SRU awards two $12,000 scholarships at PJAS regional meeting


PJAS winners

Special Award winners at the 2020 Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science 63rd Annual Region IX meeting were provided cash awards by the event committee, donors and various Slippery Rock University academic departments.

March 4, 2020

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University awarded two $12,000 scholarships to a pair of high school students as part of the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science's 63rd Annual Region IX meeting Feb. 22 at SRU's Smith Student Center. It was the 23rd straight year that SRU hosted the event, which attracted more than 450 students in grades 7-12 from across western Pennsylvania.

Students competed for the scholarship prizes by conducting an oral PowerPoint presentation showcasing the results of their science research projects.

Joseph Anand, a senior from St. John Paul II Homeschool Co-op, won the PJAS Senior Scholarship for his computer science and mathematics project titled "Cookie Monster." Nadia Merz, a junior at Wilmington Area High School, captured the PJAS Junior Scholarship, for her biochemistry and chemistry project titled "How many triangles do you see?" Each scholarship provides $3,000 per year for four years to attend SRU and major in science.

In addition to the two SRU PJAS Scholarships, 14 other students received $100 cash prizes from various SRU academic departments, including:

• Alison Lloyd, a junior from New Castle, and Russ Carley, sponsor, earned the Senior High Biology Mentor Award, receiving $200 for school science supplies (Biology Department).
• Colton Brenneman, a freshman from Freeport Area High school, and Eleanore Savage, sponsor, received the Junior High Biology Mentor Award, receiving $200 for school science supplies (Biology Department).
• Gavin Zheng, a sophomore from New Castle High School (Mathematics Department).
• Katherine Riley, a freshman from North Catholic High School (Mathematics Department).
• Keelie Steiner, a junior from Sharpsville Area High School (Chemistry Department).
• Ava Brewster, an eighth grader from the Butler Middle School (Chemistry Department).
• Thomas Anand, a senior from St. John Paul II Homeschool Co-op (Physics Department).
• Anastasia Adams, an eighth grader from South Side Middle School (Physics Department).
• Melanie Navaratna, a sophomore from Indiana Area High School (Engineering Department).
• Muneeburrahman Kasi, a freshman from Indiana Area High School (Engineering Department).
• Madeleine Dietrich, a sophomore from North Catholic High School (Computer Science Department).
• Jace Parks, an eighth grader from West Shamokin Junior High School (Computer Science).
• Alaina Popovich, a senior from United High School (Psychology Department, Behavioral category).
• Zachary Kladny, a seventh grader from Freeport Area Middle School (Psychology Department, Behavioral category).

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

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

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