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March 7, 2014
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

High school scientists score scholarships

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Dan Kolesar, a senior at Sharpsville Area Senior High School, and Isaac Williams, a junior at West Middlesex Area Senior High School, have earned four-year scholarships to Slippery Rock University for their outstanding science research. The awards were presented as part of the 57th Annual Region IX Meeting of the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science hosted at SRU.

SRU has hosted the Region IX Meeting for 16 consecutive years.

Kolesar's project, entered in the ecology category, was titled "No Salt, please." His sponsor was Nanci Dickson, who earned the Biology Mentor Award, including $200 for biology department supplies at the school.

SIGMUNDWilliams' project, in the chemistry category, was titled "Sports Drinks vs. Juices." His sponsor was Katie Shaffer.

Both will receive four-year scholarships should they elect to enroll at SRU.

More than 500 junior high and high school students participated in the PJAS program, including some 450 students who presented their work in eight- to 10-minute sessions to panels of judges for evaluation. Judges, including college professors, high school teachers, people in business and medical professions, and college students, were then permitted to ask questions.

William Sigmund, SRU biology processor, served as the university coordinator.

"I certainly want to thank the SRU students, including those from Beta Beta Beta, the biology honorary at SRU, and the 200 people who served as judges for this important educational event. It is a major event and one that serves to spur additional interest in all of the sciences," Sigmund said.

"As a biologist, I am inspired by seeing so many young scientists on our campus to present the results of their scientific investigations. I very much appreciate your enthusiasm and love for the sciences, as well as the weeks and/or months of hard work you have put into your projects," Sigmund said.

All "First Place" winners earn the right to compete at the state competition at Penn State University in May.

Participants earning $100 awards provided by SRU departments were:

• Mary Anand, a freshman at Blessed JP II Science Homer School, who received the Junior High Biology Award and earned her sponsor, Rebecca Cascino, the Junior High Biology Mentor Award, including $200 for school science supplies.

• Lake Sankey, a junior at Butler High School, sponsored by Veronic Sankey, who received the Senior High Mathematics Award.

• David Blum, an eighth grader at Beaver Area Middle School, who received the Junior High Mathematics Award. His sponsor was Donna Nunamaker.

• Julie Cepec, a freshman at Freeport Area Senior High School, sponsored by Donald Orlowski, who received the Junior High Chemistry Award.

The Region IX organizing committee also presented $100 grants for the Future Teacher Award named for Chick Stewart, and the junior and senior high Innovation Awards. A number of gift cards and computer flash drives were also awarded to presenters in a variety of categories.

Katelyn Eadie, an SRU biology major from La Belle, was presented the $300 William R. Sigmund PJAS Award, in recognition of her work in running the program. PJAS created the award to honor Sigmund for his dedication and service in hosting the annual event.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.