Chesapeake Chapter Tradition Supports High School Students

by Heather Thorstensen | Jul 29, 2019

Jayce Turner and Michael Simini

When Jayce Turner receives his high school diploma next year, he will wear the Sigma Xi blue and white graduation cords around his neck, a sign of support from the world’s largest scientific and engineering research honor society.

Sigma Xi’s Chesapeake Chapter recognized Turner this year for his outstanding performance as a science student at the Highlands School in Bel Air, Maryland, which educates children with dyslexia, attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other language-based learning differences. The chapter has a tradition of inviting all high schools in Harford County to pick a science student for recognition during their junior year, which provides time for the students to list the honor on their college applications. Fifteen schools participated this year. Each school receives a plaque to display with the names of their honored students, and the students receive a certificate of recognition and Sigma Xi graduation cords. 

“The chapter hopes the honor encourages the students to continue their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education and become active members in the greater STEM community once they have graduated from college,” said Michael DeZearn, chapter secretary. 

Turner’s learning differences include ADHD, anxiety, and a writing challenge called dysgraphia. As a young child, he loved nature and could name almost any butterfly species, said his mom, Cheryn Turner. He plans to study environmental science in college and then pursue a career in that field. 

“Getting the recognition definitely means a lot to me,” Turner said, “as it shows that a lot of the hard work I did in school paid off. I have always enjoyed science, so I am honored to be recognized by Sigma Xi.” 

What programs do you know of that support students in science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM)? Please share in the comments below. 

Photo caption: Jayce Turner receives a certificate of recognition as an outstanding science student from Sigma Xi Chesapeake Chapter President Michael Simini.

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