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SHS students advance to JSHS competition

Juan Peñuela, SHS Journalist
STUTTGART | March 6, 2018

Stuttgart HS Junior Science and Humanities Symposium and AP Research students and teachers (l. to r.) Clare Walls, Mr. Daniel Coapstick, Lyanne Nacario, Erin Rhodehamel, Grace Kelly, Othniel Wetlesen, Tommy Stempniak, Aidan DeHan, Ms. Stephanie Payne.

Stuttgart HS Junior Science and Humanities Symposium and AP Research students and teachers (l. to r.) Clare Walls, Mr. Daniel Coapstick, Lyanne Nacario, Erin Rhodehamel, Grace Kelly, Othniel Wetlesen, Tommy Stempniak, Aidan DeHan, Ms. Stephanie Payne. | Photo: Zeitgeist Staff

Stuttgart High School AP Research teacher Mr. Daniel Coapstick will be taking Aidan DeHan ‘18, Otheniel Wetlesen ‘19, and the partnership of Clare Walls ‘18 and Lyanne Nacario ‘18 to present their research at the JSHS symposium in Reidstadt, Germany. The four AP Research students have worked hard on three scientific projects for over six months. Ms. Stephanie Payne, AP Biology teacher assists students in completing lab based experiments and facilitates connections to local scientists.

Junior Science and Humanities Symposium or JSHS is designed to challenge and engage students in grades 9-12 in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). 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. Participants are also afforded opportunities for hands-on workshops, panel discussions, career exploration, research lab visits and networking during the competition. 

At Stuttgart High, this program also helps students prepare for undergraduate and graduate pursuits and is an early start for those who are interested in technological, engineering, or mathematics careers. JSHS is sponsored by AP Research teacher Mr. Daniel Coapstick and is supported by AP Biology teacher, Ms. Stephanie Payne. Mr. Daniel Coapstick stated that he is very privileged to be working with her and feels that they make an incredible team.

Aidan DeHan has been exploring the prominence of lichen as a bioindicator in streambeds. He has been engaged in gathering information, conducting experiments and making observations. Aiden hopes to succeed through high school and reach university where he hopes to major in Biochemistry, Biology/Genetics. He has been conducting his studies and observations at a botanical genetics lab at Naturkunde Museum located near Robinson Barracks.

Othniel Wetlesen is currently researching the bacteria in Wax Moth larvae that have been known to break down plastic content. Once Othniel heard of this worm, he quickly started his experiment but soon found out that the study has certain flaws. While Othniel's research has been disappointing, he still is determined to find if there is an organism that can break down plastic. Othniel hopes to one day major in pre-medical studies in university. As of today, he reports that no new information has been found, but he is hoping to get some answers soon. Like Aiden, Othniel has also been in contact with Naturkunde Museum.

Clare Walls and Lyanne Nacario have been conducting their work at the University of Tuebingen. Clare plans on attending a four year research university to study neurology or neuroscience. Lyanne hopes to major in nursing while attending the airforce and being enrolled in college. Clare and Lyanne examined two specific fields; immunology and Alzheimer's disease. Currently, they are researching Zebrafish and how these fish can be used to understand human neurology. Zebrafish are genetically similar to humans, and they are researching Zebrafish behavioral patterns in order to see if they are similar to human behaviors. Some of the Zebrafish characteristics which make them good organisms to experiment on are, that they develop very fast, are transparent (so the brain can be seen with a regular microscope), as well as having incredibly similar peripheral and central nervous systems to humans. Clare and Lyanne are studying the 'prey-capture' behavior in order to create a baseline for research in the future which will help us have a better understanding of our own body. They are attempting to figure out if prey-capture is a unilateral or bilateral behavior. 

SHS student researchers are all excited to be able to present their final results and hope that it motivates other students to participate and be part of an unbelievable opportunity.


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