Category Archives: JSHS

Science in San Diego

The 55th Annual National JSHS starts tomorrow! The top five students from the 2017 Iowa Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium are going to Nationals.  Good luck to all!

1. Kathryn Bozer – West High School, Iowa City
2. Manasa Pagadala – Rivermont Collegiate, Bettendorf
3. Mason Burlage – Beckman Catholic High School, Dubuque
4. Megan Ertl – Beckman Catholic High School, Dubuque
5. Maddie Zastrow – Prairie High School, Cedar Rapids

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We’re Impressed

…by the research that high school students presented at the Iowa Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS)!

The finalists (in order) were:

  • Kaylie Wilson – Central Lee High School, Donnellson
  • Manasa Pagadala – Rivermont Collegiate, Bettendorf
  • Megan Ertl – Beckman Hugh School, Dyersville
  • Rachel Mehmert – Holy Trinity High School, Keosauqua
  • Carl and Maracus Schneider – Beckman High School, Dyersville

Competing at the National Level

Last month, the finalists from the Iowa Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium went to the 53rd Annual National Symposium. Check out some highlights of their trip!

We’re Going to Nationals!

The Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS) national competition is next week!  Our five finalists from the regional competition will be traveling to Hunt Valley, Maryland (Washington, DC area) for nationals.

Those students are Vineel Mallavarapu of Cedar Falls High School, Nathan Schmidt of East High School in Waterloo, Arun Velamuri of Valley High School in West Des Moines, Kelsey Bryant of Central Lee High School in Donnellson, and Priya Khanolkar of Keokuk High School in Keokuk. Micaela Bryant of Central Lee is an alternate.


Similar to the regional symposium, students will present their projects and tour local labs.  This is an exciting opportunity for them to compete at the national level.  Congratulations to our nationals-bound JSHS students!



Message from the Director: Talent Development

“By helping our [highly talented] students, we help ourselves, because they hold in their hands not only their own futures but our shared future, as well.”

(p.113) From Richard Rusczyk’s chapter, “Extracurricular Opportunities for Mathematically Gifted Middle School Students” in The Peak in the Middle, Edited by M. Saul, S. G. Assouline, & L. J. Sheffield (2010).

This issue of Vision features the multiple opportunities at the Belin-Blank Center for gifted students– either in the competitions hosted this past spring (Invent Iowa, Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Junior Science Humanities Symposium, or American Regions Mathematics League) or programs for this summer, which will begin on the 16th of June. These opportunities are so much more than a summer activity to keep kids busy! Indeed, they are – often – pivotal to the student’s development of his or her talent area. Schools offer a great deal to our talented students, but it would be impossible for any school – or teacher –to do it all, which is why extracurricular programs are so critical to talent development.

Below, I’ve synthesized three benefits of extracurricular activities for highly capable students from the Rusczyk chapter (see p. 103):

  1. Intensive experiences shared with an outstanding peer group;
  2. Interaction with university-level content experts;
  3. Opportunities for immersion in the specified content domain.

If you will be on the University of Iowa campus on July 25, 2014, from 10 am to noon, I encourage you to stop by the Old Capitol Center for the Secondary Student Training Program (SSTP) poster session. SSTP is, in many ways, the culminating experience of the Belin-Blank Center’s summer student programs. During this 5-week program, highly talented high school students from all over the country conduct research with UI researchers in their labs. Students earn 3 semester hours of university credit and, for many students, this is the defining moment in an academic career.

And, speaking of defining moments ….even though teachers of gifted and talented students have just packed away the final papers from this past school year, their commitment to their students is not packed away. Professional development for educators has already commenced and it’s always a joy to see teachers on campus and/or to learn about their “ah-ha moments” from their online experiences. New this summer are the two one-week Chautauquas, which will feature three workshops during each week. Having once been a teacher of junior high and high schools students, I know first-hand just how valuable these experiences are for teachers. Indeed, the same three benefits for highly capable students apply to the teachers who take the time to attend a summer professional development class or classes.

Whether you are a student, parent, teacher, or colleague, I know that you join me in wishing all of the Belin-Blank Center professionals the very best this summer as we dedicate ourselves to living up to our tag line: Nurturing Potential…Inspiring Excellence.


Presenting Research at the National Level

We have more pictures from JSHS!  Great job to all of the Iowa Regional JSHS winners who went to nationals.

Greetings from DC!

A few of our administrators are back in Washington, DC (almost exactly a month after the Wallace Symposium) to chaperone the national symposium for the Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS).  Iowa Regional JSHS winners (left to right) Aparna Ajjarapu, Abby Walling, Karleigh Schilling, and Breanna Kramer got a chance to explore Arlington National Cemetery: