Applications Being Sought for the West Virginia Junior Science and Humanities Symposium

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

West Virginia high school students with an interest in science, mathematics, computers, psychology or engineering have the opportunity to compete for scholarships and to participate in hands-on labs at the West Virginia Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (WV-JSHS), slated for April 5-6 on West Virginia Wesleyan’s campus. The competition is open to high school students in grades 9-12 (in public or private high schools, or students who are home schooled), and is sponsored through a joint partnership between the U.S. Departments of the Army, Navy and Air Force.   Applications are being accepted until March 25.

Two winners selected at the state level will go on to compete for additional scholarships at the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in Dayton, OH on May 1-5, and three additional West Virginia students will be selected to attend the National JSHS (www.jshs.org) to observe the competition and participate in educational activities.

“West Virginia students have been very successful at the national level,” said Dr. Jeanne Sullivan, associate professor of biology at Wesleyan and the WV-JSHS regional director.  “Five West Virginia students have placed in recent years at the national competition, including three first-place awards.”

Regional scholarships of $1,000 to $3,000 are presented to the top three presenters at the WV-JSHS, and the students selected to attend the National JSHS who choose to attend West Virginia Wesleyan are eligible for renewable scholarships of up to $5,000.  At the National JSHS, scholarships of $4,000 – $12,000 are presented to the top three finalists in seven categories of competition.  A $500 award is presented to one West Virginia teacher to support continued research at his or her school.

Interested students should plan to present their research or engineering projects orally, using presentation software such as PowerPoint.  While only an abstract is required in the WV-JSHS application, students must bring electronic copies of their papers with them to allow judges to refer to the papers as needed during their deliberations.

“I think the judges at both the regional and national levels pay just as much attention to homegrown, teacher-led projects as they do to the ones developed in a university lab with a renowned researcher,” Sullivan said.  “Strong science fair projects translate well to the JSHS format, so students who are participating in science fairs should also consider competing in the WV-JSHS.”

The National JSHS website has guidelines for students as well as information on the program for the national competition and the projects of past winners.  Even if students do not have research that is ready to present, they can still attend the Symposium at Wesleyan and participate in the labs.

Participation in the state competition is free and lodging and meals are provided. The only expense associated with the regional symposium is the cost of travel to Wesleyan’s campus in Buckhannon.

For more information and to receive applications forms, contact Dr. Jeanne Sullivan at sullivan@wvwc.edu.