2017 National JSHS Winners

STEM Stars Receive $192,000 in Scholarships at 55th National Junior Science & Humanities Symposium

More than 220 students competed in the 55th Annual National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) held in San Diego, CA on April 26-30, 2017. Representing high schools from across the United States, Puerto Rico, and Department of Defense Schools in Europe and Pacific, students presented their original research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in one of eight categories.

The national JSHS competition is the United States’ premiere showcase for STEM research by high school students. Students must first present their research at one of 47 regional competitions hosted by universities and Department of Defense schools. The top five students from each region participated in oral presentations or poster presentations at the national event.

The 4-day event was organized and supported by the US Army, Navy, and Air Force and administered by The Academy of Applied Science, a non-profit STEM education organization. Each service contributed speakers, exhibitors, and researchers through their respective educational outreach programs. Students learned from staff of the tri-services about current research and opportunities for STEM careers within the Department of Defense, academia, and government. All of the sponsoring services are immensely proud of these students and their teachers and mentors who are dedicated to having scientific discovery survive and thrive.

Students presented their original research to a team of national judges who are actively engaged in research and development at Department of Defense and university laboratories. Competition categories include: Environmental Science, Biomedical Sciences (molecular/cellular), Life Sciences, Medicine & Health/Behavioral Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Math and Computer Science,  Engineering, Physical Sciences (physics, astronomy, energy), and Chemistry (physical chemistry, materials science, alternative fuels, geochemistry).

Scholarships totaling $192,000 were awarded to students who placed in the top three oral presentations and the first place poster presentation categories. Winners of the 55th Annual National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium are:

First place oral presentations: receiving $12,000 scholarships

Environmental Science
Anjali Chadha
, Kentucky JSHS; duPont Manual High School
Monitoring of Arsenic in Groundwater Sources Using an Innovative IoT Sensor

Life Sciences
Srinath Seshadri
, Ohio JSHS; Village Academy
Genetic Engineering of S. cerevisiae for the Single Step Conversion of Biomass to Bioethanol

Biomedical Sciences
Ethan Chen, Greater Washington, DC JSHS; Montgomery Blair High School
Analyzing the Effects of Matrix Architecture and Proteolytic Degradation on Fibroblast and Tumor Cell Migration

Medicine and Health/Behavioral Sciences
Shobhita Sundaram
, Connecticut JSHS; Greenwich High School
Detection of Premalignant Pancreatic Cancer via Computational Analysis of Serum Proteomic Profiles

Joshua Dong
, North Carolina JSHS; North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
Engineering a Laser Technique to 3D Print Robust Hydrogels for Extracellular Matrices

Mathematics and Computer Sciences
Ana Humphrey
, Greater Washington, DC JSHS; TC Williams High School
ColiFind: A Digital Image Analysis Application to Identify E. coli Colonies in Coliscan Easygel Water Quality Tests

Physical Sciences
Josef Zimmerman
,Virginia JSHS; Loudoun Academy of Science
On the stability of Bahcall-Wolf cusps of dark matter orbiting supermassive black hole binary systems

Arvind Sridhar
, California-Northern & Western Nevada JSHS; Bellarmine College Preparatory
Engineering Injectable, Conductive Hydrogels doped with Graphene and Graphene Oxide Nanoparticles for Post-MI Cardiac Tissue Engineering and Robust Drug Discovery: A Computationally-Aided Investigation for Enhancing Therapeutic Efficacy

Second place oral presentations: receiving $8,000 scholarships

Environmental Science
Manashree Padiyath
, North Central JSHS; Woodbury High School
Unleading the way!  Remediation of Lead Contaminated Water with Coriandrum Sativum (Cilantro) biochar

Life Sciences
Rachael Dickenson
, DoDDS-Europe JSHS; Stuttgart High School
Solidago canadensis in Europe and the Americas: A Comparison using ribosomal ITS and 5S-NTS Sequences

Biomedical Sciences
Jiwoo Lee
, New Jersey Southern JSHS; Bergen County Academies
The “Smart Cancer Drug”:  Targeting Cancer’s Achilles Heel with Conditional CRISPR/Cas9

Medicine and Health/Behavioral Sciences
Harini Kethar
, North Central JSHS; Minnetonka High School
A Cost-Effective, Patient-Friendly, and Biocompatible Treatment for Chronic Pain and Peripheral Nerve Damage Using Genetically Engineered “SMART” Nanoparticles

Benjamin Liu, California-Southern JSHS; Arcadia High School
A Fully Integrated Lab-On-A-Chip Device Utilizing Novel Micropumps, Microvalves, and an Acoustic Micromixer for Disease Diagnostics

Mathematics and Computer Sciences
Amanda Zong, New York-Metro JSHS; Hunter College High School
Novel Screening Test for Melanoma Based on Computational Image Analysis

Physical Sciences
Pranav Sivakumar
, Illinois-Chicago JSHS; Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
Searches for Almost Dark Galaxies in Blank Sky Fields with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Claudia Durbin
, New England-Southern JSHS; Newton Country Day School
Novel Use of 293-nm Emitting LED for Producing Vitamin D in Human Skin

Third place oral presentations: receiving $4,000 scholarships

Environmental Science
Emily Swenson
, Western Wisconsin-Upper Michigan JSHS; Cashton High School
Validation of Emerging Nitrogen Management Technologies for Corn in Wisconsin

Life Sciences
Cassa Drury
, Kentucky JSHS; duPont Manual High School
Exploring Cell Signaling During Wound Healing As Modeled by Planarian Flatworms

Biomedical Sciences
Zoe Posner
, New York-Metro JSHS; Bronx High School of Science
KRAS Mutations Confer Increased Metastatic Burden of Colorectal Cancer in the Liver by Enhancing Exosome Targeting of Kupffer Cells

Medicine and Health/Behavioral Sciences
Erin Smith
, Kansas-Nebraska-Oklahoma JSHS; Shawnee Mission West High School
A novel, telemedicine diagnostic tool for Parkinson’s disease: the use of digital Action Unit biomarkers generated by spontaneous and posed facial expressions

Pranshu Suri
, Philadelphia JSHS; The Baldwin School
A Novel Interactive, Low Cost Assistive Device for Early Braille Learners

Mathematics and Computer Sciences
Utkarsh Tandon
, California-Northern & Western Nevada JSHS; Cupertino High School
ARIA: Diabetic Retinopathy Prognosis via Hypertensive Modeling; ML-based Morphological Computer Vision for Rapid Ophthalmology

Physical Sciences
Celeste Jongeneelen
, Hawaii JSHS; Homeschool
Searching for Variability in Hypervelocity Star Candidates

Alby Joseph
, New York-Long Island JSHS; W. Tresper Clarke High School
Optimized Fatty Acid Binding Protein Inhibitors: Augmenting the Viability of a Novel Pain-Relief Mechanism

First Place Poster Presentations: receiving $300 awards

Environmental Science
Bradon Milford
, Kansas-Nebraska-Oklahoma JSHS; Cascia Hall Preparatory School
Evaluating the Effects of Wildfire Retardants on the Water Quality Index of a Natural Stream in an Active Fire Zone. The Effects of Phos-Chek LC-95AF Fire Retardants on the Survival Response of Aquatic Organisms, and the Use of Algae and Cyanobacteria for the Bioremediation of Damaged Stream Systems

Life Sciences
Garyk Brixi
, Maryland JSHS; Winston Churchill High School
Innovative Optimization for Malnutrition Treatment

Biomedical Sciences
Natalia Orlovsky
, Philadelphia JSHS; Garnet Valley High School
Electronic Cigarette Vapor and the Induction of the Xenobiotic Response in Human Lung Epithelial Cells

Medicine and Health/Behavioral Sciences
Devina Thapa
, Virginia JSHS; Loudoun Academy of Science
Reinventing the Catheter: Inhibiting UTIs by Creating a Novel Material Integrated with Castanea sativa to Inhibit Quorum Sensing among Nosocomial Infection Causing Bacteria

Sanjana Shah
, California-Northern & Western Nevada JSHS; Monta Vista High School
Smart Flood Sensor: Detect, Analyze and Predict Water Accumulation in Cities’ Drainage Systems

Mathematics and Computer Sciences
Emily Wang
, North Carolina JSHS; Enloe High School
Applying Machine Learning to WiFi Channel State Information for Smart, Safe, Energy Saving Buildings

Physical Sciences
Anderson Thrasher
, Georgia JSHS; Henry W. Grady High School
The Search for Newborn Stars: Observing Bok Globules in the Visible and Infrared

Alexis Schneider
, Pennsylvania JSHS; Upper Dublin High School
Examination of Internal Redox State as a Reflection of External Redox State in S. oneidensis MR-1 and Expression of ATP:ADP and NADH:NAD+ Biosensors

Second Place Poster Presenters

Environmental Science
Ella DeGrandpre
, Intermountain JSHS; Hellgate High School
Ion Exclusion in Partially Frozen Water and the Effects of the Newly Concentrated Water on Daphnia magna Mortality

Life Sciences
Gabrielle Stonoha
, Connecticut JSHS; Manchester High School
Growth and Sustainability of Metarhizium on Low-Nutrient Substrates

Biomedical Sciences
Rebecca Brody
, Maryland JSHS; Baltimore Polytechnic Institute
The Effect of Hypoxia on Stem Cell-Derived Endothelial Cells

Medicine and Health/Behavioral Sciences
Jimmy Lin
, California-Northern & Western Nevada JSHS; The Harker School
Automated Breast Cancer Diagnosis: A Novel Assessment of Tumor-Associated Stroma Using Deep Learning Algorithms

Tyler Delargy
, New England-Northern JSHS; Bangor High School
A Solution to The Heat Efficiency and Environmental Side Effects of Oil Boilers

Mathematics and Computer Sciences
Ritvik Annam
, Texas JSHS; Plano West Senior High School
VerSign: Signature Authentication and Verification using One Class Support Vector Machines

Physical Sciences
James Twaddle
, Indiana JSHS; Marian High School
Optimization of the Shashlik Electromagnetic Calorimeter for High Energy Particle Detection and Measurement

Nancy Lu
, New York-Metro JSHS; Hunter College High School
Engineering of Polysaccharide-Based Nanoparticles for Theranostic and Antibacterial Applications

Third Place Poster Presenters

Environmental Science
Jordan Skates
, Ohio JSHS; Pettisville Local Schools
A Survey of Three Different Wetlands

Life Sciences
James Martinez
, Kansas-Nebraska-Oklahoma JSHS; Bartlesville High School
Better with Bacteria: The Effects of Bacteria on Chlorella vulgaris

Biomedical Sciences
Marissa Sumathipala
, Virginia JSHS, Broad Run High School
A Novel Systemic Approach to Cardiometabolic Disease with Dual Therapeutics

Medicine and Health/Behavioral Sciences
Annie Zhang
, Kentucky JSHS; duPont Manual High School
The Effect of MicroRNA-203 Overexpression in Liver Cancer

Shalin Shah
, California-Northern & Western Nevada JSHS; Tesoro High School
Lumos: Automated Smartphone-based Ophthalmic Screening for Glaucoma using Computer Vision and Deep Learning Algorithms through Low-cost and non-Mydriatic Retinal Fundus Imaging

Mathematics and Computer Sciences
Pierce Taylor
, Illinois JSHS; Camdenton R-III High School
The Effects of Varying Paraboloidal LED Arrays on the Efficiency of a Light Fidelity Network

Physical Sciences
Erica Sawczynec
, Hawaii JSHS; Kihei Public Charter High School
Finding the Age of NGC 6705

Vikram Ruppa-Kasani
, Georgia JSHS; Chattahoochee High School
Multidrug Resistant Superbugs: Selective Separation, Identification and Eradication using Fluorescent, Magnetic Multifunctional Carbon Dots

POSTER PRESENTERS: Honorable Mention

Riley Ash, Missouri JSHS

Brianna Cauthen, New York-Upstate JSHS

Astha Dalal, Michigan-Southeastern JSHS

Julia Hunkler, Indiana JSHS

Royce Levey, Alaska JSHS

Mason Manetta, Arizona JSHS

Kenui Yang, North Central JSHS



“Best in Show”: Jimmy Lin, California-Northern & Western Nevada JSHS

Most innovative “Out of the Box”: Bernard Padilla Rentas, Puerto Rico JSHS

The next “Steve Jobs”: Thomas Dorminy, Georgia JSHS


To learn more about how to compete in JSHS, start by finding your Regional Competition.