By Lynn Brandvold, NMJAS Director
The American Academy of Science (AJAS) is an Honor Society for students who have done outstanding scientific research projects and is a program of the National Association of Academies of Science (NAAS) of which NMAS is a member. AJAS meets annually in conjunction with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference. Each State Academy nominates students who are invited to attend the conference and be inducted into the AJAS Honor Society. The program is not a competition but rather an opportunity for national exposure to science professionals from colleges and laboratories.
During a normal year the event starts on a Wednesday evening and concludes on a Saturday evening. During the conference, AJAS delegates tour local institutions of scientific importance, share their research with their peers and with other scientists, attend conference sessions, and are inducted as lifetime Fellows into the American Junior Academy of Science. They present their posters to the AAAS attendees and give oral presentations to each other.
Prior to 2009 NMJAS had the funds to send students and a chaperone to the national conference, but in recent years have not had the funding. Winners of our NMJAS state research paper competition were notified that they were eligible to attend but would need to provide or raise their own funding. Unfortunately, none of the students accepted the invitation.
This year, because of the pandemic things are different and the conference is being held virtually with very minimal registration fees. The opportunity to attend was offered to the top three 2020 state competition winners. The first place winner, Karin Ebey, accepted the invitation and since every student must have a chaperone, I get to attend also! Karin has submitted her abstract and poster titled “Modeling the Effects of Variations in Rainfall on Crocodilians and Their Ecosystems”. Posters and oral presentations will take place virtually. Most of the presentations and sessions will take place in February but Karin and I have already had the opportunity to watch a keynote address and attend a special session in which students could ask the presenters questions. Dr. Anthony Fauci is one of the Plenary speakers, his talk is COVID-19 in 2021: Lessons Learned and Remaining Challenges. Karin and I are both looking forward to events in February.