College of Natural Science & Mathematics

Alaska Statewide High School Science Symposium - Program Objectives and Significance

Program Objectives

The ASHSSS is a regional event, with winners going on to participate in the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS). The JSHS is administered by the Academy of Applied Science and is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force. These organizations also provide funding to regional symposia, including the ASHSSS.

The ASHSSS program objectives are those of our parent national organization, the JSHS. The objectives of the JSHS program are:

  • To promote research and experimentation in the sciences, technology, mathematics, and engineering at the high school level.
  • To recognize the significance of research in human affairs and the importance of humane and ethical principles in the application of research results.
  • To search out talented youth and their teachers, recognize their accomplishments at symposia, and encourage their continued interest and participation in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
  • To expand the horizons of research-oriented students by exposing them to opportunities in academic, industrial, and governmental communities.
  • To increase the number of future adults capable of conducting research and development.

Program Significance

The program's significance and results lie in the fact that: pre-college students are provided a forum for exceptional work, unique challenges, significant personal growth, and monetary rewards beyond normal high school experiences; encourages them to look beyond high school and to what post secondary education has to offer them as potential students coming with undergraduate-level research experience, some of which is now being published in refereed scientific journals; excellent incentives to do well are provided through the $4K scholarship, 7 full one-year tuition scholarships to UAF, $3.5K in CIF ("cash in fist"-so meaningful to teenagers) grants for placing 1st ($200), 2nd ($150), 3rd ($100), or 4th ($50) in the preliminaries; plaques, pins, memorabilia, and certificates. Student learning curves rise steeply in the performance and understanding of science research; thus, lessening the hiatus that separates high school experiences from the university campus. Perhaps more important is the building of tremendous senses of self esteem, self directed learning, and self respect. Our participants are not only winning additional scholarships nationally. They are also gaining acceptances to prestigious institutions and graduate programs such as those offered by major universities throughout the country. Assessments are being made by conducting exhaustive 'sleuthing' through student and parent interviews documenting what 'graduates' of the ASHSSS really are choosing to do beyond high school, college, and graduate school (see questioning rubric).