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KNOXVILLE — Local high school students attending the 45th Tennessee Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, last week dominated the top spots.

More than 20 students from high schools across the state competed to determine who had the best research in sciences, mathematics and engineering. They were judged by a panel of UT Knoxville science and engineering faculty members.

Yajit Jain, a junior at Oak Ridge High School, won first place with his presentation, “Electric Field Calculation for Fluid Simulation.” Jain’s research focused on using mathematic and computational methods to model the effects of an electrical field on the break-up of fluid particles. Judges said the paper stood alone in terms of the sophistication of the approach and the excellent grasp Jain displayed on complex mathematical and computational modeling.

The award earned Jain a $2,000 college scholarship and a spot to compete in the National JSHS held in Bethesda, Md., April 28-May 2. If Jain wins in the national competition, he will then compete in the International Youth Science Forum this summer in London.

Niral Sheth, a senior at Farragut High School, won second place. His presentation, “Understanding Cardiac Arrhythmias through Cellular Automata,” focused on the computational modeling of heart arrhythmias. Sheth earned a $1,500 college scholarship.

Ariel Buehler, also a senior at Farragut High School, won third place. Her presentation, “Effectiveness of RT-PCR for Detecting the Presence of Listeria monocytogenes, a Food-borne Pathogen,” worked on methods of copying DNA sequences to detect small amounts of bacteria in food. She earned a $1,000 college scholarship.

Lillie Brown, a senior at Cleveland High School, won an honorable mention for her presentation, “Relationships and Effects of Sedimentation and Channelization of Mouse Creek.”

Ashley Fuqua, a senior at Greenbrier High School, also received an honorable mention for her presentation, “Kinetics of Ethanol Production during Fermentation of a Variety of High Starch Plants.”

In contrast to the top three winners, the honorable mention award winners conceived and executed their work without assistance from a mentor in a university laboratory setting.

Finally, Cristen Peterson, a senior at Farragut High School, was the poster award winner. Her presentation, “Evaluation of Novel Auxin Herbicides through the Synthesis and Screening of a Small Molecule Library,” featured an interdisciplinary research approach which merged organic synthetic chemistry with plant physiology.

The symposium is one of 48 in the United States and the only one in Tennessee.

C O N T A C T:

Whitney Holmes (865-974-5460, wholmes7@utk.edu)