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Hundreds of Students to Participate in Research Competition on Duquesne Campus

More than 800 junior and senior high school students from 85 local schools will explore their interests in science in a regional competition at Duquesne University.

On Saturday, Feb. 1, Duquesne will serve as the first institution of higher learning to host the Region 7 event in the 80-year history of the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) Competition. PJAS, a statewide, nonprofit organization of junior and senior high school students and teachers, is designed to stimulate and promote interest in science, math, technology and engineering through student research. Region 7 encompasses 7th- 12th graders in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

"This competition is an excellent way to get high school students excited about science," said Dr. Philip Reeder, dean of Duquesne's Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences. "It's important because we need to develop our pipeline of future scientists who will help uncover critical knowledge in our rapidly changing world."

Participating students select a project topic from behavioral psychology, biology, biochemistry, botany, chemistry, computer science, earth and space, ecology, mathematics, microbiology, physics and zoology. They research background information, formulate a hypothesis, develop an experiment, collect data, analyze data and form a conclusion. At Duquesne, they will present their scientific findings to a panel of judges during 10-minute oral presentations. After each presentation, judges conduct a five-minute question-and-answer session. Projects are evaluated on five criteria, and the best projects and papers will be presented at an annual state meeting.

Besides hosting the competition, Duquesne will provide staffing and other resources. Bayer Corporation, a Presenting Sponsor of the event, joins the University in supporting the scientific pipeline.

"As a science-based company, Bayer is delighted to sponsor this event to encourage science education and literacy right here in Pittsburgh, a place we have called home for more than 50 years," said Sarah Toulouse, executive director, Bayer USA Foundation.

That effort is important for schools, industry and the future of science. "PJAS provides a platform from which teachers can challenge their students to explore the fascinating world of scientific research," said Susan Morgan, director of PJAS Region 7. "What better way to involve young people in their future than to engage them in scientific research?"

For more information, visit www.pjas/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.