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Feb. 14, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab


SRU hosts science academy competition


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – An estimated 500 would-be scientists from regional junior high and senior high schools will visit Slippery Rock University Feb. 25 to compete for more than $25,000 in scholarship and cash prizes as they show off their science skills and projects as part of the Region IX Meeting of the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science.

           The all-day event is the PJAS’s 55th annual science exhibition and the 15th hosted by SRU.

           Project judging begins at 12:30 p.m., in various campus classroom buildings. Project topics range from which fungi species best degrade oil to the effectiveness of different hand sanitizers to using zebrafish to test cardiac drugs.

           “It is always a very rewarding day,” said William Sigmund, SRU biology professor and event coordinator. “It is truly exciting to see so many young students seriously involved in science, and it is always interesting to see and hear them present the results of their own science research projects.”

           “This event, which also gives us a chance to show off the SRU campus and all of its science programs, certainly puts the spotlight squarely on science. We hear so much today about the U.S. falling behind in science education and research, but it is heartening to see so many students truly dedicated to scientific research and expanding their knowledge of science,” he said.

           The visiting junior and senior high school students will explain their projects throughout campus.

           Judges will spend eight-to-10 minutes with each student and then ask questions before issuing a rating. “First Place” winners will be eligible to compete at the state level in May.

           This year’s competition offers two, $12,000, four-year SRU scholarships. One will go to the top senior in the competition; the second to the top junior presenter.

           The top presenter in each discipline also earns a cash award or gift certificate from the Region IX committee or other program sponsors.

           SRU’s mathematics and chemistry departments will present $100 awards for the top senior high student and top junior high student presentations in their respective disciplines, and SRU’s biology department will presents a $100 award for the top senior high student and junior high student presentations in any biological-related field.

           A $200 mentor award will go to the winning biology student's teacher to be used for science supplies at their home school.

           Judges for the competition have been solicited from throughout the region, including science teachers, college and university faculty, business and medical professionals and college science students.

           Judges will meet for lunch and last-minute information session at 11 a.m. in the newly renovated Weisenfluh Hall.

           The student scientists will have dinner in Boozel Dining Hall prior to the 6 p.m. University Union awards ceremony.


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.