Contact Us

    Life Sciences Program

    Jonathan Prather, Director

    Offices located in the Life Science Service Center

    Aven Nelson Building, Room 114

    1000 E. University Ave.

    Laramie, WY 82071

    Phone: 307-766-5025

    Fax: 307-766-2851


    Junior Science and Humanities Symposium

    Life Sciences Program


    The Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) for Wyoming and Eastern Colorado

    Regional: Saturday, March 2, 2024, held online and sponsored by Life Sciences Program at the University of Wyoming

    JSHS is funded by the National Science Teachers Association (formerly funded by the Army, Navy and Air Force of the United States of America) in order to encourage high school students (grades 9 to 12) to enter college level studies in science and engineering. The students involved come from 48 regions from all parts of the United States, territories, and overseas military base high schools.  The Junior Science and Humanities Symposium has been sponsored by the United States Department of the Army since its inception in 1958.  The contest has also been sponsored by the Departments of the Navy and the Air Force since 1995 and 1996, respectively.  Resulting from the sponsorship and the cooperative efforts of universities throughout the nation, JSHS annually reaches over 10,000 high school students and teachers at regional and national symposia.  The Academy of Applied Science, a nonprofit organization in Concord, New Hampshire, administered JSHS for many years, and now that honor has been taken over by the National Science Teachers Association in cooperation with universities and other educational institutions. For additional information, please visit

    The primary objectives of JSHS are: 1) to promote research and experimentation in the sciences, engineering and mathematics at the high school level, 2) to publicly recognize students for their outstanding achievements, and 3) to provide scholarships to help outstanding students pursue their undergraduate education.  At the Symposium, students will have the chance to meet like-minded, dedicated and enthusiastic students from other schools, to learn about future careers in science and engineering, and to be inspired by other students’ research and ideas.

    The JSHS gives high school students the opportunity to present their scientific research work in front of an audience in much the same way as they would at a professional science meeting. With only slides, overhead, Power Point or backboard they let the audience know what they have done in their chosen research area.

    WHEN: 9 A.M. Saturday, March 2, 2024

    WHERE: Our Regional Symposium will be held virtually, with students presenting to judges via teleconference.  Students will be able to use visual aids, videos, etc. to help them present their projects to the judges.  

    There will be only one presentation session (no concurrent sessions) and the number of presenters will be limited according to the number of Finalists that are selected from our pool of applicants.  Submitted papers will be evaluated and the Finalists (presenters) chosen from among them.

    The following resources have been offered in the past by your Wyoming and Eastern Colorado JSHS.  They will not be offered this year because no travel will be necessary.  We have listed them here orient you to what we hope will be possible again in the years to come (as resources permit):

    Rooms - Lodging is available, and participants and their families/teachers/mentors can request lodging for Thursday and/or Friday nights.  As resources permit, lodging may be provided for student speakers, chaperones (teachers, parents, etc.), and guest student observers.

    Meals - Lunch and Dinner on Friday will be provided for student speakers, chaperones (teachers, parents, etc.), and guest student observers.  Breakfast is provided in the mornings for all guests of many nearby hotels, so attendees that receive lodging at those locations (also still to be determined) will also receive breakfast the following morning.

    *To be accepted: The student must submit a paper describing the science project the student wishes to present by Saturday, February 10, 2024.

    Who is Eligible?

    Any student attending a high school or of high school age but receiving at-home instruction in Wyoming or Eastern Colorado is eligible to participate. There is no registration fee to apply or to participate, and there is no limit on the number of students that can apply from any individual school.  All program costs and meals during the symposium will be provided for all invited students and one chaperone from each school (each person is responsible for their own transportation to and from the event, and transportation costs cannot be reimbursed).  To facilitate participation by students from all our region, lodging may also be provided for Thursday and Friday evenings (sa resources permit).

    How do I register?

    Please register for this event using the online registration pages found here [NOTE - THIS LINK IS NOT YET ACTIVE.  PLEASE EMAIL YOUR APPLICATION MATERIALS DIRECTLY TO DR. JONATHAN PRATHER AND REVISIT THIS SITE LATER WHEN THE LINK IS ACTIVE]. Also, email your abstract and research paper as a single PDF file to with "JSHS 2024 Application" in the subject line prior to the end of Saturday, February 10, 2024. There is no registration fee now or later.

    What should be the content of the PDF file that I submit?

    To participate in the competitive portion of our program, students must have conducted STEM-related research and have collected results and interpreted the findings that emerged from their work.  Students intending to apply must submit their materials and register by Saturday, February 10, 2024. Be sure to also email your abstract and research paper together as one PDF file to Dr. Jonathan Prather


    1.  An abstract of 200 words or less giving an overview of the research

    No pictures, charts, graphs or attachments may accompany the abstract. Immediately preceding the body of the abstract, the text must also include:

    a.  Title of the research

    b.  Name(s) of the author(s)

    c.  High school, high school city, high school state

    d.  Name of teacher/mentor/sponsor. Please include a subheading that identifies the role (e.g., Teacher: Joe Smith)

    Please note that words in the title and other information (points a through d above) do not count against the 200 word limit.


    2,  A full research paper detailing your findings and/or the ongoing and future directions of your research.

    Each applicant may tailor the format of this paper to meet their individual needs, but a recommended format is provided in the information below.


    What is the timeline of events leading up to the March 2 Regional Symposium?

    Based on those research papers, our panel of judges will select up to 15 of the top students as Finalists to give oral presentations of their work at our Symposium in March.  Students who have not yet conducted research or are just beginning their projects are welcome to attend the symposium as observers. All members of students' families, friends, or other supporters are also welcome to attend the event.  All applicants will be notified of their status on or before Saturday, February, 17, 2024.

    February 10*  Student abstracts and research papers are due

    February 17*  All applicants will be notified of their status (e.g., Finalist) by email on or before this day.

    February 26  Student/Teacher/Parent/Guardian online registration for the symposium is due. This can be done through the online registration site [NOTE - THIS LINK IS NOT YET ACTIVE.  PLEASE EMAIL YOUR APPLICATION MATERIALS DIRECTLY TO DR. JONATHAN PRATHER AND REVISIT THIS SITE LATER WHEN THE LINK IS ACTIVE]). Competitors will be notified by email once that registration website is complete.

    February 26  Parent/Guardian permission forms are due (this will also be done through the online registration site)

    March 2  Regional Symposium will be held online. Events begin at 9 AM MTN time.


    * Please note that in the event of an especially large number of entrants, students may be contacted after February 10 and asked to submit a link of their presentation so that judges have that content to use in their selection of finalists.  If that becomes necessary, students will be notified as soon after February 17 as possible, and all participants will be given the same deadline to submit their materials.  Because the decision may require this video content, and because it will not be known until February 10 whether this is required, students are encouraged to begin brainstorming about their possible presentation as they are also compiling their application documents.  That planning will be quite valuable if they are asked to submit a video, if they are asked to present to the judges as finalists, or both.


    What will Happen on the Day of the Symposium?

    For the symposium itself on Saturday, March 2, 2024, please plan to login to the event streaming link (will be provided to finalists once they have been identified) by 8:45 AM on that day.  Registration will begin at 8:30 and the competition will begin at 9:00 AM.  The event will conclude no later than 5:00 PM on that day.  All presenters, supporters, and people interested in hearing about fascinating science are welcome to attend. 

    On the day of the symposium, all student researchers, observers and sponsoring teachers will be expected to participate in the day’s events, including presentations by student competitors, discussions in college and career focus groups, a presentation by a keynote speaker, and an evening ceremony to announce the winners and recognize the outstanding achievements of all of our students.  These events in addition to student presentations have been part of events in years past, and they may be omitted for the sake of time in this unusual online format. 


    What Awards are Available in this Competition?

    Students who participate in the oral presentations at our regional symposium will be competing for:

    1.  Three scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 each

    2.  Three expenses-paid trips to the 60th National JSHS Symposium to be held in person on May 1-4, 2024 in Albuquerque, NM. Students selected for those opportunities to attend the National Symposium will be entered into the National Competition for up to $16,000 in scholarship assistance.

    Regional winners will be announced on the day of the Symposium. Regional winners will be invited to compete in the National Symposium to be held May 1-4, 2024.  Additional details can be provided to people who express interest and contact Dr. Jonathan Prather at


    What should we do if there is bad weather on the night before or the day of the Regional Symposium?

    This is a question that we always have to ask in our region, as it can have big impacts on students' ability to travel.  This year, however, the event will be held online, so there will be on threat of weather causing impassable roads or other travel challenges. 



    Do you have any advice for how to compose my abstract and research paper?



    Abstracts are primary means by which scientists decide which research reports to read.  The abstract is a very brief overview of your entire research project. The abstract tells the reader what you did, why you did it, what you found, and what those data mean. The sequence of sentences is ordered in a logical fashion, beginning with an introduction that includes your hypothesis and proceeding to your test. Distill the most important items of your research project and leave out unimportant or distracting details. As a first draft, write one or two sentences that summarize each section. For your final draft, make sure the abstract flows logically. It can be helpful to read it out loud to yourself and to give it to a friend, teacher, parent, mentor, etc. to read. Ask them to tell you what they think you actually did and what you found. See if they can tell your story based on what they read. Revise as necessary based on the helpful comments that you receive.    



    Your paper should describe all aspects of your research project, and it should be easily understood by a person who is interested in your work but has little or no expertise in your field of study.



    We suggest organizing the paper as follows:

    ABSTRACT - your abstract should be submitted on its own sheet of paper (details are provided above), but it is useful to compare the content of your abstract with the content of your paper to ensure that the abstract serves as a complete and concise distillation of the entire paper.

    INTRODUCTION – this should provide a clear and concise statement of the purpose or objective of your research project. It should provide sufficient description so that your reader can easily understand the background and significance of your project.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS – you should describe your approach, including both the conceptual framework of your project and the methods that you use, with sufficient detail to permit your reader to understand how you obtained your results.

    RESULTS – you should state your findings truthfully, clearly and concisely. This section should state only what you observed (facts and data), with analysis of the results saved until the next section.

    DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS – you should summarize what your findings revealed. This is different than the results section. The results section is about what you found. The discussion is about why that matters. Your reader should be able to easily understand what you deduce from your findings and how that relates to the framework of significance that you laid out in your introduction. 

    RELATED WORK – if it is appropriate, a student may wish to describe work done by other researchers on similar problems topics. For example, if you and a friend investigated to different aspects of a similar problem, then you could describe not only your findings in each project individually but also how your projects are interrelated and mutually beneficial. If you have no related work, please leave this section blank.

    FUTURE WORK – in this section you can describe your plans and recommendations for future research. If you are planning to personally pursue additional steps in your project, please indicate that here and describe what those steps will be. If you are not planning to pursue your project further, please also indicate that an describe what steps you would recommend to someone who was taking over your project and continuing it.

    LITERATURE CITED - we suggest using in-line citations (e.g., brackets or superscripts) throughout the paper (e.g., “researchers have found that X is true (3)” or “researchers have found that X is true3”.  The numbers included in the main text of your paper should match with numbered references to literature that is cited in this final section (primary research papers or books, with no references to websites such as Wikipedia). The goal of this section is to give proper credit to researchers that a come before you. It is important to cite any specific claim that you make (e.g., “substance X has been found to impede the growth of cancer cells (Smith et al. 2012)”), but it is not necessary to cite general claims (e.g., “people are often excited to learn about new scientific discoveries”).

    This method of organizing a paper is flexible and can be tailored to the needs of each individual, but we recommend that you follow it if the nature of your research permits it. Please keep in mind your audience and their needs in order to understand the nature of your project. Your central goal of this paper should be to communicate the importance of your project, what you found, and why that matters using clear language and following a logical progression from one idea to the next.



    All papers must be double spaced and printed in 12 point font (either Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri) on standard letter-sized paper (8.5” x 11”) with one-inch margins all around. The paper should be a maximum of 20 pages in length, including all portions such as figures, appendices, literature cited etc.  The first page of the paper should be a title page containing the title of your paper, your name, the names of any partners or mentors in the project, and the name of your high school (or school district for authors that are educated at home).  Use your paper’s title as a header on all pages. Do not put your name on those pages. It is advisable but not required that you include page numbers at the bottom center of each page after the title page.  When you submit your paper electronically (online registration and email to Jonathan Prather (, be sure that the manuscript is formatted as either a Word document or a PDF.



    All artwork and illustrations must be neat, easily legible, of very high quality and clearly and concisely explained in an accompanying figure legend. Any materials taken from a prior publication should be cited in the accompanying figure legend (e.g., “adapted from Figure 3 in Smith et al. 2016”).  Figures should be incorporated into the text as attractively and unobtrusively as possible. Figures should be cited using a parenthetical reference in the main body of the text (e.g., “we found a positive correlation between plant growth and ambient temperature (Figure 4).”  A good practice is to include the figure very near to the point where it is first cited in the paper.



    If you have questions or need additional information:  Please contact Dr. Jonathan Prather, JSHS Regional Director,


    image of Facebook logo

    62th National Junior Science & Humanities Symposium  

    May 1-4, 2024 held in person in Albuquerque, New Mexico    

    Image of JSHS logo

    Top five presenters: TBA

    Registration begins: TBA

    *Awards from the Regional competition include scholarship money and trips to the National Symposium where participants compete  for additional scholarship money.

    Contact Us

    Life Sciences Program

    Jonathan Prather, Director

    Offices located in the Life Science Service Center

    Aven Nelson Building, Room 114

    1000 E. University Ave.

    Laramie, WY 82071

    Phone: 307-766-5025

    Fax: 307-766-2851