From MIT News

Talented high school researchers attending the annual AAAS/AJAS conference in Boston meet with MIT faculty.

 

On Feb. 17, MIT hosted some of the nation’s most talented high school student researchers for a “Breakfast with Scientists” at the American Junior Academy of Science (AJAS) conference, held in conjunction with the 2017 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston.

The breakfast was a unique opportunity for students to receive advice and encouragement from scientists working at the top of their fields, among them Nobel Prize laureates such as Phillip Sharp and Bob Horvitz, both professors in the MIT Department of Biology. In total, 14 MIT faculty members attended, along with distinguished faculty from other universities, pharmaceutical and biotechnology leaders and inventors, and the editor-in-chief of Sciencemagazine, Jeremy Berg. Discussions ranged in topic from what it means to be a scientist today to career paths to fundamental research.

“Speaking with someone who is passionate about something you are doing and are in awe of what you have done is an eye-opening and amazing experience,” said Chase Bishop, a delegate from North Carolina. “The tour of MIT was also very cool. I got to see things that I have seen on science shows, but I was right next to the people who had done it. I’ll definitely be sending my application there.”

This year, 124 students were selected to attend AJAS based on their outstanding research, which they presented at competitions such as the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, research symposia, and the Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair, hosted by MIT. 

Although many of the students conducted their research at home without access to state-of-the-art tools and techniques found in laboratories, their understanding of the scientific method and its applications is sophisticated.

“I sat next to an eighth-grader from Massachusetts who blew my socks off in his efforts to recycle trash into something useful,” said Joanne Stubbe, a National Science Medalist and Novartis Professor Emerita in the MIT Department of Chemistry. “He was amazingly articulate, clearly loved science, and understood its translational importance.”

Sponsored by the School of Science, the School of Engineering, and the School of Architecture and Planning, the event is part of a long tradition at MIT of supporting promising young researchers early on.

"They are a remarkable group of young people, with great energy, insights, and varied interests,” said Ian A. Waitz, dean of engineering at MIT. "With so many challenges in the world and so much to be discovered, it is inspiring to know that many of them will be future leaders in science and technology.”


2017 AJAS Student Delegates

We are privileged to honor you, your teachers, your parents, and

your AAAS affiliated Academy of Science representative

at the 2017 AJAS/NAAS/AAAS Conference

February 15th-19th -- Boston, MA

AJAS is America's only honor research society for high school scientists. Each state's Academy of Science selects the premier middle and high school researchers from their state to be lifetime fellows in AJAS.

Each year, AJAS hosts a conference to honor these students and to induct them as fellows into AJAS.  The conference is always held in conjunction with the American Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) Conference. 


A big thank you to everyone who participated in AJAS 2016 in Washington D.C.!

Image Credit to Michael J. Colella

Hi-Res

High school students see science in action at Stanford

When the world’s most accomplished scientists gathered for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Jose recently, a cadre of the nation’s most promising high school scientists gathered too.

Some of those students had an opportunity to experience science at Stanford during a visit to the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and to the main campus.

The 36 students who participated in the Stanford tour were fellows in the American Junior Academy of Science (AJAS), a national honor society for students who have completed exemplary scientific research projects while attending high school. Each affiliated (city, state, or regional) Academy of Science nominates their top high school science researchers, and these students, along with their teachers, are invited to the AJAS annual conference, held during the AAAS annual meeting.

The students, who were accompanied by teachers, parents and other officials, began their day at SLAC, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science facility operated by Stanford.

JOSH TURNER, a scientist at Linac Coherhent Light Source (LCLS), presented a “day in the life at an x-ray laser.” The students also toured the LCLS’s experimental halls and visited the klystron gallery  – looking down the two-mile accelerator.

“The students and accompanying chaperones were able to see science in action as researchers prepared experiments, visiting stations set for recreating extreme states of matter (like those at the heart of Jupiter) and for studying the atomic structures of complex and critical proteins like those active in photosynthesis,” said MELINDA LEE, who manages community relations for the SLAC Office of Communication. “‘Cool’ and ‘Awesome’ were most frequently used descriptors,” Lee added.

Following the SLAC visit, the group visited the main campus and spent time in the Chemistry Department. They were blown away by the science and captivated by the beauty of the campus.

HENRY MAGUN, a Stanford freshman and former AJAS fellow, helped with planning the visit and checked in with the students while they were on campus.