Four Perfect Scores & 25 First-Place Awards at PJAS Regional Competition

EA students again found success at the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) Regional Competition this year.

"All of our students won first or second place awards at the Regional Competition!" said Upper School Science Teacher and PJAS Advisor Katie Colyer. "Four students received perfect scores from the judges, and three students won special awards for going 'above and beyond' in some aspect of their research."

Twenty-five EA students earned first place and are now eligible to advance to the State Competition in May. Five students won second place awards. Students have been working on their projects since the fall.

"The students developed a topic of interest and designed a research project around that topic," explained Dr. Colyer. "I am always impressed with the ideas they come up with and their willingness to think creatively throughout the development of their projects. I am very proud of all of their hard work and dedication. This is such an impressive group!"

"The focus of my project was to incorporate what I really love––ecology and the environment––and apply it to something which can be tested," said Gavin Schmidt '24. "I decided to explore the concept of Ocean Acidification, a critical area of study for climate scientists exploring climate change and alteration."

Freshman Daniel Adibi won first place and the Judge's Award, in the math category, for his work titled: Finding all Secant Lines Parallel to a Given Tangent Line.

Senior Caroline Sewell earned the Robust Research Award in chemistry for completing extensive real-world research that goes beyond the project. Her project focused on optimizing metal-thiosulfate formation using catalysts.

Four students earned a perfect score.

  • Michelle Jiang '24 (Category: Computer Science, Title: Utilizing AI modeling for stock market predictions)
  • Katie Lee '24 (Category: Computer Science, Title: Zero knowledge proofs: Adding anonymity to Blockchain)
  • Gavin Schmidt '24 (Category: Ecology, Title: Effects of pH on carbonate structures and bacteria in the sea)

"Winning a perfect score for the second year in a row was a crazy moment. I was the last person in our group to be announced and the people before me all got first place scores and it made me nervous. I earned a perfect score! I was ecstatic and excitedly walked to Dr. Colyer, one of my mentors, to receive my award," recalled Gavin.

Anjali Malickel Ramakrishnan '24 also received a perfect score, as well as the Exceptional Analysis Award in the Ecology category, for her research that examined addressing the air pollution of dry shampoo.

Overall Results:

III Form (9th Grade):

  • Daniel Adibi - 1st place and Judge's Award
  • Michael Chadwick - 1st place
  • Brian Lee - 1st place
  • Mahika Ralhan - 1st place

IV Form (10th Grade):

  • Rohan Dalal - 1st place 
  • Elle Du Pont - 1st place 
  • Jacob Kim - 1st place
  • Avery Lee - 2nd place 
  • Ellie Moran - 1st place 
  • Ritvika Nandan - 2nd place 
  • Cassidy Ott - 1st place 

V Form (11th Grade):

  • Bella Bin - 1st place 
  • Austin Bouvel - 1st place 
  • Isabella Brunetti - 2nd place 
  • David Cataldo - 1st place 
  • Jack Cellucci - 1st place 
  • Aryav Dhar - 1st place 
  • Michelle Jiang - 1st place and perfect score
  • Kassidy Kryukov - 2nd place
  • Kate Lamb - 1st place
  • Katie Lee - 1st place and perfect score
  • Anjali Malickel Ramakrishnan - 1st place, perfect score, Exceptional Analysis Award
  • John Malone - 2nd place 
  • Isabel Rozes - 1st place 
  • Gavin Schmidt - 1st place and perfect score
  • Rohan Sivakumar - 1st place
  • Khoa Tran - 1st place
  • Delaney Welsh - 1st place 

VI Form (12th Grade):

  • Justin Lam - 1st place 
  • Caroline Sewell - 1st place and Robust Research Award

"I have learned that adaptability is key and that one's original plan is likely to not work," said Gavin. "I live by the mantra, 'The key to life is how you react to plan B,' meaning that the key to accomplishing anything is to be able to adapt and redirect oneself if what you had originally intended does not go as planned." 

Nine schools participated in the regional competition on Saturday, March 4, at E.T. Richardson Middle School in Springfield. The PJAS state competition will be held in May at Penn State University.