2007-08 YES National Event Highlights
About the 2007-08 Competition
Washington, D.C. Hosts the Fifth Anniversary of the YES Competition
Two high school seniors were each awarded $50,000 college scholarships April 7 in Washington, D.C. Katie Everett from Huron High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Jessica Palmer of Ossining High School in Ossining, New York took first-place honors in the fifth annual YES Competition, one of the nation's most prestigious and influential high school science competitions.
Katie's research is on A Sexual-Network-Based Model Evaluating the Impact of Human Papillomavirus Vaccination on Infection Prevalence in an Adolescent Population. It features an innovative mathematical model that utilizes the findings from a 2004 sociology study to test the effects of different levels of vaccination in adolescent girls or boys to prevent the spread of the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Jessica's research, Examining Repetitive Behaviors in Parents and Siblings of Individuals with Autism, was inspired by her work with autistic children. She found that non-autistic siblings of children with autism are more likely to display repetitive behaviors and a preference for routine, which could prove beneficial if used to improve support groups of families with autistic children.
Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and chief executive officer of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funds the YES Competition said, “The projects presented by Katie and Jessica displayed creative thinking and strong analytical skills. Their work is the perfect example of how today's youth can shape the future of public health research and make a meaningful difference. The YES Competition encourages students to use the same skills and research methodologies employed by expert epidemiologists to tackle today's most pressing public health problems.”
Katie and Jessica were two of the 60 Regional Finalists who competed for scholarships at the YES National Event in Washington, D.C. These finalists were chosen from more than 550 students across the country who submitted projects. Arriving from 25 different states, the students had researched a broad array of health issues that were of concern to them.
The topics ranged from the study of influenza transmission calculations, based on the contact rate of children, to the causes and effects of sleep deprivation in adolescents. Students had 12 minutes to present their research to a panel of nationally recognized epidemiologists and teachers, followed by a 10-minute question-and-answer session conducted by the judges. All Finalists were awarded scholarships of at least $2,000—with the top 12 finalists receiving awards ranging from $15,000 to $50,000.
The students also had the opportunity to hear from leading epidemiologists and health officials including Dr. Al Sommer, dean emeritus, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Dr. Michelle Williams, professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington; Dr. Harvey Fineberg, president, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies; Dr. John Lumpkin, senior vice president, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and Dr. J. Michael McGinnis, senior scholar, Institute of Medicine. This year, nine YES alumni were invited to attend the event, enjoying the opportunity to mingle with the competitors and network with the judges and speakers.
Administered by the College Board, YES continues to be in the forefront of scholarship competitions. “The YES Competition was developed to help students hone their skills in using research methods and critical thinking to identify new ideas that may help address some of the major public health issues we face today,” said Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board. “We congratulate this year's winners—the skill they have demonstrated here in Washington, D.C., will serve them well as they move on to college and pursue a career in epidemiology.” Since its inception five years ago, the YES Competition has received nearly 3,200 research projects in epidemiology and awarded more than 600 scholarships totaling $2.3 million.
Meet all of the YES Finalists!
Back row: A. LeBental, S. Kishore, S. Mein, S. Kobner, R. Sheppard, A. Gilmore
Front row: A. Kunkel, H. Sridharan, U. Bhat, E. Goldstein
Back row: J. Sole, L. Southwick, T. Davidov, J. White, C. Breem, H. Park
Front row: J. Palmer, S. Dave, S. Lefland, E. Goldberg
Back row: H. Smith, J. Bishai, N. Flont, J. Weiner, E. Lee, C. Johns
Front row: K. Xue, A. Hobbs, J. Damm, D. LeePow
Back row: K. Wilson, K. Talbott, A. D'Ippolito, K. Rosman, K. Everett, C. Pistor
Front row: S. Krajnik, S. Lukowski, E. Barker, E. Miranti
Back row: K. Rao, C. Ryan
Middle row: B. Law, Z. Burstain, V. Krishnan, J. Lienert
Front row: Y. Xiong, W. Chang, B. Lien, Q. Jin
Back row: A. Kaul, J. Yeh, T. Lei, N, Sheehan
Middle row: M. Raj, R. Earnest
Front row: S. Miralya, A. Brown, A. Holcombe, M. Mathur