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UAlbany Showcases Best High School Science Students Statewide

Science writer Dorion Sagan will address students at the 24th Annual Upstate New York Junior Science and Humanities Symposium

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

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Junior Science and Humanities Symposium presenters

Upstate New York Junior Science and Humanities Symposium winners, from left, Jane Luceno of Yorktown HS, Ilana Rice of Ossining Lake HS, Xinrui Zhang Monroe of Woodbury HS, Ian Mathews of Irvington HS, and David Schwartz of John Jay HS. (Photo Leonard Behr)

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 27, 2009) -- More that 400 science research students and teachers from 41 Capital District and upstate schools will meet at the 24th Annual Upstate New York Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, March 30 and 31, 2009 in Albany, N.Y. The UAlbany-hosted symposium  is the largest forum in the state for students conducting original scientific research in the high school.

Science scholar Dorion Sagan, son of astrochemist and astronomer Carl Sagan, will deliver a keynote address and discuss the subject of his most recent book, The Purpose of Life, during the Symposiumís awards dinner, March 30 at 6 p.m. in the Ballroom of the Holiday Inn Albany on Wolf Road.

The Junior Science and Humanities symposium is co-directed by Daniel Wulff, University at Albany biology professor and UAlbany mathematics professor Timothy Lance. The students presenting their research at the symposium were selected from students competing in three regional symposia in Upstate New York.

"These students have worked very hard, and some have amazing stories to tell of their research findings," said Dan Wulff, program co-director and UAlbany professor of biological sciences. "Their capacity to excel in research and discovery is enhanced by the recognition of their teachers and peers."

The awards dinner follows a full dayís schedule of presentations by students competing in the symposium, as speaker presenters or as poster presenters.  The studentsí research is judged by scientists and industry experts from the University at Albany, Wadsworth Health Center, GE Global Research, Albany Medical College, Albany Molecular Research and others.  Student finalists from five categories of science are announced during the awards dinner and compete for top honors the next day before another panel of judges.

A new feature of the symposium this year is the exhibition of artwork by Shaker High School students whose creations were inspired by the research projects of students competing in the symposium.

Area schools expected to participate in the symposium include Shaker High School, Academy of Holy Names, Bethlehem High School, Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa High School, Saratoga Springs High School and Columbia High School, among others.

Dorion Sagan is the author of numerous articles and sixteen books translated into eleven languages, including Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life (with Eric D. Schneider, 2005) and Up from Dragons: Evolution of Human Intelligence (with John Skoyles, 2002). His What is Life? (with Lynn Margulis) was chosen (with works by Billie Holiday, Shakespeare, and others) as one of fifty "mind-altering masterpieces" by the Utne Reader. Sagan's essays are included in collections edited by Richard Dawkins and E. O. Wilson.

The symposium is sponsored by the University at Albany; the Academy of Applied Science; the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force; the American Chemical Society, and corporate sponsors including GE Global Research, Pitney Bowes, Albany Molecular Research Inc., Capital District Physicians Health Plan, NYS United Teachers, Taconic Inc., and Surpass Chemical.

Symposium Overview:

Monday, March 30, 2009
Holiday Inn Albany:

1 p.m. - First floor courtyard: Opening remarks by George Phillip, Interim President, University at Albany and Dr. Daniel Wulff, JSHS Director and Professor of Biology, University at Albany. 

Certificates of Accomplishment will be awarded to all student presenters at the symposium.

2-4 p.m. - Second floor breakout rooms:  Concurrent sessions of studentsí research projects presented to teams of judges.

4-5 p.m. - Courtyard:  Posters on display for judging.

6 p.m. - Second floor ballroom: Awards dinner with keynote address by Dorion Sagan.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Holiday Inn Albany:

8:30 a.m. - Ballroom:  Presentations by the five finalists.

10:45 a.m.- Noon - Breakout rooms:  Four concurrent workshops for participants.

Noon - Courtyard:  Awards luncheon and announcement of five final winners and scholarship awards.

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 18,000 students. An internationally recognized research university with 58 undergraduate majors and 128 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit www.albany.edu. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.

Karen Torrejon, '10, majoring in chemistry and physics
UAlbany Students

During one of her first experiences in a research laboratory, University at Albany senior Karen Torrejon knew instantly that she was wanted to be a scientist.

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