The Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) is a statewide organization of Junior and Senior high school students and teachers designed to stimulate and promote interest in science through the development of research investigations. It was established on March 31, 1934 in Reading, Pennsylvania and Dr. Karl F. Oerlein was elected the first director. The PJAS was founded by the members of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science (PAS) and sustained through a partnership of members of both groups. The PAS recognizes the PJAS as an integral part of its organization. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) coordinates the various Junior Academies in the United States through the National Association of Academies of Science (NAAS), of which the PAS is a member.

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PJAS is organized with the following objectives:

To promote greater participation in science and mathematics activities among the youth of Pennsylvania.

  • To improve the quality of achievement in mathematics and science by encouraging students to participate in research and develop original ideas.
  • To develop an understanding of the scientific community through close association with leaders in the sciences.
  • To seek the improvement of science activities through the cooperative regional and state meetings.
  • To inculcate among its members true scientific attitudes and humanistic ideals that shall lead to the greater development of service to man.

General Nature of PJAS Competition

Students wishing to present their researches for PJAS competition are grouped into units with other students of similar grade and category of research and evaluated by a small team of judges. Students give timed oral presentations about their projects after which judges may ask questions for a timed period. Judges score the student on their individual worksheets after each presentation. The student is rated numerically by his success in each of 5 independently-evaluated criteria. Later when all students in the unit are finished the judging team returns to Judging Headquarters to obtain the official tally sheet. On that paper they will compile their individual scores into a composite average score for each student.