An independent day school serving grades K-12 | St. Paul, MN

Mina Mandic '21 earns first place and $12,000 scholarship in National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium competition

SPA junior Mina Mandic '21 has been named the first-place winner in the Physical Sciences category of the 2020 Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS), a premier showcase and national competition for science, technology, engineering, and math research by high school students. Mina's first-place award, which carries a $12,000 scholarship, was announced on Friday, April 17 during the JSHS's virtual award ceremony. This is the 58th year of the JSHS competition, which is among the most prestigious in the country.

This year's National JSHS competition brought students and researchers together virtually. Overall, 230 students from high schools around the country competed in eight categories: Environmental Science, Biomedical Sciences, Life Sciences, Medicine and Health/Behavioral Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Physical Sciences, and Chemistry. Mina competed in the Physical Sciences category and presented her original research project, Exploring the Wonders of the Early Universe: Green Pea Galaxies and Light Flux, via a live Zoom presentation. The live call consisted of a formal poster presentation and time for questions from judges in real-time.

Mina conducted her research as part of the Upper School's Advanced Science Research (ASR) course, which is SPA's most advanced course for student-scientists. Mina's research is a study of the light emitted by “Green Pea” galaxies—entities that may provide clues to the conditions of the earliest galaxies in the universe. “Last year I took Dr. [Steve] Heilig’s Relativity and Quantum Physics course and really liked the cosmology unit,” says Mandic, who turned her newfound interest in the origins of the universe into her ASR project. Learn more about her research in a video from the virtual 2020 Minnesota Science and Engineering Fair. 

Mina qualified for the National JSHS competition by placing second at the JSHS Regional Competition, which took place over spring break. The top five students from each region—230 high school students in total—then participated in virtual oral or poster presentations during the national event. Read the full National JSHS press release.

Congratulations Mina!