March 22, 2007

SIUC to host junior science-humanities symposium

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Dozens of high school science students, along with their teachers and a few parents, will pack Southern Illinois University Carbondale next week as the campus plays host to the Illinois Junior Science & Humanities Symposium.

Sponsored by SIUC and the College of Science, and funded by the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force, the event runs Sunday-Tuesday, March 25-27, at the SIUC Student Center. It is free and open to the public and is one of 48 regional competitions nationwide administered by the Academy of Applied Science.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover the Illinois Junior Science & Humanities Symposium at SIUC. Students and other participants will be available for interviews and their presentations are open to the news media and public. For more information, contact Linda Martin at 618/453-7062 or

The event is aimed at encouraging scientific research at the high school level, said Linda S. Martin, assistant dean in the College of Science, and at identifying talented youth and encouraging their interest in science. The Army and Air Force ROTC programs at SIUC support the event, as does the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.

The event centers on student presentations. Some present papers outlining their work in much the same way professional researchers formally present material. Others do traditional poster displays, Martin said. It also includes lectures, visits to SIUC laboratories and an award ceremony.

This year's symposium will feature 74 students, 19 teachers and two parents from 17 schools across Illinois. Five schools are from the northern part of the state, six from the central Illinois and six from Southern Illinois.

Students giving paper or poster presentations, their teachers and the schools they represent include:

Carbondale Community High School

Students Khrysta Dunkel, Elizabeth Spector, Xinxin Zhang and Jason Bartholomew, and teacher Judy Martinko

Freeburg Community High School

Student Matthew Gordon and teacher Thomas B. Range

Herrin High School

Students McKenzie Falker and Jacob Martin and teacher Peter Rose

Libertyville High School

Student Vivek Raman and teacher Kurt Anderson

Naperville Central High School

Student Aparna Ramakrishnan and teacher Prema Ramakrishnan

St. Bede Academy, Peru

Student Michael Gnidovec and teacher Luke McLachlan

St. Teresa High School, Decatur

Students Alesandra Lakshmanan, Abigail Lutz and Hyun Yoon and teacher Barbara Gottemoller

Villa Grove High School

Student Melissa Cornwell and teacher Alissa Cohorst

On Tuesday, organizers will select five outstanding students to participate in the national symposium set for May 2-6 in Huntsville, Ala. Two of those selected will present their research and compete for additional awards. The teacher of the top regional student will receive a $500 cash award honoring their contributions to advancing student participation in research.

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A schedule of the event follows:

Sunday, March 25

7-8:30 p.m., Opening Session, Student Center Auditorium. Keynote address by Scott Ishman, assistant professor of geology, "Global Change: Climate, Sea Level, and the Antarctic."

Monday, March 26

8:30-11a.m., Paper presentations, Student Center Auditorium

• Aminophthalyhydrazid: What the Naked Eye Cannot See

• Use of Genetic Modification for Analyzing Shoaling Behavior in Zebrafish

• The Effects of Time of Day and Gender on Students' Response to a Modified Stroop Task

• The Effects of Configural and Elemental Properties on Odor Mixture Perception

• The Effects of Acid Rain and Soil Liming on Corn Plant Growth

• Biotinylation Turnover Assay of the A33 Antigen

• A New Way to Count

2-2:50 p.m., Laboratory visits

3-4:30 p.m., Poster session, Student Center ballrooms

• The Evaluation of the Effects of Rainfall on Nitrate Content in Private Well Water

• Identifying and Sequencing New Genes in the Butterfly Species

• Impact of pH Levels on Grass Growth

• Connections between Aspects of Visual Perception, Personality, and Other Characteristics

• The Effects of Handwashing on Health

• The Effects of Water Quality on the Longevity of Captive Medusa Craspedacusta sowerbii

• Alternation of Nitrate Concentration in Relation with Common Plant Species

6-8:30 p.m., Banquet, Giant City Lodge

7-8 p.m., Presentation by the World Bird Sanctuary, "Raptor Awareness."

8-8:30 p.m., Presentation of medals

Tuesday, March 27

9-10:50 a.m., Laboratory visits

11-11:30 a.m., Awards ceremony, Student Center Auditorium