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Four Parkway students honored with awards for excellence in research

9/24/2019 -- Four Parkway high school students attended the University of Missouri-St. Louis STARS Program as aspiring scientists and left as award-winning researchers. The students won a special recognition -- the Partnership of Research Institution Award for Excellence in Research after presenting their research papers to their peers, parents and project mentors.

The Students and Teachers as Research Scientists (STARS) Program continues to provide research opportunities and training for talented rising senior high school students aspiring to careers in science.

A group of 88 students participated in the six-week pre-collegiate program, which marked its 32nd year this summer. A total of 29 produced work strong enough to receive a Partnership of Research Institutions Award for Excellence in Research. The awardees were selected after they presented their research papers to their peers, parents and research mentors at the conclusion of the program on July 19.

“The evaluation scores from the panel of scientists who reviewed the research papers were the best in the history of the award,” said STARS Director Kenneth R. Mares, a member of the Department of Biology at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

The students will receive their awards during ceremonies at their board of education meetings.

STARS pairs high school students with prominent area scientists to conduct undergraduate-level research in the fields of biology, chemistry, computer science, earth science, engineering, environmental science, medicine, and psychology.

UMSL partners with scientists from Confluence Discovery Technologies, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Saint Louis University and Washington University in St. Louis to offer students a variety of research opportunities.

The program also includes lectures by nationally known scientists, information sessions about the higher education admissions process and social events.

In its 32nd year, STARS has sent more than 2,300 students with research experience to top universities.

At this year’s confirmation ceremony, Chancellor Tom George extended each STARS graduate an offer of a scholarship covering tuition, up to $750 for books per semester, as well as undergraduate research opportunities in their intended major should they gain admission and choose to enroll at UMSL in the fall of 2020.

Following are Parkway’s Excellence in Research winners. 

  • Varsha Murali, Central High -- “The Effect of Metal Ions on the Photodegradation of DTPMP.” Dr. Young-Shin Jun, Washington University. 
  • Dawson Ren, West High -- Macromolecular Crowding Effects on Type 1 Collagen Turbidity.” Dr. Natasha Case, Saint Louis University. 
  • Harjeev Singh, West High -- "Determining the Impact of Diet Induced Obesity on Bone Microstructure Parameters in the Knee Joint.” Dr. Farshid Guilak, Washington University School of Medicine. 
  • Jason Yang, West High -- “Analysis of Molecular Dynamics Simulations of and Molecular Docking on the Active Domain of EGFR and its Mutants Implicated with Lung Cancer.” Dr. Chung Wong, University of Missouri–St. Louis.