Students from private, public and home schools can compete by presenting original scientific research—and at this year’s national event, some walked away with academic scholarships.
JSHS began in 1958 and today includes participation by students and teachers from across the United States, Puerto Rico and Department of Defense (DoD) schools in Europe and Asia. DoD partners with the Academy of Applied Science to put on the event, hosted on a rotating basis by the departments of the Navy, Army and Air Force. The Army hosted this year’s event and the Navy will host again in 2017.
“For 20 years, the Navy has supported the goals and purposes of JSHS,” said Dr. Michael Simpson, director of education and workforce at ONR. “Each year we look forward to recognizing and celebrating the science and humanities capabilities of these young researchers and augmenting their awareness of naval STEM opportunities.
“The event also allows the Navy to challenge these researchers to continuously build their knowledge and connections to collectively advance the safety, security, and well-being of the United States and its allies.”
A component of the competition offered participants a “DoD STEM Experience”—offering students an opportunity to engage with DoD professionals and learn about cutting-edge research and technologies.
During that portion of the event, Kurt Yankaskas, program manager at ONR, talked with students about his research on noise-induced hearing loss. Navy Reservists and other civilian and uniformed naval representatives also participated in judging student presentations and posters.
For additional exposure to DoD scientists and engineers, students toured DoD facilities including the U.S. Naval Academy and the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. On these tours, students were able to see wind tunnels, tow tanks, engine test facilities, a fabrication lab and talk with onsite professionals about a wide array of engineering topics.
The top two finalists from each region presented their research in seven oral competition categories, while the remaining students presented research posters. The top three students from each oral competition category won undergraduate tuition scholarships in the amounts of $12,000 for first place, $8,000 for second place and $4,000 for third place. Poster presenters also won recognition awards up to $1,000.
Appearing with Palisin was Mary Miller, deputy assistant secretary of the Army (Research and Technology); and Thomas Christian, director, Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
This year, the first place winners were:
• Environmental Science: Ian Fleming, Petersburg High School, Petersburg, Alaska
Topic: Survival of Hatching Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) in Relation to the Application of Glyphosate Based Herbicides.
• Life Sciences: Alon Millet, Bergen County Academies, Hackensack, New Jersey
Topic: Phytobiological Responses to Cellulose Binding Domain: Mechanisms, Implications, and Commercialization
• Medicine & Health: Juliet Ivanov, Ossining High School, Ossining, New York
Topic: Investigating the Protective Effects of Interleukin 22 on Intestinal Epithelium: Potential Graft-versus-Host Disease Treatment
• Mathematics & Computer Science: Melissa Yu, Farragut High School, Knoxville, Tennesse
Topic: Developing an Automatic Nonrigid Image Registration Algorithm for Nanoscience Research
• Physical Science: Arjun Dhawan, Signature School, Evansville, Indiana
Topic: Object Recognition for the Visually Impaired
• Chemistry: Jessica Kim, Manhasset High School, Manhasset, New York
Topic: Improving the Efficiency of Inverted Organic Photovoltaics with Gold Functionalized Reduced Graphene Oxide and Phase-Separated Polymer Morphology
• Engineering: Dhruv Iyer, Hamilton High School, Chandler, Arizona
Topic: Development and Optimization of a Multimodal Natural User Interface for use by People with Severe Motor Disabilities to Play Computer Games
Sierra Jones is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications.
About the Office of Naval Research
The Department of the Navy’s Office of Naval Research provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps’ technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 55 countries, 634 institutions of higher learning and nonprofit institutions and over 960 industry partners. ONR through its commands including headquarters, ONR Global and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., employs more than 3,800 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel.