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Marine Corps Lt. Col. Scotty Black, right, judges a poster presentation at the 2022 National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.

National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium

by By Alexandra M. Landsberg, Director, Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences Division, Office of Naval Research | 12 August 2022

by By Alexandra M. Landsberg, Director, Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences Division, Office of Naval Research | 12 August 2022

On Saturday, April 23, the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) wrapped another amazing National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (NJSHS). 

Going strong for 60 years, NJSHS brought together 224 high school students throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Department of Defense Schools of Europe and the Pacific to compete to win scholarships or cash awards.  The Junior Science and Humanities Symposiums (JSHS) is a Tri-Service — Departments of the Air Force, Army and Navy — sponsored science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competition that promotes original research and experimentation at the high school level.  Students compete by submitting and presenting original scientific research papers and presenting the research via poster or oral presentations throughout the year at regional competitions.  Regional winners are invited to compete at NJSHS.  JSHS aims to widen the pool of trained talent prepared to conduct research and development vital to our nation. 

NJSHS was held April 20 – 23, 2022, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to much excitement.  It was the first time the National competition was held in person two years since the pandemic.  The spirits of all attendees — student competitors, JSHS regional directors, chaperones, parents, competition judges, speakers and event coordinators — were high, and that elevation was constant throughout the four-day event!

The Department of the Navy (DoN) volunteers were indeed ecstatic about their role in the success of this year’s national competition.  DoN STEM professionals served as competition judges, and most of them also served as Department of Defense (DoD) Alumni Panelists, Roundtable Discussion leaders and/or Reverse Science Fair presenters.  Of the 57 DoD STEM professionals who served as judges this year, 24 represented the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.   It was great to have both DoN civilian and military STEM professionals and participate in this event.  

The DoD Alumni Panel allowed the students to hear from DoD STEM professionals who participated in DoD student programs or received DoD scholarships.  Four panelists participated, three of whom were Navy, and shared their educational journeys, current careers and experience participating in a DoD program as a student.  The Navy panelist included: Dr. Jennifer Wolk of the Office of Naval Research (ONR), who participated in the Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP) and the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP); Lt. Cmdr. Micah Kinney of Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), who participated in the Navy Health Profession Scholarship Program (HPSP) and the Duty Under Instruction (DUINS) program; Lt. Cmdr Laura Moody of the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED), who was a JSHS alumnus. The Navy panelists greatly impacted the students by sharing their educational and professional journeys, as many wanted more time with each panelist.  

Each Service provided a technical speaker to speak to the student competitors about their research.  This year, the DoN speaker was a 2021 ONR Young Investigator Program recipient and the Ohio State University Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Dr. Aeriel Murphy-Leonard.  Leonard gave an informative and lively talk titled, “The Truth Inside: Using High Energy X-rays to Understand Deformation in Structural Materials.”  Dr. Leonard went through a fundamental discussion on material science and understanding how and why structural materials fail.  Students enjoyed her talk with some students expressing how inspired they were by her and her research. 

The event culminated with the award ceremony, where the competition winners were announced.  During the ceremony, the students received congratulatory remarks from Chief of Naval Research (CNR) Rear Adm. Lorin Selby.  In addition, the Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant to the CNR, Capt. Randy Cruz, attended in person and presented awards to the students.

The 2022 NJSHS awarded 24 students $192,000 in undergraduate tuition scholarships and 24 students $10,800 in cash awards.  You can find a complete list of the winners and learn more about JSHS at

Thank you to all of the DoN volunteers and the Naval STEM Coordination Office for their contributions to the success of the 2022 National JSHS.  Congratulations to all of the NJSHS winners! 


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