Polygence blog / How to Conduct and Showcase Research

The Junior Science and Humanities Symposium: How to Present and Win

4 minute read

If you've ever dreamt of showcasing your groundbreaking research on a national stage, the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) is your golden ticket. Each year, the United States Department of Defense sponsors a science symposium known as JSHS, inviting high school-level students to engage in STEM research. This event provides a platform for young minds to delve into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, fostering a spirit of exploration and innovation among the participants.

What is JSHS?

Imagine a stage where thousands of budding scientists from the United States, Puerto Rico, and DoD-affiliated schools showcase their scientific prowess. JSHS isn't just a science fair; it's a platform that nurtures innovation and fosters the research and development capabilities of the future U.S. workforce. Aspiring scientists like you can choose from an array of STEM categories, from Environmental Science to Medicine and Health, where your ingenuity can shine. 

Apart from fostering original research and experimentation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) among high school students, JSHS recognizes the profound impact of research on human affairs and emphasizes the importance of applying humane and ethical principles in using original research outcomes. Additionally, JSHS endeavors to identify and celebrate talented youth and their teachers, providing a platform to showcase their exceptional achievements at symposia. The symposium seeks to inspire continued interest and participation in STEM disciplines while broadening the horizons of research-oriented students. Furthermore, JSHS plays a pivotal role in exposing talented students to diverse opportunities within academic, industrial, and governmental communities, contributing to the expansion of research and development capabilities within the future U.S. workforce.

A proven college admissions edge

Polygence alumni had a 92% admissions rate to R1 universities in 2023. Polygence provides high schoolers a personalized, flexible research experience proven to boost your admission odds. Get matched to a mentor now!"

Eligibility Criteria

If you're a high school student in grades 9-12 and an American citizen or permanent resident, you're in the game! But here's the catch—JSHS is fiercely competitive, with an acceptance rate of around 3%. Yet, this exclusivity adds to its prestige, making it a close contender to the renowned International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

Timeline and Participation

Picture this: you have completed your research project, and you’ve arrived to compete at the regional symposia. JSHS beckons you to submit your research dreams from September to December, with regional symposia held from January to March and the national showdown in April to May. But how do you participate? It's a sequential fair, my friend. Qualify at the regional level, and you're invited to the national spectacle.

Documents and Abstracts

Embarking on your research journey for the JSHS starts with crafting a concise 250-word abstract—an essential golden ticket that introduces the essence of your scientific investigation. Remarkably, certain regions may grant you approval to participate solely based on the strength and clarity of this abstract. This brief but comprehensive summary must encapsulate the core aspects of your research, enticing the interest of non-specialist readers and potential judges. Feel free to check out this article by Polygence mentor, Divya on “How to write an abstract for a research paper”, which provides a great overview on how to get started. 

In addition to the abstract, you are required to compose a detailed research paper, adhering to the APA Style student format and spanning between 5 to 40 pages, inclusive of appendices and references. This paper serves as an in-depth exploration of your research, outlining the methodology, results, and conclusions. Learn how to outline a stem research paper in this helpful article from Polygence mentor, Logan.

Alongside these components, the statement on "Outside Assistance" becomes a crucial element, requiring you to articulate your role in the research, acknowledge any external help received, and affirm the ethical conduct of your investigative procedures, particularly in projects involving vertebrate animals or human subjects. 

The Regional Symposium

The regional symposium is hosted by local universities. Impress the judges, and you might find yourself in the poster competition or oral presentation, competing for a spot at the Nationals. The JSHS is known for rewarding research excellence, so the stakes are high, and the top five finalists bag not only recognition but also undergraduate tuition scholarships worth thousands of dollars. 

A proven college admissions edge

Polygence alumni had a 92% admissions rate to R1 universities in 2023. Polygence provides high schoolers a personalized, flexible research experience proven to boost your admission odds. Get matched to a mentor now!"

The National Symposium

Fast forward to the National JSHS—where dreams are realized and champions emerge. The top three finalists in the oral competition sweep away undergraduate tuition scholarships worth up to a maximum of $30,000. The cash awards can change, so it’s best to read the most updated JSHS students' awards page.

What did the previous winners do? 

Previous JSHS winners have demonstrated outstanding achievement in diverse STEM fields, showcasing their innovative research and scientific acumen. These accomplished students have tackled pressing issues in environmental science, biomedical sciences, life and behavioral sciences, medicine and health, engineering and technology, mathematics and computer science, physical sciences, and chemistry. Their projects have spanned a wide range, from groundbreaking discoveries in genetics and microbiology to advancements in environmental engineering and aerospace technology. These winners not only excelled in their research investigations but also effectively communicated their findings through articulate oral and poster presentations. Their contributions have not only earned them recognition at the regional and national levels but have also showcased the depth of talent and passion within the next generation of scientists and researchers. 

Research Opportunities with Polygence

The Polygence Core Research program offers an invaluable opportunity to enhance your JSHS experience. Picture having a mentor by your side—someone who has navigated the challenges, achieved success, and is dedicated to guiding you on the path to triumph. Whether you’re passionate about exploring the mysteries of the universe through astrophysics or delving into cutting-edge artificial intelligence research, Polygence mentors are here to help. Countless research project possibilities await you across a variety of disciplines! Why not give it a try? 

Get started with some inspiration for Research Opportunities for High School Students!