SJA Students to Present Original Scientific Research

January 19, 2021

Three St. Johnsbury Academy students have been selected to virtually present their original scientific research at the American Association for the Advancement for Science (AAAS) conference in February—the largest general science conference in the world. The event is sponsored by the New Hampshire Academy of Science. Twenty-six students selected from twelve Upper Valley schools passed through a scientific peer review conducted by scientists at Dartmouth College.


Each of the SJA students are studying a unique topic. Freshman Esme Kimber’s project is titled “The Effects of Cannabidiol Oil on Serotonin Levels of Caenorhabditis elegans.” Sophomore Liam Markey’s project is “Genetic Analysis of Microsatellite Regions within a population of Cyp. reginae in Strafford, Vermont” and senior Luke Young-Xu’s project is “Adapting a Micronucleus Assay for Use in C. elegans.”


The students will also be inducted into the American Junior Academy of Scientists (AJAS). The organization is considered the nation’s premier honor society for secondary school students who perform STEM research. They will attend career development, AJAS programming, and AAAS seminars and programs—including a lecture by Dr. Anthony Fauci, US NIAID Director.


Dr. Elia Desjardins, department head of SJA’s science department, said, “Esme, Liam, and Luke have all demonstrated their commitment to learning and doing science at the highest levels, in Academy classrooms and in their extracurricular pursuits. We are proud of their work and excited to see more research emerge from student partnerships with the New Hampshire Academy of Science and the Fairbanks Museum STEM Lab.”


Headmaster Sharon Howell said, “This is an invaluable opportunity for our students: to have their original research considered seriously by professionals, and to share that research with a larger community of scholars and scientists. We are so proud of each of them for their unique contributions, and wish them luck with their presentations next month.”


These students will join 168 students from 20 other state academies to be recognized by leading scientists as they interact with the worldwide scientific community at this international meeting.


This NHAS STEM research project is supported by the Science Education Partnership Award program from the National Institute of General Medical Science of the National Institutes of Health. Additional support comes from The Couch Family Foundation.

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