Oak Ridge High School senior Thomas Colburn was a divisional first-place winner in a national science and humanities competition in April. Colburn received a $12,000 academic scholarship.
He was announced as the first place winner of the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in the Chemistry Division on April 30.
Colburn and Albert Xue, both from Oak Ridge High School, were part of a five-student delegation that traveled from Tennessee to Dayton, Ohio, to showcase their research at the end of April. The Junior Science and Humanities Symposium is a tri-service U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force program designed to encourage student research in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. While more than 7,600 students competed at the regional level, fewer than 100 students were invited to give an oral presentation this year at the 54th National JSHS competition.
Colburn presented his research, “Enhanced Decomposition of Plastic Waste through Photocatalysis.” His project for his Math, Science, and Computer Science research course explored additives that could be incorporated into plastics that would help the plastics break down more quickly without affecting their intended purpose. He was mentored by Todd Toops from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Colburn was awarded a $12,000 academic scholarship, in addition to the $1,500 scholarship he received for his second-place win at the Tennessee regional JSHS competition in March.
Karla Mullins, Oak Ridge Schools teacher who chaperoned the Tennessee delegation, noted that Thomas “really displayed his full knowledge of the research as well as so much scientific information” during his question-and-answer session.
Also giving a talk on her research was Ayushi Singha from Chattanooga’s Girls Preparatory School. Posters were presented to judges by the other three members of the Tennessee delegation: Albert Xue, Oak Ridge High School; Madeleine Mason, Farragut High School; and Vinila Baljepally, Bearden High School.
This press release was submitted by Holly Cross of Oak Ridge Schools.
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