What Is the OJAS Conference?

What Is the OJAS Conference?

History of the Oregon Junior Academy of Science
Historically, OJAS was held concurrently with the Oregon Academy of Science annual meeting. When student numbers were small, the system worked quite well. Students were able to eat lunch in the same room with Oregon scientists, listen to a keynote speaker, and attend a presentation by a scientist or have a scientist attend their presentations. The practicality of having OJAS at the same place, day and time as OAS came into question as the number of student participants increased. Students required more technology for their presentations than hosting institutions could provide, students could not eat lunch in the same room with the scientists, and they spent most of their time supporting their peers presentations. Thus, OJAS decided to have a separate conference hosted by Western Oregon University on Saturday, March 4, 2000.

There have never been any membership dues associated with OJAS. Prior to 1999, all costs associated with OJAS were funded through the OAS. In 1999, a fee to cover lunches was instituted. In 2000 students paid a $6.00 registration fee that partially covered the cost of printing schedules, proceedings, name badges and certificate awards and also a $4.50 lunch ticket at the student dining hall. Western Oregon University's Division of Natural Science and Mathematics and the Office of Admissions provided additional support.

The March 2000 Conference
The conference was full of original research conducted by students in 9th through 12th grades. When students submitted abstracts of their research, they were grouped with other students whose research was in a similar discipline. There were eight concurrent sections of 11 or 12 student presentations in psychology, earth science, chemistry, physics, health/medicine, biology, biology (mostly microbiology)and environmental science. In addition there were a number of math, computer science and history of science research projects presented. When possible, students sponsored by the same teacher were scheduled at different times to allow teachers the opportunity attend their own student's presentations. Each student was given 10-12 minutes for the presentation. Many students used Power Point to either create slides for the presentation, or they used it in the presentation. At the end of the presentation, there was a 5 minute period for questions from the audience. The audience consisted primarily of teachers, parents, students and Western Oregon University faculty, education and science majors. WOU faculty, education majors and science majors served as judges. Their responsibility was to ask questions of the researchers, provide suggestions to the student researchers about their research, score the research presentations, and choose those participants who gave the most outstanding presentations. The judges in each section had expertise in that discipline. Finally, a keynote speaker, Dr. Emma Dutton, presented "Bugs and Drugs" giving the audience a view of how pharmaceutical companies like SIGA approach anitbiotic and vaccine research and development.
Who Participated in this First Separate OJAS Conference?
Over 100 students came from public, private, urban and rural high schools. The following is a list of the teachers and schools who had students participating.
  • Linda Hirschy: Southridge HS (Beaverton SD)
  • Wanda Jenkins: Aloha HS (Beaverton SD)
  • Dave Ehrenkranz: Westview HS (Beaverton SD)
  • Mike Blok: Beaverton HS
  • Allen Burrell: Beaverton HS
  • Rosa Hemphill: Oregon Episcopal School
  • Bill Lamb: Oregon Episcopal School
  • Mike Porter: Bend Sr High
  • Steve Holman: McNary HS (Salem-Keizer SD)
  • Geriann Walker: Elmira HS
  • Jeanie Eames: Benson Polytechnic HS (Portland Public Schools)
What Happens If You Are an Outstanding Research Presentation Award Recipient?
  • Opportunity to attend the American JAS National Meeting

    Those students selected as delegates for the American Junior Academy of Science get to present their research and a poster session at the national conference. That meeting is held in conjunction with the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting each February. Here students present their research to their peers and to some of the world's most distinguished scientists. They go on tours of select science facilities, interact with scientists in other activities and listen to internationally recognized, keynote speakers. As of this writing, because OJAS has no budget, the OJAS is searching for funding to help students pay their way to AJAS.

  • Opportunity to present at Junior Science and Humanities Symposium

    In addition to AJAS, eight students are selected to present at the U.S. military sponsored Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. One of those eight will be selected to be Oregon's representative to the national JSHS and receives a $4000 scholarship. If that student is selected to present at the international JSHS, then a $16,000 scholarship is awarded. Another of original eight students is chosen as the alternate and a total of five get to attend the national JSHS meeting.

This page is sponsored by the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Western Oregon University. Direct your suggestions, comments, and questions to Arlene Courtney, courtna@wou.edu.