CMU Hosts Nation’s Top Competition for High School Students
by Abby Simmons
Carnegie Mellon is welcoming a group of emerging STEM superstars to its Pittsburgh campus Nov. 21–22.
This is the university’s 12th year hosting the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, thanks to the dedicated staff in Conference and Event Services and numerous faculty members who volunteer their time each year.
“During the school year, we’re usually focused on assisting faculty with conferences, campus events and company recruiting sessions,” said Beth Yazemboski, director of Conference and Event Services. “This is an opportunity for us to have a hand in students’ experiences.”
Regarded as the nation’s premier scientific research competition for high school students, the Siemens Competition aims to impress upon students the value of scientific study and encourage them to consider careers in these disciplines. The competition also gives CMU faculty and researchers a chance to interact with potential prospective students and future leaders in their fields.
Twelve faculty members led by Physics Department Head Stephen Garoff will be judging up to five individual and team entries based on a report, poster display, oral presentation and private Q&A session.
Several faculty members have served as judges every year that CMU has been a host site.
“The days I spend at the competition each year always remind me of the great creativity and energy of young minds,” Garoff said. “The potential is enormous, and through their hard work on their projects, we get to see the potential begin to become reality. It is simply exhilarating to meet them and to see their work.”
Joshua Kubiak, a CMU student who won fourth place nationally in 2011 for his organic chemistry research, will be covering this year’s competition on Twitter, using the handle @CMUSiemensComp.
“The Siemens Competition provided me with experience in scientific communication, confirmed my interests in a research-based career, and gave me the opportunity to meet brilliant and inspiring students from across the nation,” Kubiak said.
Kubiak, a junior majoring in materials science and engineering and chemistry, is now an undergraduate research assistant in the labs of Michael Bockstaller and Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, based in the College of Engineering and Mellon College of Science, respectively.
For the second year in a row, students will be treated to an interactive demonstration at the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging led by Senior Research Psychologist Rob Mason. Roberta Klatzky, the Charles J. Queenan Jr. Professor of Psychology, will deliver the keynote address at this year’s awards dinner at the Carnegie Science Center.
Conference and Event Services helps to orchestrate a memorable experience for the students, arranging travel, overnight accommodations, catering, the awards dinner and photography.
Eric Grotzinger, Mellon College of Science associate dean for under- graduate affairs, and Amy Burkert, vice provost for education, serve as university ambassadors.
Other regional competitions are held at CalTech, Georgia Tech, MIT, Notre Dame and University of Texas at Austin. Winners compete for a national title and a $100,000 scholarship at George Washington University in December.
The CMU campus community is invited to interact with the Siemens Competition’s regional finalists at a public poster session from 6 to 7:15 p.m., Friday, Nov. 21 in Rangos 1, Cohon University Center.