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Duquesne Campus Again to Host Regional Science Competition

Together, University, Schools and Industry Work to Make Region STEM-Strong

More than 800 middle and high school students will swarm the Duquesne University campus on Saturday, Feb. 7, to present results of their science projects as part of the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) Competition.

The 7th- through 12th- graders, coming from nearly 80 private and public schools in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, will share presentations of their scientific studies in the PJAS Region 7 competition, being held for a second year at Duquesne.

"This competition brings together a natural partnership between PJAS, which is working with some of the region's brightest young science students, and the University," said Dean Philip Reeder of the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences. "Together, we are working to strengthen the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) capabilities of our region, making sure students are aware of these opportunities."

"The PJAS science competition aligns perfectly with our initiatives to advance STEM education through a strong business-academia partnership," said Karl Haider, research fellow, Bayer MaterialScience LLC, a sponsor of the event "This event reflects a deeper commitment to building a robust STEM-educated workforce, which is critical to driving innovation that extends beyond the Pittsburgh community."

Opportunities such as PJAS help to grow a STEM pipeline that carries through to higher education, industry and academia, said Dr. Jeff Evanseck, professor of chemistry and biochemistry who serves as the John V. Crable Chair of Undergraduate Research at Duquesne and is a coordinator for the competition.

For example, Sarah Richards of Ingram, now a Bayer Scholar and senior chemistry major at Duquesne, has made the transition from former science competition contestant to judge. The competitions, she said, "gave me the opportunity to get an idea of what research as an undergraduate would be like. This really inspired me to come to Duquesne because I knew I would be able to do undergrad research here.

"Encouraging younger students to participate is so important because we hope that we can inspire younger students in the way that we were inspired," she said.

Students have been preparing for this big moment since the beginning of the school year, some since the summer, said Susan Morgan, director of PJAS Region 7.

"This year five new schools have joined the PJAS science competition and about 50 more students are participating than last year," Morgan said. "Pittsburgh has always been in the forefront of innovative science and technology. This science explosion proves our area will remain in the lead."

For more information, visit www.pjas.net/region7.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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