SRU to host Junior Academy of Science regional meeting

Chart of elements and beakers

Feb. 12, 2018

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - More than 530 aspiring junior and senior high school scientists will compete for nearly $25,000 in Slippery Rock University scholarships when the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science stages its 61st Annual Region IX meeting Feb. 24 in the Smith Student Center Ballroom. It is the 21st consecutive year the event has been staged at SRU.

"The Region IX PJAS meeting has developed into a preeminent campus event each February," said William Sigmund, SRU professor of biology. "I'm pleased that we are able to help encourage scientific research by bringing more than 500 junior and senior high school students to SRU to present the results of their science investigations.

"Having them and their teacher-sponsors on campus has also given us the opportunity to show them the tremendous opportunities to study science at SRU. The students and their teachers are impressed, both with the SRU faculty and students who serve as judges, and the quality of the programs that we offer."

The University is again offering a $12,000 scholarship ($3,000 per year for four years) to attend SRU to the top senior and the top junior award winners. Additionally, SRU's Mathematics and Statistics Department will present $100 awards for the top senior high student and junior high student math presentations; the Chemistry Department will present a single $100 award to the overall top chemistry presentation; and the Biology Department provides a $100 award for the top senior high student and junior high student presentation in any biological field, plus a $200 Mentor Award to both the winning student's teacher-sponsors for the purchase of science supplies at their home school.

Top presenters in each discipline also earn cash awards or gift certificates from the Region IX committee and other program sponsors.

Brad Wilson, SRU associate provost for transformational experiences, will present the welcome address at the 11 a.m. judges luncheon in Weisenfluh Dining Hall.

Jerry Chmielewski, dean of the College of Heath, Environment and Science, will address the students and teacher-sponsors at a 6 p.m. awards ceremony in the Smith Student Center Ballroom.

Nearly 200 judges, including SRU and high school faculty, professionals and SRU students, participate in the program, spending 8-10 minutes reviewing individual student works and asking questions about the project before rendering a final ranking.

"I am gratified that so many SRU faculty and students willingly give up their Saturday afternoon for this outstanding activity," said Sigmund. "It is an excellent opportunity for our students to use the scientific knowledge they are learning in the classroom to serve as judges for the presentations."

Participants who receive a "First Place" ranking will have the opportunity to participate in the state competition that will take place at Penn State University in May.

The PJAS is a statewide organization of junior and senior high school students designed to "stimulate and promote interest in science among its members through the development of research projects and investigations," per the PJAS website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Robb King | 724.738.2199 |