District Five students inducted as Lifetime Fellows into the American Junior Academy of Science

Three Lexington-Richland School District Five students from the Center for Advanced Technical Studies (The Center) represented the state of South Carolina as state delegates at the American Junior Academy of Science (AJAS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual conferences held March 1-5 in Washington, DC.

Doonya Khan (Biomedical Science), Carolina Ottich Seiwald (Biomedical Science) and Daisy Walsh (Clean Energy Technology) were selected to attend based on their outstanding performance in the 2022 SC Junior Academy of Science Research Symposium (SC JAS) held at USC-Aiken.

These SC delegate students presented their research, participated in numerous roundtable discussions, toured prestigious research laboratories, attended the AJAS and AAAS conferences, and networked with students and real research scientists from across the nation, including Nobel Prize winners.

The three Center students were also inducted as lifetime AJAS Fellows in an honors banquet on March 4, 2023.

Doonya Khan is a senior who will attend Princeton University in the fall. “I have found being a part of AJAS to be an incredibly enriching experience,” Khan said. “Not only has it broadened my knowledge of science, but it has also connected me with a community of young scholars who excel in their scientific endeavors. Attending the conference provided me with a platform to exchange ideas and build lasting relationships with fellow students who are equally driven to make a difference in the world. I also gained insights on securing internships and research opportunities in college through various workshops and discussions.”

Carolina Ottich Seiwald added, “Attending AJAS and AAAS was a wonderful experience where I was able to learn so much from real scientists and my fellow AJAS members.”

Each student created a research project. Khan’s was titled Redesigned Cat Litter Box that Neutralizes Toxoplasma gondii, Ottich Seiwald’s was titled Sweet Night: Inventive Pillow that Helps You Sleep, and Walsh’s was titled Optimizing Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Energy.

Daisy Walsh described AJAS as such a great opportunity to meet with other high school students from around the country whose research interests are also trying to improve communities and our environment.

“I was able to receive invaluable feedback concerning my own project from peers as well as science and engineering professionals,” Walsh said. “This was an experience that I will remember for a long time!”

Julie Krusen, Biomedical Science Instructor for The Center continues to be amazed by the research and projects being created by the students at The Center. “I am fortunate to work in a school and a district that values hands-on research and gives students the opportunity to distinguish themselves by conducting research and competing at science fairs, especially at the state & national levels,” Krusen said. “I cannot thank the District Five Foundation enough for offering student research grants, these grants enable students to afford to take their research to the next level.”

Patrick Smallwood, Clean Energy Technology Instructor for the Center for Advanced Technical Studies added, “As a student research advisor and mentor, attending the AJAS/AAAS national conference is one of my favorite events each year. Success in high school research is truly valued and celebrated at this annual event. Student attendees are always so excited to meet fellow student researchers and professionals as well as tour national research facilities. This year about 100 students were inducted as Lifetime Fellows into the American Junior Academy of Science and I’m proud to say that three of them are from Lexington-Richland School District Five.”

The National Association of Academies of Science (NAAS) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote the scientific and science education goals of its state, regional and municipal academies of science. The NAAS consists of 47 state, regional, and community academies of science, which are organized to encourage scientific inquiry and research experiences. One of the most important functions of the NAAS is sponsorship of the American Junior Academy of Science (AJAS).

Photo Caption: Students after receiving AJAS Fellow pins and certificates.
(Mrs. Julie Krusen, Carolina Ottich Seiwald, Doonya Khan, Daisy Walsh, Mr. Patrick Smallwood)