The Young Epidemiology Scholars Competition was held last month in Washington, D.C., and four of the 12 national finalists came from the Midwestern Region, including first-place winner Alexander Chernyakhovsky, 17, a junior at William Mason High School in Mason, Ohio, who was awarded a $50,000 college scholarship. The other national finalists from the Midwest were second-place winner Allan Joseph from Saint Charles Preparatory School in Columbus, Ohio, who received a $35,000 scholarship; third-place winner Joanna Kao from West High School in Iowa City, Iowa, who received a $20,000 scholarship; and national finalist Marilyn Piccirillo from Parkway West High School in Ballwin, Mo., who received a $15,000 scholarship.
Chernyakhovsky, Joseph, Kao and Piccirillo were among the 12 national finalists selected from 60 regional finalists in Washington and more than 560 submissions nationwide. In total, the YES Competition, which is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and administered by the College Board, awarded nearly $500,000 in scholarships this year.
Each YES competitor develops a research question and hypothesis about a health issue that concerns a group or groups of people, and then conducts research to analyze the subject and suggest potential ways to improve the problem based on the analysis.
Chernyakhovsky took top honors for his project exploring the patterns of avian influenza viruses (known as H5N1) in people, using computer simulation to predict the next areas of infection and the timelines for outbreaks. Inspired by the 2006 outbreak of bird flu, Chernyakhovsky intended his study to create forecasts for possible application by the World Health Organization in selecting the three strains of influenza to include in the annual flu vaccine. Using the Ohio Supercomputer Center to run his simulations, Chernyakhovsky determined the routes by which the viruses are likely to spread by including such data as the migration patterns
of various birds.
Joseph’s project was the largest national study of high school athletic anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries ever conducted. He found that athletes are eight times more likely to be injured during competition than in practice and girls are eight times more likely to suffer an ACL injury than boys playing the same sports.
Kao studied the possible influence of two factors on the risk of eye damage or blindness in premature babies due to retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Reviewing previous research on the relationship between bilirubin level and ROP and between bottle versus breastfeeding and ROP, Kao designed a matched case-control study using data collected from 2001-2008 at the University Hospital in Iowa City. She found a positive trend toward higher bilirubin levels and breastfeeding being protective against development of ROP.
Piccirillo’s project explored ways to best manage hospital-acquired enterococcal bacterial infections in the blood stream, which are associated with central venous catheters. Piccirillo found that removal of the catheter is associated with better results in curing the blood stream infections and other major medical complications.
For more information about the YES Competition, visit the program’s Web site.
Another research competition administered by the College Board is the annual Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, which is funded by the Siemens Foundation. This competition offers students an opportunity to achieve national recognition for science research projects that they complete in high school and a chance to win a $100,000 college scholarship. The deadline for entering this year’s competition is Oct. 1, with winners announced in December. To learn more about the Siemens Competition, visit the foundation's Web site or e-mail us at email@example.com.
|VP Ileana Rodriguez|
Greetings from the Midwestern Regional Office. In the field of education, spring and summer are times of both celebration and earnest preparation for a new academic year of rededicated commitment to learners and their success. They are times to be inspired by past successes as well as by the challenges and opportunities ahead. In terms of challenges, the impact of the economic downturn has been sharply felt by states in our region. However, we find educators — our members — more determined than ever to have education be the guiding force that helps us transform our future.
There are many initiatives in our region that reflect this commitment to drive success through education. I would like to share with you two great examples.
The Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development (Belin-Blank Center) at the University of Iowa recently published their fifth annual Iowa AP® Index, which recognizes the top 50 schools offering AP in the state. The AP story in Iowa is remarkable, with the number of students participating in AP Exams nearly doubling from 2001 to 2008. Yet their performance on AP Exams has remained stable, with 67 percent of the students who take an AP Exam earning a grade of 3 or higher. The Iowa AP Index may be only one measure, but it’s the culmination of the efforts of educators across the state committed to increasing access to and success in rigorous course work that we want to recognize, along with the unwavering leadership of the Belin-Blank Center.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Midwestern Regional Office of the College Board have partnered in recognizing schools in the state of Wisconsin that have strong AP programs that both challenge students to be their best and give them an opportunity to be awarded college credits once admitted to the university.
We are honored to be part of this important recognition program and are inspired by the success stories of these schools.
It is indeed a time for inspiration. Thanks to all who submitted session proposals for our 2010 Midwestern Regional Forum. “Education: Transforming Our Future” will be our theme; we think it’s both timely and inspiring. Bookmark this link to the most current information about the 2010 Midwestern Regional Forum, and check for updates: http://www.host-collegeboard.com/09_regional_forum/mw/
Have a wonderful spring and summer, and thank you for your commitment to college readiness and success.
Advanced Placement® students in the Columbus, Ohio, school district have benefited from preparation workshops and strategy sessions offered in conjunction with the district’s Winter Institutes.
Francie Nolan, the district’s supervisor for gifted and talented programs, and Joan Baker, the secondary coordinator for gifted and talented programs, along with their colleagues, have taken advantage of the district’s Saturday sessions to help prepare students for the rigors of AP® courses and exams. A $15,000 College Board Greenhouse Grant helped make the workshops possible.
The Winter Institutes are educational opportunities offered to students on Saturday mornings from January through March. Students ride buses to various sites within the district to receive extra training in preparation for the Ohio Achievement/Graduation Tests.
“We wanted to take advantage of the Winter Institutes, where the school sites were already determined and the buses were running, to get AP students acclimated for success,” said Nolan.
Students must be enrolled in a math or English AP course and eligible for free or reduced-price lunch to participate. Many of the strategies taught in the workshops, such as time management, can be helpful for tests in all subjects.
Many teachers and students in the district had been spending extra time in preparation for AP Exams, but this formalized winter program ensures students have an additional opportunity to benefit. The grant money also pays teachers for their work.
“We’ve heard from our teachers and coordinators that the Winter Institute AP sessions made a difference in students’ understanding, participation, self-confidence and enthusiasm,” Nolan said. Baker added that one AP teacher reported that after the institute one of her pupils “was a whole new and different AP student!” This AP teacher credited the AP preparatory sessions for that dramatic change in attitude and work.
Nolan and Baker said they plan to expand the Winter Institute to summer boot camps that will help prepare students moving into the coming school year. Additionally, their goal is to add more AP subjects to the Winter Institutes as funding allows.
The Torline quadruplets, (from left) Allison, Eric, Vanessa and Melanie, joined
What would you do if your quadruplets were ready to go to college, but your family lacked the financial means to send them? Well, if you lived in Indiana, you’d send them to Indiana University, of course. Thanks to IU’s 21st Century Scholarship Covenant, Joe and Cheryl Torline were able to send their children, Allison, Eric, Melanie
and Vanessa, to the state’s flagship institution last fall.
IU created the 21st Century Scholarship Covenant to supplement the state’s 21st Century Scholars Program, which has guaranteed, since 1990, the cost of four years of undergraduate college tuition at any participating public college or university in Indiana to all income-eligible sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders who enroll in the program and fulfill a pledge of good citizenship to the state. Because tuition and fees make up less than half of the total cost of attending college, many students in the program were forced to drop out or else graduate with sizable debt.
A charter member of the College Board’s CollegeKeys Compact™, IU was committed to finding ways to remove any and all financial obstacles to higher education for students. In the summer of 2006, Roger Thompson, IU’s newly appointed vice provost for enrollment management, was tasked with creating a supplemental program for students on the Bloomington campus. Thompson and his task force came up with the idea of the 21st Century Scholarship Covenant, which would reallocate institutional funds to pay the other half of the college costs not covered by the state’s program and allow participants to graduate from IU with no debt from
The covenant gained the immediate and enthusiastic support of IU’s provost, president and board of trustees. By November 2006, the covenant had been approved and plans to promote it were under way. The biggest challenge was convincing people that it did all it claimed to do with no hidden surprises. By fall 2007, the first year the covenant was offered, 275 eligible freshmen had enrolled. In fall 2008, that number had nearly doubled, with 471 enrollees, including the Torline quads.
The number of participants had been grossly underestimated, and the costs were greater than originally anticipated. But this was a program that IU believed in. Inspired by other schools with similar programs — like the University of North Carolina, the original signer of the CollegeKeys Compact — the people at IU worked even harder to secure the necessary support for what they’d promised. Thompson explained, “Information that is shared through the CollegeKeys Compact helps all of us to understand what can be done on our campuses to help middle- and low-income families send their children to college. Because 40 percent of covenant members come from minority groups, it also helps to advance the university’s mission of bringing diversity to our campus.” A similar program is being developed at Purdue.
Thompson says that this project is the most meaningful thing he’s ever been involved with. “It’s rewarding to see the impact the covenant has made in families’ lives,” he said. “The day the first enrollees arrived, I met an African American woman moving into the dorm. She had come from a rough high school in Indiana. I asked her if she would be willing to come speak to the media. She agreed. When the reporter asked her what coming to IU meant to her, she answered, with no preparation, `It means that my entire future and my family situation changes.’ She never in her wildest dreams thought she could come to a school like IU, and now her children will have even better opportunities than she did.”
The Torline quads have just completed their freshman year. Though they will always be a close-knit family,
they have enjoyed their first year living in separate residence halls and pursuing their own interests. Melanie
is studying visual arts and hopes to become a graphic arts and theater teacher. Allison is interested in
political science and international relations. Vanessa is interested in journalism and wants to be a writer. Eric will study music education and vocal performance. All four can follow their dreams, which is an opportunity their parents never had.
Click here to see events and workshops in the Midwestern Region.
During this pivotal time in our nation, the College Board invites you to join us for two special opportunities to connect with education professionals dedicated to impacting change and increasing college readiness.
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