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Two District Five students earn spots at National Junior Science & Humanities Symposium

IRMO, SC - Two students from Lexington-Richland School District Five have earned spots in the 55th National Junior Science & Humanities Symposium (National JSHS) sponsored by the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force. The scientific and educational program will be held on April 26-30in San Diego, California. Dutch Fork High School senior Eric Chen and Spring Hill High School senior Hillary Melton each submitted research papers and were selected to be semifinalists at the University of South Carolina Junior Science & Humanities Symposium on January 20. The semifinalists were separated into three rooms, with the top two from each room moving on to present as finalists. In the finals, Chen placed first overall and Melton placed sixth with both earning spots at the National JSHS.

“I was really happy and proud that I got this opportunity to represent Dutch Fork and South Carolina at the national competition,” said Chen. “I wasn’t expecting it and it was really exciting.”

Melton added, “I was very honored to represent the scientific community and I felt that it was a great opportunity for high school students to enter the research field and to express their passion for medicine and pursuing innovation in society.”

Both students’ research is related to medicine. Chen’s project studies the effect of stromal cells on tumor cell growth. By identifying what is assisting tumor cells as they grow, this research is the first step towards developing new cancer treatments. Melton’s project looks at evaluating three different kinds of decontamination scenarios: emergency decontamination, sheltered decontamination, and disrobing decontamination. She used a mock contaminate, Glo Germ, in order to evaluate the efficiency of the different decontamination scenarios.

Chen and Melton will join 230 high school students from across the country who qualified for attendance by submitting and presenting original scientific research papers in regional symposia held at universities nationwide. Approximately 130 adult leaders, high school teachers, university faculty, ranking military guests, and others attend and join in encouraging the future generation of scientists and engineers and celebrating student achievement in the sciences.

District Five Coordinator of Science, Health and Physical Education Beth Boland described what it means to have two students represent the district at a national level. “Student selection for the national competition is a reflection of the innovative and cutting-edge research that occurs in District Five,” Boland said. “Our students continue to successfully compete both at the State and National level. It is a true validation of our District’s goal to produce college and career-ready students!”

For more information regarding the National Symposium, visit their website at http://www.jshs.org/nationalreg.html.

Photo caption: Hillary Melton and Eric Chen from School District Five have earned spots in the 55th National Junior Science & Humanities Symposium.

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