Nine Jr. Bills Complete STARS Program

For the past six weeks, nine Jr. Bills – among 88 rising seniors in the metropolitan area – have been sprinkled across the St. Louis region. Some could be seen in labs working with leading biologists on innovative research while others were busy working on advanced initiatives in different sectors of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

All that bright talent recently converged on the University of Missouri–St. Louis campus for the Students and Teachers as Research Scientists confirmation ceremony.

Since 1988, the STARS program has paired academically gifted students with researchers at UMSL, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Saint Louis University and Washington University in St. Louis.

“These students are a focused, disciplined and outstanding academic group,” STARS director Ken Mares said. “I hope they’ve gained a great understanding of the research process and some additional motivation to pursue an undergraduate major in science.”

This year, high school students and seven undergraduate research associates assisted top St. Louis scientists while also exploring independent projects. They presented their findings while at UMSL Friday, and those paper summaries will soon be distributed to senior scientists across St. Louis for review and decisions on the Awards for Excellence in Research.

All the research papers will be assigned to one of four research categories: behavioral science, engineering, life science or physical science. The papers will then be reviewed by a panel from Bayer, Confluence Life Sciences, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and UMSL to determine the most outstanding papers in the four areas. The winning authors will then be presented a framed, Award for Excellence in Research certificate and five bound copies of their research papers at an awards ceremony at their high schools or school board meetings. The winners will each be notified at the end of August.

Congratulations to the following Jr. Bills for successfully completing STARS!

Matthew Friedrichs '20, St. Louis University High School. “Automated Video Analysis of Supersonic Shockwave Patterns Captured with Schlieren Imaging.” Dr. Mark McQuilling, St. Louis University.

Daniel Gatewood '20, St. Louis University High School. “Biochemical Investigation Of Plant Aspartate Aminotransferases.” Dr. Joseph Jez, Washington University.

Dominic Nguyen '20, St. Louis University High School. “Firefighters and Emergency Medical Service Personnel’s Knowledge and Training on Occupational Radiation Exposures and Safety.” Dr. Terri Rebman, St. Louis University.

Thomas Reilly '20, St. Louis University High School. “Adsorption of Cobalt and Nickel onto Nontronite NAu-2 at Environmentally Relevant pH Levels.” Dr. Jeffrey Catalano, Washington University.

Nicholas Schulze '20, Saint Louis University High School. “Identification of Novel Genes in Budding Yeast.” Dr. Zhenguo Lin, St. Louis University.

Sirius Song '20, St. Louis University High School. “Neural Networks and Decision Trees for Classifying Pulsar Stars.” Dr. Badri Adhikari, University of Missouri- St. Louis.

David Thuita '20, St. Louis University High School. “Optimal Fluid Simulation Setup.” Dr. Henry Kang, University of Missouri- St. Louis.

Bryce Van Bree '20, St. Louis University High School. “The Impacts of Various Early Life Stressors on Anterior Cingulate Cortex Functionality and Volumetric Development.” Dr. Rachel Wamser-Nanney, University of Missouri- St. Louis.

Tong Wu '20, St. Louis University High School. "Discovery and Rotational Analysis of a New Electronic Transition of Tungsten Monosulfide.” Dr. James and Leah O'Brien, University of Missouri- St. Louis.

STEM Night

Join us the evening of August 15th to celebrate the power and importance of adding new knowledge to the common collective. Come hear about our students (listed above) who have been actively engaged this summer in research at local universities.


7:00 p.m. - Opening Remarks (Mary Russo, SLUH Science)
7:15 - SLUH Student Research Presentations
8:30 - Gallery Walk of Student Presentations
9:00 - Close of Evening (Tim O’Keefe, SLUH Science)

Bring your kids and friends and join us for a casual evening of STEM discovery! If you plan to attend, please send Mrs. Russo a note (mrusso@sluh.org) to ensure we have enough snacks.

Note: Any SLUH students who might like to register for presenting at SLUH STEM Night should reach out to Ms. Russo. The August night is full but we can get you registered for the October event.

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