High School STEM Communicator Awards

Program Background

In recent years, the gap in understanding between scientists and the public has become evident in highly polarized controversies such as climate change, stem cell research, and animal experimentation. There is a sense in our society that increasing the quality of discourse on these issues requires more than just increasing science skills among the general public; we also need to improve communication skills within the scientific community.

In 2013, MAS created a program focused on written communication skills among young scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians. The goal of these awards is to identify and encourage high school students who show exceptional potential in performing scientific and mathematical research, in communicating their research through writing, and in understanding the societal context of their research and results.

In 2018, the final year of the program, the Minnesota High School STEM Communicator Awards were made possible through the generous funding of the St. Jude Medical Foundation.  

The Minnesota High School STEM Communicator Awards was a statewide competition. The selection process identified students having:

A substantive base of scientific knowledge exceeding usual high school science requirements,
A record of effective use of scientific methods to advance research in a chosen area of science or mathematics, with demonstrated skills of clear and concise data analysis,
An ability to think critically, to synthesize information, and to argue the merits of conclusions.
A record of personal growth as well as recognition of how their research has an impact upon others.

Entrants were expected to demonstrate a substantive knowledge of science, including class work in biology or environmental science, chemistry, and at least concurrent enrollment in physics. Mathematics scholars were required to be at an advanced level of coursework for their grade. Each applicant was expected to effectively use scientific methods to advance research in a chosen area of science and math. They also needed to show a context for their research and identify potential outcomes of that research. Additionally, applicants should have presented their research at their school or in another forum. Students were allowed to submit papers as teams of two.

Candidates submitted papers that explored a current issue relating to science, mathematics, technology and society, a transcript, and an assessment by the student’s educational advisor(s). MAS recruited scientists and educators of appropriate expertise and stature to evaluate the applicants in a manner consistent with the other competitions we currently coordinate. The top 10 papers were recognized with cash awards and medallions.

The original research papers submitted by the winners will be invited for publication here. 

Congratulations to the 2018 High School STEM Communicator Award Winners

Addison Gleekel & Melinda Samaratunga - Breck School

Catherine Pirtle & Lana Trautman - Breck School

Cole Maxwell - Breck School

David Ahrens, Cas Roland & Christiana Wilke - Breck School

Louise Kim & Spencer Yueh - Breck School

Nathan Tank & Dylan Vincent - Breck School

Rohan Patel - Mayo High School

Samuel Aronson & Alex Cheng - Breck School

Samuel Leville & Abigail Roh - Breck School

Thomas Peterson & Kylie Spangler - Breck School


2018 Honorable Mentions

Aaron Bae - Breck School

Abhiraj Singh - Wayzata High School

Abigail Smith - Cloquet Senior High

Akash Nagapurkar - Wayzata High School

Claire Taubman - Cloquet Senior High

Emily Carr - Breck School

Katelyn France - Hinckley-Finlayson High School

Maya Czeneszew & Erica Illiarski - Breck School

Morgan Smith & Jordin Weisz - Cloquet Senior High

Siyuan Ma & Alex Anderson - Breck School

2017 High School STEM Communicator Awards winners

Sung Wan Huh and Jiaheng (Julien) He - Breck

Cole Maxwell and Maggie Scott - Breck

Cheyenne Bailey - Park Christian School, Moorhead

Archana Murali - Breck

Addison Gleekel and Hyunsoo Brian Song - Breck

Emma Wells - Cloquet High School

Karthik Papisetty and Jyotirmya Kumar - Breck

Raunak Vijayakar and Elena Berman - Breck

Isabella Jennings and Melinda Samaratunga -Breck

Samuel Aronson and Siyuan Ma - Breck


2017 Honorable Mention

Maya Czeneszew and Samuel Rex - Breck

Claire Taubman - Cloquet High School

Serena Laing and Elise Anhorn - Orono HS

Seyade Tadele and Cassidy Yueh - Breck

Morgan Smith and Jordin Weisz - Cloquet High School

Alma Jorgenson - Clinton Graceville Beardsley HS

Abigail Smith - Cloquet High School

Genevieve Weiler - Breck

Harini Kethar - Minnetonka High School

Grant Parrish and James Williams IV - Breck

2016 High School STEM Communicator Awards winners

Carlos A. Sanchez and Jiahao Liang: “Real-time Human Breath Analysis Designing an Ion Mobility-Mass Spectrometer for the Detection of Volatile Organic Compounds.”

Darartu Gamada: “Identifying Gene Function in Antibody Mediated Kidney Rejection.”

Elena Berman and Archana MuralI: “Window to the Brain: Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease Using Retinal Biomarkers.”

Emelia Topp-Johnson: “Behind the Kernels III: An Evaluation of Fungal Endophytes of Maize and their Hypothesized Mitigation of Temperature.”

Isabella Jennings and Cole Maxwell: “Biomolecular Modeling, Simulation, and Design of a Bivalent CB2-CCR5 Ligand for the Potential Treatment of HIV/AIDS in the Brain.”

Madeline McCue and Evelyn McChesney: “Engineering a Broad-Spectrum Antibacterial Probiotic via Inclusion of Antimicrobial Peptide-encoding DNA, Year Two.”

Meghana Iyer: “Bioengineering the Lung: Investigating the Effects of a Lung Extracellular Matrix on the Growth and Differentiation of Stem Cells into Definitive Endoderm.”

Prashant Godishala and Brennan Clark: “Predicting a Cancerous Outcome: 
Creating a Novel Test for Assessing Risk of Human Papilloma Virus-Associated Oropharyngeal Cancer.”

Samuel Rex and Genevieve Weiler: “Printing an Organ: Developing a Protocol to Bioprint a Gastro-esophageal Junction.”

Sarah Carlson and Siddarth Eswaraachi: “Cleaner Water: Investigating Homogentisate Chemotaxis Receptors in Pseudomanas Putida F1 for Bioremediaton of Aromatic Hydrocarbons, Year Two.”

2015 High School STEM Communicator Awards winners

Jonah Butler
Siddarth Eswarachari & Moira Southern
Darartu Gamada & Zhuang Miao
Prashant Godishala & Brennan Clark
Ishita Kamboj
Grace Kirkpatrick & Annie McFarland
Rustam Kosherbay
Easton McChesney & Wolfgang Ofstedal
Grant Two Bulls
Leighton Zhao


2014 High School STEM Communicator Awards winners

Neehar Banerjee
Claire Drysdale
Luis Guzman & Julia Joern
Sofie Kim & Jacob Levy
Matthew McMillan & Peter Metzger
Amrita Mohanty
Priyanka Narayan
Elisa Villafaña
Elliott Weiler
Patricia Zhao & Madison Ernst


2013 High School STEM Communicator Awards winners

Redeat Abegaz - Burnsville High School
Greer Bingham - Breck School
Sarah Davidson - Burnsville High School
Paige Dempsey - Breck School
Abby Erdmann - Breck School
Kira Hinz - Breck School
Priyanka Narayan - Wayzata High School
Suraj Shah - Burnsville High School
Claire Simpson - Breck School
Elliott Weiler - Breck School
Emily Wollmuth - Burnsville High School