Ellis Science Students Shine at PJAS Regional Competition

Ellis Middle and Upper School students were honored with top awards at the 2022 Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) regional competition. The students were recognized for experiments they researched, designed, and conducted in categories including biology, physics, biochemistry, computer science, chemistry, ecology, and microbiology. Students who placed first are eligible to continue on to the state competition in May.
To prepare for the competition, the students spent the first trimester asking questions and researching possible topics for their individual PJAS investigations. They then each chose a specific question to answer through their work, developed a hypothesis, and designed a procedure to obtain results that would support or reject their hypothesis. By the second trimester, students were ordering materials and running their investigations, completing much of their work independently at home. Students then organized their data, analyzed their results, and created presentations to share their findings.

Though the students were expecting to deliver their presentations in person this year, they were notified mid-January that the PJAS regional competition would be held remotely. Upper School Chemistry Teacher and PJAS Faculty Advisor Lynne St. Hilaire shares that though this was initially disappointing for the students, they pivoted expertly and with tremendous effort, working tirelessly to create audio recordings of their speeches for submission to the PJAS judges.

“I am so proud of all these students for their ability to modify their plans and pivot when necessary to ultimately complete detailed research and submit professional presentations,” says Ms. St. Hilaire. “Through the completion of these projects, their independence, confidence in conducting scientific research, and ability to interpret data have grown so much. I am thrilled with all of their work and can't wait to see what our students achieve at the state competition in May!”

First Place Awards:
Eleanor Barth Wu**
Class of 2022
Physics
The Role of the Microbiome in Small Intestine Regeneration
Avery Cynkar*
Class of 2027
Chemistry
The Effect of Temperature on Dissolved Oxygen Content of Water
Viola Haggerty
Class of 2023
Computer Science
Effectivity of SQL Injection Preventative Measures
Livia Keelan
Class of 2024
Biology
The Effect of Over The Counter Medicine on the Heart Rate of Daphnia
Enysah Roberts*
Class of 2023
Biochemistry
The Role of p53/cep-1 in Lipid Metabolism

Second Place Awards:
Sarah Ali
Class of 2023
Microbiology
T4r Bacteriophage in Combating Bacterial Growth of E.coli
Rachel Arnt
Class of 2026
Physics
Measuring the Stretch of Various Fabrics
Dionna Bobo*
Class of 2027
Ecology
The Effect of Detergents on the Growth of Plants
Grace Boyer*
Class of 2023
Microbiology
Worm Casting Quality Based on Manipulated Diets
Simone Boyiadzis*
Class of 2027
Ecology
Comparing Prevention of Erosion by Various Plants
Natalie Ficca*
Class of 2024
Biochemistry
How Are Sugar Substitutes Killing Our Environment?

* - First time competing in PJAS
** - Has competed in PJAS during all years eligible, grades 7–12
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