Chhaliyil presents research at national symposium

Students from across Iowa, including Pranav Chhaliyil of Maharishi School, attended the Iowa Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, hosted by the Belin-Blank Center March 5-6 at the Marriott Hotel in Coralville.

JSHS is a collaborative effort with the research arm of the Department of Defense and is designed to challenge, engage, and publicly recognize high school students conducting scientific research in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. JSHS aims to prepare and support students to contribute as future scientists and engineers ? conducting STEM research on behalf of, or directly for, the Department of Defense, the federal research laboratories, or for the greater good in advancing the nation?s scientific and technological progress.

Students completed an original research project and submitted a research paper to the regional competition. The authors of the top 18 papers were invited to compete for scholarships and recognition by presenting their results before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers. Students also toured various labs and facilities at the University of Iowa to hear about cutting edge research, potential career paths, and student opportunities.

After an intensive day of presentations, the judges had the difficult task of selecting five finalists based on their research papers and presentations. Chhaliyil placed third in the Regional JSHS competition.

Chhaliyil was awarded an academic scholarship and was invited to attend an expense-paid trip to the 54th Annual National Symposium. He also received $1,000 for his third place from Academy of Applied Science, a $750 scholarship from the University of Iowa, and he attended an all expense-paid trip to the 56th National JSHS Symposium May 3-6 in Huntsville, Maryland, to present his research and competed for additional prizes.

Chhaliyil?s project was ?Metagenomics Analysis of Bedtime Oral Cleaning by the Novel GIFT Method, Shows a Reduction in Dental-Damaging Bacteria.?

Individual students compete for scholarships and recognition by presenting the results of their original research efforts before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers. Opportunities for hands-on workshops, panel discussions, career exploration, research lab visits and networking are planned. By participating in regional and national symposia, students can participate in a forum honoring individual achievement in STEM and qualify for significant scholarships and other recognition. A total of $192,000 in undergraduate tuition scholarships is presented to the top three finalists in the National Symposium research paper oral competition in each of the subject categories.

About the experience of sharing his findings, Chhaliyil said, ?I presented a poster which combined my findings from past three years of research on oral microbiome. The judges, students, and general public at the Nationals JSHS were very fascinated and liked the value of my research. The main purpose of my research is to bring awareness on dental hygiene, and I?m glad I was able to do that at the competition.

?The Nationals JSHS was an amazing experience for me,? he continued. ?I was so happy to represent Iowa and meet so many wonderful students with the same interest as me, science. It was an eye-opening experience for me. I loved presenting to my judges who appreciated my work and motivated me. There were inspiring speeches from people working in the Army and helping the nation through scientific research.

?I enjoyed making friends with the bright minds there. There were so many ideas and projects that truly inspired me. I enjoyed spending time my friends and studying with them as well. I loved sharing about my Fairfield community.?