Top young science, engineering and humanities students to visit Maryville for symposium


ST. LOUIS – Maryville University will host the 40th Annual Missouri Regional Junior Science Engineering and Humanities Symposium, an established competition for high school scientists, from March 8 to 9.

Paul Alan Cox, director of the Institute of EthnoMedicine in Jackson Hole, Wyo., will deliver the keynote address at a banquet from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8 in Gander Hall.  Time magazine named Cox as one of its “Heroes of Medicine” for his work in ethnobotanical drug discovery. Cox will speak on “Searching Tropical Islands for a Cure for Brain Diseases.”

Maryville University takes the reins from longtime host the University of Missouri-St. Louis and looks forward to showcasing its west St. Louis County facilities, including newly renovated science laboratories during the two-day event.

Maryville’s Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Candace Chambers said, “There’s only one of these in the state of Missouri, and it’s here. We’re looking forward to high school students seeing our facilities, spending time with the faculty and seeing how engaged we are in these disciplines.”

The U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force through the Academy of Applied Science, Inc., provide funding for the Annual Missouri Regional Junior Science Engineering and Humanities Symposium.

This year’s conference theme is, “Science: Imagining What’s Next.” Conference organizers anticipate 200 to 250 high school sophomores, juniors and seniors will present their research. Competition is open to students from across the state and includes students from public, private and home schools.

Co-directors Tom Spudich and Kyra Krakos, both faculty members at Maryville, are looking forward to meeting some of Missouri’s top high school researchers.

“It’s a high school science fair project on steroids. It’s top-notch work,” said Spudich, assistant professor of
chemistry. Student research at the symposiums is of such high quality, it often could be suitable for publication.

Kyra Krakos, assistant professor of biology, said, “It is a way for Maryville to raise its profile in the scientific community. The symposium does launch young scientists into the bigger world.” The top competitors are invited to participate in the National JSHS, to be held in May 2013 in Ohio.

During the symposium, student teams will also compete at the 2013 JSEHS Missouri State Great Science Debate. The topic is “Resolved: `It is appropriate that the United States government should make manned space exploration a funded priority for NASA.’” The winning team will receive $1,000 for its science department. The second-place team wins $500.

Maryville is seeking volunteers to help with aspects of the symposium.

More information about the Annual Missouri Regional Junior Science Engineering and Humanities Symposium is available at

About Maryville University
Maryville University, founded in 1872, is ranked in the national universities category of U.S. News & World Report. It is one of three institutions in the Greater St. Louis Area ranked in this division. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranks Maryville in the Top 100 Private Universities in the U.S. for Best Value.