News Archive

Results of Sigma Xi’s 2015 Student Research Showcase

March 30, 2015

Over the past week, young scientists met and talked online with more experienced researchers to get feedback about their research projects. They came together for Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society’s Student Research Showcase. In its third year, the showcase matched approximately 100 high school, undergraduate, and graduate students with 765 volunteer judges, many of whom are Sigma Xi members.

The showcase doesn't come with the expense, time commitments, or carbon footprint that a traditional research conference requires. Instead, it develops the students’ ability to present research online, an increasingly critical skill. Students made presentation websites with a personal video, an abstract, and a technical slideshow. Most of the presentation websites are publicly available on the Student Research Showcase website. The judges critiqued as many as 10 websites each. They interacted with students by leaving questions and comments on the students’ websites.

Judges evaluated presentations based on the quality of the project’s scientific thought and method. They also critiqued how well the student communicated enthusiasm for their project, explained their research’s significance, used text, charts, and diagrams, and responded to questions.

Luka Negoita, a PhD candidate from Syracuse University, was named the top presenter in the Graduate Division. His presentation website had 50 comments.

“This whole experience has been very insightful and encouraging,” he wrote on his website.

Judges, such as Dr. Jennifer Stewart of the University of Delaware, commented on social media that they were impressed with the students’ presentations.

“Every year I judge the @SigmaXiSociety Student Research Showcase—and every year I'm blown away by the high school level talent I see!” said Dr. Stewart on Twitter.

Top presenters in the High School, Undergraduate, and Graduate Divisions win $500 from Sigma Xi. The High School Division had a two-way tie for top presenters. Each presenter in that category will receive $250.

Additionally, presentations were divided by sections and the judges awarded a first place and second place in each section. The sections were biochemistry; cellular and molecular biology; chemistry; ecology and environmental biology; engineering; environmental and geosciences; human behavioral and social sciences; math and computer sciences; physics and astronomy; and physiology and immunology.

All of the students will receive their judges’ comments via email as well as a certificate of participation. They will also be invited to become associate members of Sigma Xi, the international honor society of scientists and engineers. High school participants will be invited to submit a research paper to Sigma Xi’s journal for pre-college students, Chronicle of The New Researcher

2015 Division Winners

High School Division Winners (Tie)


Maya Varma, Presentation High School
Engineering Section
"A Wireless Smartphone-Based System for Diagnosis of Pulmonary Illnesses"


Kayla Claire Boling, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
Human Behavioral & Social Sciences Section
"Informed or Influenced? Effects of Misconceptions in Media on American Perception of Capital Punishment" 

Undergraduate Division Winner


Weelic Chong, Oberlin College
Cellular & Molecular Biology
"Examining the Role of Human Alpha-Synuclein in Cadmium Homeostasis and Transporter Systems in a Dopaminergic Cell Model of Parkinson’s Disease"


Graduate Division Winner


Luka Negoita, Syracuse University
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
"The Role of Plant Dispersal on Ecosystem Function"