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UAlbany-Sponsored Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 14, 2005) - One of the nation’s most competitive and prestigious forums for young scientists will observe its 20th anniversary next week when high school students and teachers from around New York State join former participants for a two-day symposium hosted by the University at Albany.

More than 500 students and teachers from Westchester to Western New York will convene at the Holiday Inn Turf on Wolf Road in Albany March 21 and 22 to take part in The Upstate New York Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS), which provides opportunities for some participants to present their work and for others to learn from the original research conducted by their peers. Since its founding in 1985, the JSHS has cultivated and celebrated the best in scientific research, inspiring hundreds of young scientists to continue to pursue discovery and knowledge.

Each year, hundreds of students compete in three Upstate New York JSHS regional forums for the opportunity to present their original, scientific research at the Upstate NY JSHS in Albany, but only 30 are chosen. Judges for the competitions are eminent scientists with expertise in each of the disciplines represented by the students’ research.

Finalists are selected from each of five scientific disciplines, with scholarships awarded to students receiving Highest Honors, High Honors and Honors. This year, those earning Highest Honors and Honors designations will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to San Diego, California, to compete in the national JSHS for more scholarships and a trip abroad.

Offered for the first time this year is an Excellence in Chemistry scholarship, which will be awarded to the presenter who submits the most outstanding paper in the area of chemistry. The scholarship is made possible through a grant from the American Chemical Society - Corporation Associates.

The 2005 program includes welcoming remarks by Russell Bessette, M.D., executive director of the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research, and a keynote address, March 21 at 6 p.m., by Barbara Tewksbury, Past President of the American Geological Society and professor of geological sciences at Hamilton College, on "When the Seas Rise Up: A Geologist's Perspective on Tsunami." The second day of the symposium will feature technical assistance workshops conducted by notable scientists. At one workshop, a panel of past winners of the Upstate New York JSHS will discuss their own experiences with the symposium and its impact on their academic and professional careers.

John Reinert Nash, who earned first prize at the 1987 Upstate New York JSHS when he represented Webster High School, said, “I attended Harvard College, receiving a bachelor of arts in chemistry, then went to Madison, Wisconsin, to pursue a Ph.D. in organometallic chemistry. The experience of science fairs and symposia in high school taught me a lot about how to do science, and especially how to self-motivate. The ability to communicate well in writing and in oral presentations is extremely valuable in almost any career, and careers in science require these skills extensively. After the often terrifying experience of presenting science projects in front of critical judges, speaking in front of group meetings and technical conferences later in life is much easier.”

UAlbany Professor of Biology Daniel Wulff co-directs the Upstate New York JSHS with Assistant Professor of Physics Susanne Lee, who is currently on leave and working as a senior professional staff member at GE Global Research. The symposium is sponsored by the University at Albany, the Academy of Applied Sciences, and the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force.

Over the past six years, the Upstate New York JSHS has produced four first-place and two second-place winners at the national level, including the 2004 winner, Anna Katrina Shedletsky of Brewster High School.

For information about JSHS, visit http://www.albany.edu/jshs/ or contact Mary Cuffe-Perez, Upstate N.Y. JSHS coordinator, (518) 442-4030 or mcuffe@albany.edu.

 


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