Illinois Junior Science and Humanities Symposium

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February 28-29, 2024

Hosted by the STEM Education Research Center, SIU Carbondale.

What is IJSHS?

IJSHS is a regional competition for high school students to compete in presenting ORIGINAL research in a regional science and humanities symposium and potentially advance to the national level (JSHS). The symposium is designed to challenge and engage students (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. Major activities of IJSHS include:

  • Participate in a forum honoring individual achievement in STEM
  • Hear research presentations by other students
  • Develop skills to help prepare for undergraduate and graduate pursuits in STEM fields
  • Tours of university research labs
  • Hear nationally renowned scientists speak on their work
  • Qualify for significant scholarships and other recognition
  • Advance to the national symposium
  • Opportunities to meet others interested in STEM

Who participates?

Any student in grades 9-12 who is conducting original research and submits by January 24th, 2024. The IJSHS boundary serves all counties in the state of Illinois excluding Cook County. If you are located in Cook County, please direct yourself to the Chicago-JSHS region.

Additionally, IJSHS welcomes high school students who are not planning to submit work or present to visit the symposium as a guest. This is a great opportunity to explore STEM opportunities through engaging with resources at SIU and networking with peers across the state who are conducting original work. Our hope is that by visiting guests receive the vision and excitement to participate in future years. All guests are asked to register for the symposium by February 14th, 2024.

How do I present at the Illinois Regional JSHS?

Step 1: Students in grades 9-12 select an area of research STEM. Examples of STEM: agricultural/environmental science, life and behavioral sciences, medicine and health, biomedical sciences, engineering and technology, math and computer sciences, computer engineering, physical sciences, chemistry.

Step 2: Students conduct original research.

Step 3: Teachers/Sponsors of students nominate students by January 10th, 2024. Each school may nominate up to ten students; additional student names may be submitted on a space available basis.

Step 4: By January 24th, 2024, participants submit an abstract and research paper reporting the results of their STEM research for evaluation.

Participants will be notified by January 31st, 2024, on whether they will be invited to participate as an oral or poster presenter.

Please refer to the Core Rules of Competition to ensure your materials follow regional guidelines.

What materials need submitted to report the results of my research?

All students intending to apply must submit an abstract and research paper reporting the results of their STEM research. Abstracts and research papers should be Word or PDF files and will be uploaded on the registration website. When saving and naming files for upload, please use the following file name format: Last Name_First Name_Abstract and last Name_First Name_Research Paper. 

Students must also submit a Statement on Outside Assistance. This document should be titled using Last Name_First Name_SOA.


Students who are selected to make presentations at the Illinois Regional JSHS have an opportunity to win undergraduate, tuition-based scholarships up to $2,000.

The JSHS will distribute $4,500 in academic scholarships to the top three regional finalists:

  • $2,000 to first place.
  • $1,500 to second place.
  • $1,000 to third place.

The top five finalists are invited to advance to the National JSHS. Two of the five finalists will orally present their research in competition for military-sponsored scholarships; three of the five finalists will present their research in poster sessions where the top three students in each category receive recognition and cash awards. National JSHS scholarships are awarded as follows.

  • Eight $12,000 undergraduate, tuition scholarships, awarded to each of the 1st place finalists in the National research paper competition.
  • Eight $8,000 undergraduate, tuition scholarships, awarded to each of the 2nd place finalists in the National research paper competition.
  • Eight $4,000 undergraduate, tuition scholarships, awarded to each of the 3rd place finalists in the National research paper competition.

For additional references to information on paper preparation, style and presentation, please refer to the National JSHS Rules of Competition for student research presentation at the National JSHS.


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