The Student Academy of Science fosters interaction between student researchers and scientists. The NCSAS competition is distinctive in requiring both a paper and an oral presentation, much like a professional science conference. The competition also provides an opportunity for students to receive constructive feedback from research scientists who judged their projects. Students who place first in their category at NCSAS are invited to attend the national American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, where they present their work to their peers, scientists and science enthusiasts from across the country. These students represent North Carolina and are inducted into the American Junior Academy of Science.
In 2011, there was no representation at the North Carolina Student Academy of Science from the western region. The western region, also known as District 8, includes Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, and Yancey counties.
In 2012, three TIME 4 Real Science students from Transylvania County competed in the NC Western Region Student Academy of Science, advancing to the state and national meetings. Kaitlin McCreery presented her work on the “Investigation of the germination of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis zoospores at low cell densities,” where she explored cellular mechanisms of Bd fungus, the pathogen killing amphibians world-wide. Kris Petterson and Erika Williams presented their research on the “Isolation, identification and characterization of endophytes from Cherokee medicinal plants.” Endophytes are bacteria or fungi that live symbiotically within or between the cell walls of plants, conferring a competitive advantage on their hosts. These young women scientists were inducted into AJAS at the historic Boston Library.
In 2013, thirteen students from the TIME program presented their work at the western region meeting of the Student Academy of Science. All thirteen advanced to the state competition, with one team advancing to the national meeting. Abby Williams and Carly Onnink presented their work on “Olfactometer Assays to Determine an Effective Pheromone Trap Bait for the Bean Plataspid,” a new invasive stink bug in Transylvania County. They were inducted into AJAS at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.
In 2014, twenty-one students from Transylvania County’s TIME program and three students from Robbinsville High School competed at the western region meeting of the Student Academy of Science. All twenty-four students advanced to the state competition, with one team advancing to the national meeting. Lianne Duscio and Garland Joseph competed with their project, “Antioxidant and anti-tumor effects of the berries from Elaeagnus umbellata and Lindera benzoin,” in which they explored medicinal properties of both native and invasive species. Duscio and Joseph were inducted into AJAS in San Jose, California.
On February 27, 2105, twenty-two Transylvania County TIME students and seven students from Asheville High School’s SILSA program participated in the western region Student Academy of Science competition. All students will advance to the state competition in March.