PJAS at PSU TJHS STATE CHAMPS AGAIN! Congratulations to sophomore, Navneeth Narayanan and junior, Julianna Tambellini for their most recent accomplishments at the PJAS state competition at PSU May 17-19th. Nav and Julie both earned first place awards at the state level after having similar success at the Region VII competition held at KO in February. 2200 students attended this, the 75th annual, PJAS state competition. As a junior, 1st place award recipient, Julie also had an opportunity to interview for a scholarship to PSU. She was awarded a $2000 (4 year renewable) scholarship to the Eberly College of Science at a special award ceremony on May18th. Julie can add this scholarship to her growing list: Seton Hill, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, and Carlow University. The PSU trip was a wonderful end to a year long science journey. In early September, freshman, Becca Wytiaz, Julie, and Nav began researching their projects. Becca worked her knowledge of concrete and love of the environment into a project which investigated the strength of concrete that was made using recycled auto glass as the aggregate in place of small pebbles. After making the concrete, she tested its compressive strength and compared her cylinder strength to a traditional concrete cylinder. Unfortunately, the glass aggregate cylinders were not strong enough for traditional use, but their look was aesthetically pleasing as the shards of glass gave the cylinders a unique sheen. Perhaps Becca’s recycling idea could be used for other concrete applications. Her physics presentation earned her a second place award at the PJAS regional completion and special award from the Society of American Military Engineers at the Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering fair at Carnegie Science Center. Nav and Julie both competed in microbiology with very different projects. Nav investigated the antibiotic effect of ground ivy on Staph and E. coli. He worked with Mrs. Kathy Hannon who guided him while he learned how to make agar, fill petri dishes, grow bacterial cultures, create antibiotic discs from a ground ivy solution, and identify zones of inhibition. He determined that ground ivy does not have antibiotic effects against Staph and E. coli. Although he rejected his hypothesis, his project was well received due to his lab technique, research ability, and fine presentation skills. This was Nav’s first year competing and he won two first place awards at PJAS and enjoyed the experience at PRSEF. Julie’s project investigated how the exposure to an over the counter pharmaceutical (Sudafed and Ibuprofen) could affect the uptake of a plasmid (small piece of genetic material) by an E. coli. Her project required equipment that was not available at TJ, so she spent many Saturdays and holiday break days at Central Catholic High School under the direction of teacher, Mr. Mark Krotec. Even after her presentation at PRSEF in March, Julie was prepared to further test her hypothesis because she still had questions about her results. However, with the recent onslaught of testing: SAT, PSSA, and AP exams, Julie decided it was best to leave her questions for now. Perhaps such questions will be the basis of her senior year project. Beyond her PJAS success, Julie was awarded multiple scholarships and a special award from the Sigma Xi chapter at CMU at PRSEF. Anyone who would like to make the journey to PSU next year (can you say 2 days of school business and all the Creamery ice cream you can eat?) should see Mrs. Matta or talk to Julie, Nav and Becca about presenting at PJAS and PRSEF in 2010.
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