West Virginia Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS)
The Junior Science and Humanities Symposium is a STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics) scholarship competition sponsored by the U.S. Army, Air Force, and Navy. It is separate from ISEF, but strong science fair projects usually do well in the JSHS format. The WV-JSHS is held annually in early spring at West Virginia Wesleyan College. It includes a keynote speaker and practice time for presenters on Friday evening, the competition on Saturday morning, hands-on labs on Saturday afternoon, and an awards banquet. Lodging and meals are free to regional participants, so the only cost of attending the WV-JSHS is travel to West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Eligibility: Any West Virginia student in grades 9-12 (public, private or home-schooled) is eligible to compete. Only U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible for JSHS scholarships.
Scholarship competition: Students present orally on their scientific research, engineering or software designs, or mathematics projects. Presentations are judged by a panel of science and/or mathematics faculty. The regional competition follows the National JSHS rules and scoring criteria, which are outlined under “participation guidelines” at www.jshs.org. Although third-place regional finalists do present posters at the National JSHS, the main competitions do not involve posters, but are, instead, 12-minute oral reports, accompanied by presentation slides (e.g. PowerPoint). Each oral presentation is followed by a 3-6 minute period for questions and answers. At the regional level, all questions come from the judges.
Awards: There are no categories of competition at the WV JSHS, but the National JSHS gives 3 scholarship awards in each of seven categories. First place earns a $12,000 scholarship at the national level ($2,000 at the regional level); second place, $8,000 ($1500 at the regional level), and third place, $4,000 ($1,000 at the regional level). The top two regional finalists go on to compete equally at the National JSHS. Should a finalist at the WV-JSHS choose to attend West Virginia Wesleyan College, the college offers additional scholarships of $5,000 (renewable for 4 years for science/math/engineering majors who maintain a 3.0 GPA) to the National JSHS competitors and $1500 (also renewable with the same criteria) for the remaining finalists who are selected to attend the National JSHS but do not compete at the national level. The top four or five students, depending on funding, attend the National JSHS with no charge for travel, lodging or meals.
Application process: A student applies to present at the WV-JSHS by submitting an application form that includes a title and abstract of their study, with a due date of two to three weeks prior to the date of the regional symposium. Papers have been submitted electronically at the symposium through this year; however, this will change in 2012 to electronic submission of papers about a week prior to the competition by those selected to present based on their abstracts.
Jeanne D. Sullivan, Ph.D.
Department of Biology & Environmental Science
West Virginia Wesleyan College
WV-JSHS website: http://www.wvwc.edu/academics/dept/biology/JSHS/
National JSHS website: www.jshs.org