The Iowa Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (Iowa-JSHS) program is the premier high school science competition in Iowa. Students compete for scholarships and recognition by presenting the results of their original research projects before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers. Students will also have the opportunity to visit cutting-edge university research labs, hear from university researchers about their work and career paths, and network with their peers. Not sure if your students are ready to compete? Your school can bring a few students to participate in the symposium without presenting.

About the Program

JSHS enables teachers to create life-changing experiences for their students! Students conduct original STEM and humanities research, using the Science and Engineering Practices of the Next Generation Science Standards. Meaningful student engagement in research supports student success in a variety of domains, including developing 21st-century skills. High school students will surprise themselves by tackling problems they thought were beyond their reach and will develop confidence in their abilities, academically and beyond.

Iowa Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium:

  • January 6, 2020: Research proposal site opens
  • January 13, 2020 (11:59 PM CST): Research proposal due
  • January 22, 2020: Notification of proposal acceptance
  • February 3, 2020 (11:59 PM CST): Registration to attend Iowa-JSHS due
  • March 2–3, 2020: Iowa-JSHS at the University of Iowa

National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium:

  • April 15–19, 2020: National JSHS in Norfolk, Virginia
 

Research can happen in a wide variety of settings. Past JSHS participants have conducted research on their family’s farm, using publicly available data sets, in an ag or science classroom, through participation in a citizen science project, or from working with a local expert or university faculty mentor. Whatever the research project, when students participate in Iowa-JSHS, they write research papers detailing their investigations and submit it as a proposal to present at Iowa-JSHS. The proposal submission deadline also creates authentic space that imposes the need for students to set continual goals throughout their research projects.

Iowa JSHS Awards: 

  • Scholarships of $2,000 for first place, $1,500 for second place, and $1,000 for third place are awarded by the National Science Teachers Association.
  • Scholarships of $750 to attend the University of Iowa are awarded to the top five finalists by the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development.
  • The top five finalists are invited to attend an expense-paid trip to compete at the annual National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.

National Awards:

  • Seven $12,000 undergraduate tuition scholarships
  • Seven $8,000 undergraduate tuition scholarships
  • Seven $4,000 undergraduate tuition scholarships

How to Participate

Want to join us? We're here to help with all the information you will need in order to participate.

Eligibility

Any high school student in the state of Iowa can participate in Iowa-JSHS. In order for a submission to be considered for competition in Iowa-JSHS, research papers must meet the requirements outlined in the Iowa Research Handbook. Any students accepted to deliver an oral or poster presentation, and up to five student delegates (those attending but not presenting), may attend from each school.

Selection

Each proposal is evaluated by a panel of judges at the University of Iowa, creating an authentic audience for whom students must develop a written product. Judges will use the Research Paper Selection Rubric found in Section 4 of the Iowa Research Handbook to select qualified proposals. The students submitting the top 15 proposals will qualify to deliver an oral presentation with slides at the Iowa-JSHS and compete for the Iowa-JSHS awards. Fifteen additional students will be invited to deliver a poster presentation. 

The top 5 oral presentation finalists at Iowa-JSHS will be invited to compete for additional scholarship money at the National Symposium in April.

Cost

Submitting a research proposal for consideration to qualify for Iowa-JSHS is free.

There is a $25 registration fee for attending Iowa-JSHS. This fee covers the cost of an overnight hotel stay and meals (as specified in the registration materials). The fee is waived for:

  • the students who are invited to present oral and poster presentations,
  • the first five students in attendance from each school district,
  • one chaperone for every ten students in attendance, and
  • middle school students who have limited symposium access.

Our generous sponsors include the National Science Teachers Association, U.S. Department of the Army, Office of Naval Research, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Division of Continuing Education at the University of Iowa.

Submit a Paper

The link to submit a paper will be available on this website from January 6 – January 13, 2020 (11:59 PM CST).

Attend as Delegates

Up to five students from each school may attend Iowa-JSHS without submitting a paper for consideration. These students do not present any research but observe the student presentations and participate in all activities. Attending as a delegate is a great way for students to be exposed to student research and prepare for submitting their own work in the future. It is also a wonderful opportunity to see and hear first-hand accounts of what a career in research might entail.

Ernie Schiller

This is probably one of the best venues for young kids to see a university setting and to experience high school level research.
Ernie Schiller - Donnellson, IA

How to Prepare

Need help getting started?

Guidelines for Students & Teachers

A detailed explanation of the Iowa-JSHS program along with basic guidelines for teachers and students can be found in the Iowa Research Handbook. The STEM Student Research Handbook (Harland, 2011) is also helpful for beginning researchers.

Strategies for Success

Information on guidelines and successful strategies may be found at the National JSHS website.

Contact Us

Ready to Register?

The link to submit a paper will be available on this website from January 6 - January 13, 2020 (11:59 PM CST).

The JSHS Symposia are sponsored by: