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Breck students compete at National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium

Friday, May 18, 2018

Two students from Breck’s Advanced Science Research course participated in the 56th National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium this past week in Hunt Valley, MD. Cole Maxwell ’18 and Kylie Spangler ’19 were part of an elite group of five who advanced to the national competition from the North Central Region (including students from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota).

The National JSHS brought together 230 high school students who qualified for attendance by submitting and presenting original scientific research papers in regional symposia held at universities nationwide.  Cole Maxwell received 2nd place in his category at JSHS and was awarded an $8,000 college scholarship.

When reflecting on the experience, Maxwell said, “Sharing my work at the national Junior Science and Humanities Symposium was an inspiring experience. I heard from scientists and engineers who play an integral in the defense of our country, met students from across the nation with similar passion for science, and presented my work to a panel of distinguished Navy, Army, and Air Force service members. It is an honor to have been chosen as a top finisher, and I am thankful to Department of Defense for awarding me a college scholarship."

While attending the National JSHS, the students presented their work to professional researchers, peers and the public. They also heard from well-known researchers with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Department of Energy, IBM and NASA, among others. Approximately 130 adult leaders, high school teachers, university faculty, ranking military guests, and others attend and join in encouraging the future generation of scientists and engineers and celebrating student achievement in the sciences.

JSHS is sponsored by the research arm of the Department of Defense and administered in cooperation with nationwide colleges and universities. JSHS aims to prepare and support students to contribute as future scientists and engineers -- conducting STEM research on behalf of or directly for the Department of Defense, the Federal research laboratories, or for the greater good in advancing the nation's scientific and technological progress.

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. Scholarships totaling $192,000 were awarded to students at JSHS.

Kylie Spangler shared, “National JSHS was such an amazing opportunity to not only be able to present my own work, but learn from a diverse group of students from around the world. The symposium made me gain a deeper appreciation for everyone who has helped me in my research, including my partner, Tommy, and my mentor, Dr. Vallera. Without their support, I would not have been able to attend such an inspiring event as JSHS. I was able to try new things, learn from distinguished scientists, and make memories that I will treasure for a lifetime.”

Among Breck’s most important signature programs is Advanced Science Research. The Advanced Science Research Program enables Upper School students to participate in professional research experiences. Breck believes that the stimulation of doing research and working with mentors will encourage talented students to pursue careers in science, engineering or mathematics.