Twenty-six Manual students competed in the Kentucky Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) on Feb. 28.
Four of Manual’s competitors, Sasank Vishnubhatla (11, MST), Sanjana Rane (11, MST), Mukund Venkatakrishnan (10, MST) and Janice Im (11, MST), earned top honors, placing first, second, third and fifth respectively. Ananias Conway, a freshman at Assumption, placed fourth.
The top three presenters won cash prizes ranging from $1000 to $2000.
Additionally, Vishnubhatla and Rane will participate in the 53rd National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium from April 29 to May 2 in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Venkatakrishnan and Im will also attend the national conference as observers and unofficial poster presenters.
Vishnubhatla’s presentation detailed a new mathematical algorithm to enhance human iris recognition and improve its security.
“Symposium is really fun because you get to learn about what other people find interesting and what they spend their time doing,” Vishnubhatla said. “It’s nice to meet people who appreciate that you’ve done research and the fact that you’re trying to help the scientific community. It’s also nice to know that the research I’m currently doing is good enough for a presentation-based competition, and it gives me hope for Regional and State science fair.”
Lavanya Kanneganti (10, MST) presented about minimally invasive treatments for currently incurable retinal and neurodegenerative diseases.
“Because this competition required us to convert our projects into more layman’s terms, I definitely had to delve into a deeper level of understanding of my project,” Kanneganti said. “This helped me explain my research to people who weren’t familiar with it.”
At the competition, officials divided the students into four randomly selected judging pools. The top scorer in each pool would advance to the final round of evaluation, along with one wildcard competitor who earned the next highest score overall.
To qualify for the Kentucky symposium, all applicants were required to submit a research paper detailing their science fair project. According to Mr. Glenn Zwanzig (Science), all twenty-six Manual students who submitted proposals were approved for competition.
The JSHS is the only science fair competition that is based on a slideshow presentation as opposed to a tri-fold board. Consequently, it is judged heavily on public speaking style.
MST students will compete in the duPont Manual Regional Science Fair on March 14 at the University of Louisville.