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CHS, CBK Students Earn Top Spots at Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science States

PJAS Student Attendees Cheltenham High School and Cedarbrook Middle School each sent contingents to the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) state competition at Penn State in mid-May and came away with some high marks.

Students qualified for the state competition by finishing first at a regional competition this past winter. Approximately 3,000 of the best and brightest science students from Pennsylvania’s 12 separate PJAS regions presented their research in 13 different categories: Behavioral psychology, biology, biochemistry, botany, chemistry, computer science, Earth and space, ecology, engineering, mathematics, microbiology, physics and zoology.

Four CHS students won first place awards:

  • Junior Isabelle Beatus (Microbiology / The Prevalence of Antibiotic Resistance in the Environment)
  • Junior Grace Darling (Microbiology / The Effect of Different Bleach Dilutions on E. Coli Bacteria)
  • Junior Brianna Smith Microbiology project “Apple Cider Vinegar & Benzoyl Peroxide: Mixing It Up”
  • Freshman Joelle Williams (Biology / Exploring Phototaxis, Geotaxis and Chemotaxis of Drosophila!)

Of those first-place winners, Beatus achieved a perfect score where all the judges scored her project five out of five in all analysis categories. Ella Hartwell (Ecology / The Effect of Microplastic on Algae Growth) took a second place.

The middle school sent 11 students to participate and recorded eight first place finishes, two of which earned perfect scores, and three second place finishes. Clare Rajapakse and Alana Lewis earned the perfect scores.

Students who attended are:

  • 8th grader Kai Bosniak (Mathematics / What I “C” How C Values Affect Julia Set Fractal Dimension)
  • 8th grader Victoria Crocker (Environmental Science / Testing the Waters: Which Concentration of Alum is the Best?)
  • 8th grader Saqara Green (Biochemistry / Which Crunch has More Calories?)
  • 7th grader Lydia Hessel-Robinson (Behavioral Psychology / Warped Words and Stroop Effect)
  • 8th grader Michael Jiang (Computer Science / Hacked? How Length and Randomness Affect Password Solving Time)
  • 8th grader Faith Lam (Behavioral Psychology / Stressful Test? Which Learning Style Helps You Study Better?)
  • 8th grader Alana Lewis (Microbiology / Household Healers: Do Would Healers Affect Bacterial Growth?)
  • 8th grader Fiona McMahon (Environmental Science / Coral and Sunscreen: How Does Sunscreen Affect Coral Health?)
  • 8th grader Priscilla Nguyen (Behavioral Psychology / Where Are My Keys? Age v. Memory)
  • 8th grader Clare Rajapackse (Chemistry / Dissolution Efficiency of Pain Medications)
  • 8th grader Elad Shoham (Physics / Science of Sound: Using Frequencies to Create a Water Wave)


PJAS is a statewide organization of junior and senior high school students and teachers designed to stimulate and promote interest in science through the development of research investigations. PJAS is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Academy of Science, an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.