45th Annual West Virginia

Junior Science and Humanities Symposium

March 19-20, 2010

West Virginia Wesleyan College; Buckhannon, WV

Contact Info
Apply Here
National JSHS

2005-2006 Regional & National Awards

2006 WV-JSHS finalists at the National Symposium.  Left to right:  Kelydra Welcker (Parkersburg High School), Bronwyn Cockburn (Morgantown High School), Sripadh Balasubramanian (Franklin High School), and Sarah Harshman (Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy).  Not pictured:  Garrett Robinson (Magnolia High School).  Congratulations to Kelydra and Sarah, who competed at the National JSHS, and special congratulations to Kelydra, who won a third place award at the National Symposium. 

The 2007 WV-JSHS Teacher Award was given to Mrs. Deborah Rothacher of Magnolia High School for her consistently strong support of student research.

Finalists' Abstracts (Alphabetical Order)

Sripadh Balasubramanian, Frankfort High School

            Sponsoring Teacher:  Tabatha Woy

            Research Mentor: Sue Ann Heatherly, National Radio Astronomy Observatory 

Red Shifts and Blue Shifts

             The objective of this project is to determine the amount, velocity (also the direction. If it is approaching earth it is a blue shift and the opposite is a red shift), and the number of the HI molecules in the galactic plane that has the right ascension of 00:23:00-1:00:00 and declination of 31.

            My hypothesis is that since 00:23:00-1:00:00 is only a little more than a half hour, the velocity should have either a positive or a negative correlation. Also, I believe that the amount of HI through the given right ascension should be dealing with red shifts becoming blue shifts by looking at the data. I also surmise the amount of HI will have no say in anything.

Procedures:  These apply to every peak on each set of data:  First I found the frequency of the all the peaks in MHz.  Then, I applied the frequency in the following equation-

                  V= c x (1420.41- observed frequency)/1420.41

When V= velocity and c= 300,000 km/s (speed of light). If the answer is negative, a red shift is happening and if there is a positive answer, a blue shift.

Then, I found the area of the peak by using this equation –

                        Velocity (km/s) x Antenna T. (K)

Then, I applied the last equation to find the amount of HI atoms in cm squared-

                  The area (in units of (km/sec)(K) x a constant = number of H atoms/cm2

            The results were that the velocity increased drastically between 23 and 34 but then only increases a little, but the amount of HI has no correlation with any variable.

My hypothesis was correct! The velocity increased an incredible 10 km/s between 26 and 34 right ascension. But after that, the velocity only increased a fraction of an amount every 7 minutes. However, the amounts of HI atoms have no correlation with the right ascension or velocity whatsoever. Using this data we can surmise that the HI atoms have no say in the velocity.

Bronwyn Cockburn, Morgantown High School

            Research Mentor:  Martina Bachlechner, Ph.D., West Virginia University

Molecular-dynamics Simulations of Silicon-Silicon Nitride Systems

 Using molecular-dynamics simulations, we studied the effects of strain and thickness on the fracturing of crystalline silicon/silicon nitride systems. We specifically studied how the thickness of the silicon nitride film affected the stress versus strain function as the system was stretched. We also noted the effects on the stress along different planes of the system. This research is applicable to silicon solar cells with layers of Si3N4 to protect them.

Sarah Harshman, Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy

             Research Mentor: Robert Kreisberg, Ph.D., West Liberty State College

 Effects of Ginseng on Phagocytosis of Red Blood Cells by Macrophage Line P388D1

 Popularity of phytomedicines has been steadily rising for decades, and while they have been used for thousands of years, little is known about their effectiveness. Many, such as ginseng, are said to be immune boosters, however the specific processes by which they support immunity remains unclear. This study investigated the feasibility of utilizing phytomedicines as a supplement for immune enhancement. The effectiveness of ginseng, a popularly touted immune booster, as a phagocytosis stimulant for the macrophage cell line P388- D1 was explored.  Macrophages were inoculated with varying concentrations of ginseng and cultured with both opsonized and non-opsonized red blood cells. A known phagocytosis stimulant (lipopolysaccharide solution) was used as a control.  Effectiveness of ginseng was determined by final numbers of cells that phagocytosed blood cells, number of blood cells phagocytosed per cell, and number of blood cells attached to macrophages. Statistically valid results indicated a higher phagocytosis rate and larger average number of cells phagocytosed per macrophage in cells treated with ginseng than regular opsonized and non-opsonized cells or cells treated with the control.

Garrett Robinson, Magnolia High School

            Sponsoring Teacher: Deborah Rothacher

            Research Mentor:  David Bridgeman, D.D.S.

 Dental Decay:  What’s in Your Palate?

             Tooth decay occurs naturally over time, but many are finding ways to slow down this process.  Decay is further encouraged with an unhealthy diet, as seen among many teens in our society. 

            An experiment was designed to analyze the effects various beverages had on tooth enamel.  The question was asked; “If a tooth is exposed to various beverages, which substance will produce the most pitted enamel?”  After careful considerations, a hypothesis was formed; “If the tooth is exposed to various substances, then a sugar solution will present the most pitting.” 

            All enamel samples were taken from the same cow’s tooth to ensure equality of the enamel, and then the tooth was sterilized.  Apple juice, lemon juice, Coke, Mountain Dew, phosphoric acid, water, and sugar water were placed on the tooth for periods of one minute, five minutes, ten minutes, and thirty minutes. 

            The phosphoric acid produced the most decay with an average level of 6 (the highest value included in the demineralization chart).  The sugar water produced no demineralization; therefore, the hypothesis was disproved.  The amount of tooth decay in a healthy mouth can be reduced by raising awareness of the risks involved in this major, but often neglected, issue.

Kelydra Welcker, Parkersburg South High School

 Quantification, Removal and Recovery of APFO from Contaminated Drinking Water With a Concomitant Endocrinological and Epidemiological Assessment

Ammonium perfluorooctanoate - also called APFO, PFOA or C8 - is a surfactant associated with the production of Teflon®. APFO does not hydrolyze, photolyze, or biodegrade and is biologically additive.

Since foam height is proportional to concentration, a simple test for presence and concentration of APFO in drinking water is feasible. Contaminated drinking water contains parts per billion of APFO. Thousand-fold evaporative sample reduction concentrates APFO into foaming range. Concentration was determined by imaging software analysis of sample foam height compared to spiked controls. Statistical analysis indicated foam height testing was 92% accurate compared to published APFO concentrations. The PFO0 ion may be removed and recovered from water by electrosorption through the electrical double layer to the positive electrode of a basic electrolytic cell (Patent Pending US60/751,466).

           Endocrinological testing indicated APFO decreased mosquito development time, potentially leading to an increased risk of West Nile Virus (WNV).  Epidemiological analysis of CDC WNV data from 2002-2004 from APFO-contaminated counties compared to control counties was statistically significant at the P= 0.002 level for summed data of all positive reports. Regression analysis of the decline in positive reports in uncontaminated counties from 2002-2004 was significant with R2 =0.9914 while contaminated counties generated R2=0.7023.



Questions or Comments:   wvjshs@wvwc.edu