Statewide Symposium Showcases High School Science Standouts

This month, UConn Health hosted more than 150 high school science standouts from 35 schools across the state for the 56th annual Connecticut Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS). The symposium was organized by the Connecticut Area Health Education Center.

A select group of the participants presented original research at the symposium and competed for prizes including scholarships and cash awards. This year’s topics ranged from stabilizing vaccine storage and delivery to honey bee collapse recovery using a new method to kill mites to evaluating the effects of e-cigarettes.

Five of the top finishers earned a paid trip to the national JSHS in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in April, where they will present their research.

The first place Connecticut JSHS finisher is Raina Jain, Greenwich High School, for her research “Control of Varroa Destructor Infestation with a Dual-Function, Thymol-Emitting Honey Bee Hive Entranceway.” Jain has been offered the University of Connecticut’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 $27,000.

“JSHS brings high achieving high school students to campus and helps prepare them for a career in STEM fields by giving them authentic experiences learning about all kinds 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 Olga Anczukow-Camarda, assistant professor at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, on “Where the Silver Screen Meets the Genome: Exploiting RNA Splicing for Cancer Therapeutics.”

“Connecticut’s annual symposium is a true collaboration between multiple partners to support and nurture STEM and health careers exploration, say Petra Clark-Dufner, associate director of the Connecticut Area Health Education Center.

JSHS is organized by the National Science Teachers Association with the sponsorship of the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force to encourage young people to pursue careers in STEM and to provide recognition for their achievements. About 10,000 secondary students nationwide participate through 47 university‐based regional symposia.

Students from the following high schools and programs participated this year:

Academy of Aerospace & Engineering

Amity Regional High School

Bethel High School

Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Science & Technology Education Center

Central Connecticut State University TRiO Programs

Coginchaug Regional High School

Conard High School

Danbury High School

Darien High School

East Granby High School

Enfield High School

E.O. Smith High School

Farmington High School

Glastonbury High School

Greens Farms Academy

Greenwich High School

Hamden Hall Country Day School

Hamden High School

Hopkins School

Joel Barlow High School

Killingly High School

Manchester High School

Mercy High School

Middletown High School

New Britain High School

Newington High School

Newtown High School

O.H. Platt High School

Putnam High School

Ridgefield High School

Staples High School

Thomaston High School

The Williams School

Wesleyan University Upward Bound Math/Science

Westbrook High School

Weston High School

Wolcott High School