High School Science Standouts

More than 160 students from 37 high schools throughout Connecticut came to UConn Health for the Connecticut Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, organized by the Connecticut Area Health Education Center.

Students holding their award certificates

Connecticut Junior Science and Humanities Symposium top finishers Rachel Brooks, Ashley Granquist, Shun Sakai, Halla Clausi, Sam Florin, and Kenneth Choi with Director Joy Erickson (Photo by Ellen Ravens-Seger)

UConn Health recently hosted more than 160 high school science standouts from 37 schools across the state for the 57th annual Connecticut Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS). The symposium was organized by the Connecticut Area Health Education Center.

A select group of the participants presented their own original research at the symposium and competed for prizes including scholarships and cash awards. This year’s hot topic was machine learning – it was used in a variety of settings from tracking Parkinson’s disease to personal privacy.

Five of the top finishers earned a paid trip to the national JSHS in Virginia Beach/Norfolk, Virginia, in April to present their research.

The first place CT‐JSHS finisher is Rachel Brooks, from Christian Heritage School, for her research “Increased Prevalence of Gastrointestinal, Cardiovascular, and Immunologic Conditions in Hospitalized Patients with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: A Case-Control Study.” She has been offered UConn’s Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Scholarship, which provides recipients one half of the in‐state tuition for each of four years, or a total of over $30,000.

The organizers of CT‐JSHS are grateful to UConn’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions for their support of the symposium.

“JSHS is a great venue for high-achieving high school students to share their own original research in a wide assortment of STEM fields,” says Joy Erickson, director of Connecticut JSHS.

All the young people who participated, either as competitors or observers, toured UConn Health’s research labs, participated in hands‐on science and humanities activities and learned about careers in health and research.

Participants also heard a research presentation by keynote speaker Kimberly Dodge-Kafka, professor in UConn Health’s Department of Cell Biology, Calhoun Center for Cardiology, and director of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology graduate program, on “Targeting protein-protein interactions for therapeutic treatment.”

“Following the leadership at the University of Connecticut, CT AHEC is delighted to continue our support of research activities, including the training of young scientists through sponsorship of the annual Junior Science and Humanities Symposium,” says Petra Clark-Dufner, CT AHEC associate director and Connecticut JSHS co-director.

JSHS is organized by the National Science Teaching Association with the sponsorship of the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force to encourage young people to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and to provide recognition for their achievements. About 10,000 secondary students nationwide participate through 46 university‐based regional symposia.

Students from the following high schools and programs participated in this year’s CT‐JSHS:

  • Academy of Aerospace and Engineering (CREC), Windsor
  • Amity Regional High School, Woodbridge
  • Avon High School
  • Bethel High School
  • Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Science & Technology Education Center
  • Canterbury School, New Milford
  • Central AHEC’s Youth Health Service Corps, Hartford
  • Christian Heritage School, Trumbull
  • Conard High School, West Hartford
  • Darien High School
  • E.C. Goodwin Technical High School, New Britain
  • Enfield High School
  • Farmington High School
  • Francis T. Maloney High School, Meriden
  • Glastonbury High School
  • Greenwich High School
  • Hamden Hall Country Day School
  • Joel Barlow High School, Redding
  • Manchester High School
  • Mercy High School, Middletown
  • Middletown High School
  • Nathan Hale-Ray High School, Moodus
  • New Britain High School
  • Newtown High School
  • O.H. Platt High School, Meriden
  • Parish Hill Middle/High School, Chaplin
  • Portland High School
  • Ridgefield High School
  • Rocky Hill High School
  • South Kent School, Kent
  • Sport and Medical Sciences Academy, Hartford
  • The Williams School, New London
  • Thomaston High School
  • University High School of Science & Engineering, Hartford
  • Waterbury Arts Magnet School
  • Wesleyan University Upward Bound Math/Science, Middletown
  • William H. Hall High School, West Hartford
  • Wooster School, Danbury
  • Xavier High School, Middletown

—Ellen Ravens-Seger