First-Place Winners: $50,000 Scholarship
First Place: $50,000 Scholarship
Huron High School
Ann Arbor, Michigan
A Sexual-Network-Based Model Evaluating the Impact of Human Papillomavirus Vaccination on Infection Prevalence in an Adolescent Population
“From my experience at the YES Competition, I'll remember the passion that each student showed for his or her project and its implications for improving public health. High schoolers are not too young to start solving public health problems!”
Katie recognized that the results of a 2004 sociology study on adolescent sexual networks could significantly change our understanding of how the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine reduces new HPV infections in adolescents. Katie taught herself computer programming and her project features an innovative mathematical model.
The model utilizes the findings from the 2004 study to test the effects of different levels of vaccination in adolescent girls or boys to prevent the spread of HPV. She found that the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine to prevent infections among adolescents was significantly greater than the previous research, based on adult sexual networks, had shown.
Katie is captain of her varsity swim team, plays the piano, and studies world languages. She has applied for a summer internship at the National Institutes of Health and plans to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Harvard University this fall. After college, she intends to pursue a career in epidemiology research.
This paper models the effect of vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) on infection prevalence to determine optimal vaccination strategies for either female-only vaccination or vaccination of both males and females. Empirical data showing spanning trees as appropriate models of adolescent sexual networks contradict previous network models, such as cores, assumed in population-based infection models. In this paper, a novel simulation model creates sexual networks as individual relationships form over time, considering the effect of social norms governing partnership selection on network structure. Results show that moderate vaccination rates (20-40%) significantly reduce prevalence, but 90-95% vaccination of females, or 70-80% vaccination of both males and females, is needed for herd immunity. HPV vaccination may be more effective than predicted by theoretical models that do not take the fragile nature of adolescent sexual network structure into consideration. Still, vaccination goals are not likely to be reached without mandatory vaccination of both males and females.
First Place: $50,000 Scholarship
Ossining High School
Ossining, New York
Examining Repetitive Behaviors in Parents and Siblings of Individuals with Autism
“What truly inspired me to pursue autism research were the autistic children I volunteer with. I work with special needs children in the local community and they really are a joy to be around. Their behavior is fascinating and spending time with them has provided invaluable insight into my research.”
Jessica found that restricted and repetitive behavior is one of the defining features of autism, however most research has focused on the socialization and communication aspects of the disorder. This is one of the first studies to examine the presence of repetitive behaviors in siblings and parents of autistic children. She studied more than 140 relatives of autistic children and compared them to 90 relatives of normally developing children over a two-year period.
Jessica's results found that nonautistic siblings of children with autism are more likely to display repetitive behaviors and a preference for routine. This could prove beneficial if used to improve support groups of families with autistic children.
About her experience at the YES Competition, Jessica says she enjoyed the fact that, “There was so much encouragement and camaraderie in the midst of an incredible, intellectually stimulating environment.” Jessica is president of the local National Honor Society and is on the varsity field hockey and indoor track teams. She plans to attend Cornell University this fall. Although she has not yet identified a specific field of study, seeing the many ways epidemiology can help people makes a career in public health a real possibility.
Studies provide evidence that autism is a genetic disorder placing siblings of individuals with autism at a greater risk of developing autistic-like traits. This study examined trends of repetitive behaviors in multiple-incidence autism spectrum disorder families. The sample consisted of 48 unaffected (nonautistic) siblings and 95 parents of children with autism, as well as 57 siblings and 33 parents of normally developing children. One parent per family was administered the 12-item Personal Need for Structure (PNS) Scale to assess characteristics closely related to insistence on sameness, a specific repetitive behavior. Parents reported on themselves, their spouses, and their children. To compare sibling samples, a factor analysis was performed that split the 12 items of the PNS scale into three factors: preference for routine, familiarity, and predictability. Results found unaffected siblings of individuals with autism to have greater preference for routine (p=.032) than neurotypical children with no autistic siblings. There were no significant differences between sibling groups in preferences for familiarity or predictability (p=.934, p=.804). To compare parent samples, a similar three-factor model was constructed. However, no significant differences in repetitive behavior were found between parents of individuals with autism and parents of normally developing children (p=.590, p=.841, p=.455). Results indicate having an autistic sibling can greatly affect a child's development.
Second-Place Winners: $35,000 Scholarship
Second Place: $35,000 Scholarship
Marshfield High School
A Study of the Rate of Contact in Children to Apply to Influenza Transmission Calculations
“The most memorable aspect of the YES Competition was, without doubt, the ability to learn through experience how to present a professional scientific project before a group of colleagues and peers. I believe this is what really sets YES apart from any other scholarship recognition program.”
Emily decided that, under the broad umbrella of epidemiology, she was most interested in infectious diseases and their effects on the human population. She felt a study on influenza could have great real-world applications. Emily gathered observational contact rate data of children in day care, kindergarten, and second grade. She found that the models used to predict the effectiveness of school closures during pandemic influenza have not accurately estimated the rate of contact rates between children in daycare and elementary school settings.
Furthermore, she concluded that social distancing countermeasures may be more effective than previously anticipated. Emily hopes her study will lead to a better understanding of transmission during an influenza pandemic, potentially saving human lives.
Emily says she will always remember the YES Competition because it showed her the power of her generation to ask important questions and demand answers. She has participated in several science competitions, is president of the local National Honor Society, chairman of the Youth Action Committee, and is an active volunteer in her community. Emily plans to major in genetics when she attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall.
Pandemic influenza is a major concern of public health specialists, due to the importance of anticipating and controlling an outbreak. Children are among the age groups most susceptible to influenza and are likely to transmit influenza to family members once infected. The objective of this study is to gather reliable primary observational contact rate data from children, to better predict the likely impact of school closure on influenza transmission in a pandemic. Ten kindergarten and eight second-grade classrooms from a single public school district, two home daycares, and five daycare centers were selected for observation. Within each classroom, six students were monitored for 10 minutes for personal and spatial contact rates. The total proportion of time in contact and personal contact rates were significantly different between the classroom types (daycare, kindergarten, and second grade). No correlation was found between number of students present and contact rate, but the activities taking place in the classroom had a significant impact on contact rate. Actual contact rates in children are higher than rates assumed in mathematical models of influenza transmission. Social distancing countermeasures may be more effective than previously anticipated during a pandemic influenza outbreak.
Second Place: $35,000 Scholarship
Palo Alto, California
Predictors of Human Papillomavirus Vaccination and Participation in Vaccination Decision Making Amongst High School Girls
“I was inspired to research this topic because legislation was being considered to mandate a health intervention for girls and young women without consideration being given to the decision making capacity and ability of those targeted for the vaccine to participate in their own health decisions.”
Maya has a strong interest in understanding how people utilize data and evaluate information when making decisions. She decided to explore how educating young women about the consequences of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and the efficacy of the vaccine would affect their decision about getting vaccinated. She found that young women lacked the knowledge about HPV necessary to make an informed decision about vaccination.
She also found that the young women identified their parents and health care providers as more reliable sources of health information than television and magazine advertisements. As a result, she suggests that efforts to educate women about HPV and the HPV vaccine are necessary. To be effective, these efforts must include active participation by parents and health care providers.
Maya has participated in numerous science competitions, founded the Physics Club at her school, and is a nationally rated member of the United States Pony Club. Maya is currently a junior, but has plans to apply to Stanford University and the Claremont Colleges. She is interested in becoming a research psychologist and studying social phenomena, such as obedience to authority and social isolation.
To identify factors associated with receipt of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine by high school girls and the decision making by girls about vaccination. This was a two-part cross-sectional study in which high school girls completed a single 62-item survey. The main study (N = 95) and follow-up pilot expansion study (N = 75) were conducted at a private all-girls school and a public co-educational high school, respectively. The main predictor variables were sources of vaccine information, vaccine-related knowledge (VRK), and sociodemographic and attitudinal factors. The main outcome measures were vaccination against HPV and participation by the subject in decision making about the vaccine. The prevalence of vaccination was 34%. Of all respondents, 31% participated in the vaccination decision making, but these girls had VRK gaps. Vaccination was significantly associated with older age, more frequently attending religious services, and higher VRK, but not with estimates of prevalence of HPV, genital warts, or risk of cervical cancer, parental education, post-high school plans, frequency of doctor visits, or types of vaccine information sources. This is the first study to have identified factors associated with HPV vaccination among high school girls and to have documented that a high percentage are participating in the vaccination decision making. These findings have broad implications for adolescent health education and provide new information relevant to the current public policy debate about optimal use of this recently approved vaccine in the United States.
Third-Place Winners: $20,000 Scholarship
Third Place: $20,000 Scholarship
Roslyn High School
Roslyn Heights, New York
Nobody Wants to Be Lonely: Factors Contributing to Friend-Networking Site Use
“I became interested in this research because everyone I know uses friend-networking sites, but some use them more than others. I wanted to see who uses them and the possible implications of using them so frequently.”
Knowing that friend-networking site use will probably continue to grow in popularity, Elyssa wanted to explore some of the factors that predict the amount of time people spend on friend-networking sites. She also wanted to see how spending time on these sites affects teenagers' health. She surveyed students in the eighth grade, and then again when they entered ninth grade, about self-esteem, loneliness, social anxiety, and their use of social networking sites.
Elyssa found an increase in site use as students advanced to the ninth grade and that students with higher loneliness and social anxiety had greater use of social networking sites. By exploring the relationship between common psychological disorders and modern technology, this study could be used to help predict future technological trends and patterns in psychological disorders.
She thinks that, “Researching should never be about competing or achieving an award, but about what you're interested in and want to learn more about.” Elyssa is involved with mock trial and mock Congress at school. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, listening to music, and playing tennis. This summer, Elyssa is working at her local fire and rescue company, responding to ambulance calls with the emergency medical services team. She plans to attend Columbia University in the fall.
While much research has explored the link between people's use of many aspects of the Internet and their psychological well-being, few studies have examined the relationship between the now widespread use of friend-networking sites (e.g., Facebook.com and MySpace.com), and psychological health. This study explored predictors of time spent on the friend-networking sites Facebook.com and MySpace.com. Over 300 eighth and ninth grade students were surveyed about their self-esteem, loneliness, social anxiety, and their use of these social networking sites. The majority of students (70%) reported using friend-networking sites for at least 10 minutes per day. A multiple regression showed that collectively the predictor variables accounted for 3.6% of friend-networking site use. Gender was the only significant predictor, and girls reported using the sites more than boys. Eighth graders reported using MySpace more than Facebook, while ninth graders reported using Facebook more often. Since the two sites differ in a variety of ways, separate regression analyses were run on the predictor variables (self-esteem, loneliness, and social anxiety) and each site individually. Social anxiety was the only significant predictor of MySpace use, and being female was the only significant predictor of Facebook use. Students who were in eighth grade at the time of the initial data collection, were surveyed again in the fall of 2008 after they entered the high school as ninth graders. An increase in friend-networking site use from eighth grade to ninth grade was found to be related to increased loneliness. This study suggests that different friend-networking sites attract different users and that users' loneliness may increase as a result of using these sites.
Third Place: $20,000 Scholarship
Oak Ridge High School
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Sleep Deprivation in Adolescents: Causes, Extent, and Effects
“The YES Competition speakers were absolutely amazing. They've completely changed my perception of epidemiology and public health and have shown me that it is a field in which I can truly make a difference.”
Katherine conducted a survey of high school juniors and seniors to investigate the causes, extent, and effects of sleep deprivation in adolescents. She found that 95% of the students she studied sleep less than the recommended nine hours of sleep on school nights.
Her research also found that a greater number of electronic devices in the student's bedroom, phones in particular, were associated with greater sleep deprivation. This study could produce a greater awareness of the effects of sleep deprivation and may lead to changes in student perception and changes in high school class schedules.
She has won numerous science competitions, including the 2006 National Science Olympiad. Katherine is president of the Science Club at her school and has plans to do research at Oak Ridge National Laboratories for a school-related program this summer. Currently a junior in high school, Katherine has not yet determined her career path. However, she is interested in biological research and public health.
This study investigated the patterns of sleep and sleep-related factors in a population of 481 high school juniors and seniors to determine the causes, extent, and consequences of sleep deprivation in adolescents. Over 95% of students reported sleeping less than the recommended nine hours of sleep on school nights, and over 55% reported sleeping less than seven hours a night. In contrast, over 50% of students reported getting the recommended amount of sleep on weekends. The average amounts of sleep on school nights, weekends, and vacation were 6.3, 8.3, and 9.3 hours respectively. Almost three-quarters of students reported sleeping more on weekends. Over 80% of students said they got less sleep than desired, with 45% saying they got significantly less. Nearly 50% of subjects reported falling asleep in class at least once a week, and over 50% reported napping at least once a week. A strong correlation was found between increasing frequency of falling asleep in class and decreasing sleep. A strong negative correlation was found between the number of electronic devices in a student's bedroom and amount of sleep on school nights; the most marked correlation was with the presence of a phone. There was also a relationship to the amount of time spent on homework; amount of sleep peaked around one to two hours of homework, and decreased greatly as amount of time spent on homework increased beyond two hours. Prioritization of sleep was shown to have a positive correlation with amount of sleep, indicating that conscious effort can decrease sleep deprivation. Various changes in school schedules and calendars and increased awareness could help the problem of sleep deprivation.
National Finalists: $15,000 Scholarship
National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship
Westmont Hilltop High School
Baseline Physical Health is an Independent Predictor of Long-Term Mortality After Myocardial Infarction: A Ten-Year Study
“While working with a research team at Johns Hopkins University I was given the opportunity to perform statistical analysis on a very interesting and important question using a real-life dataset. I have a very strong interest in math, especially statistics, so I accepted the opportunity.”
Utsav's project investigated the utility of the widely used 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) to provide information that could predict survival rates. SF-36 health surveys were given to myocardial infarction patients.
Utsav found, using survival analyses, that physical function as measured by the SF-36 was a powerful predictor of long-term survival after a heart attack. This means that the SF-36 physical health score could provide useful information to doctors when designing treatment for heart attack patients.
“The most memorable thing about the YES Competition,” says Utsav, “was meeting people from around the country with such a strong interest in epidemiology. I got to see a variety of interesting projects on questions important to people my age, most of which I had never even thought about.” Utsav was a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search and is on the speech and tennis teams at school. He plans to major in economics when he attends Harvard University in the fall.
Myocardial infarction (MI) is the leading cause of death in the United States. As the treatment of MI has been refined, research has focused on risk stratification, or estimating a patient's risk of future cardiac events and mortality. This is because patients who have the highest absolute risk have the greatest potential benefit from interventions, while in patients with low absolute risk, the potential harm of an intervention may outweigh the benefits. The prognostic implications of patients evaluating their own health have not been well investigated. The Physical Composite Score (PCS) of the Short Form 36 (SF-36) survey is a validated measure used by patients with heart disease to assess their physical health. The SF-36 PCS has been shown to predict mortality in patients with heart failure and after coronary artery bypass graft surgery, but its prognostic value in MI is unknown. The SF-36 was administered to 284 MI patients admitted between July 1995 and December 1996. Ten-year mortality was evaluated in May 2007, using the Social Security Death Index. The study found that SF-36 physical health is independently associated with mortality 10 years after MI, even after controlling for potential confounders. The SF-36 physical health alone was more predictive of one-year mortality than a combination of five established clinical risk factors. This suggests that self-assessed physical health may provide information on the prognosis of MI patients. Self-assessed physical health may be a summary variable, which can provide clinicians with a fairly accurate estimate of a patient's risk. Including the PCS from the SF-36 in clinical assessments may provide a simple but powerful tool to improve risk stratification in MI patients and potentially impact their treatment.
National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship
Olathe North High School
Geographic Distribution of Malaria Cases in a Rice-Growing Region in Rural Haiti
“The YES Competition helps bring ideas together so that they can be presented, discussed, and improved.”
From his mentor, William heard about a maternity center in Haiti called Maison de Naissance. The opportunity to do research that would help this center was important to him, so he decided to study the presence of malaria in a region of 30 square kilometers surrounding the center. William's project utilized geospatial analysis to determine possible connections between malaria prevalence and living distance from rice fields, which are potential breeding sites for mosquitoes.
He found that the rate of malaria was associated with a household's proximity to a rice field. William's research provides information to health workers in the region on how to best distribute mosquito netting to area residents.
A highlight of the YES Competition for William was realizing the sophistication and thoughtfulness of all the studies that were presented. He is in the National Honor Society, the Math Club, participates in after-school tutoring, and plays the piano in his spare time. Although he plans to study medicine and has been accepted to Northwestern University and the University of Kansas, William has not made a final decision regarding which institution to attend.
The purpose of this project is to study malaria presence in a rural region of Haiti. The area of focus is a region of 30 square kilometers surrounding a maternity clinic. This study was conducted partly because of the lack of reliable national and local data on malaria prevalence in Haiti. By surveying local residents and testing those reporting febrile symptoms for malaria, a survey team in Haiti collected the data that were used in this study. Maps were created that showed relative densities of malaria. With the goal being to determine the overall scope and impact of the disease, this study analyzed spatial relationships of malaria prevalence. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), collected data were analyzed using spatial statistics and a satellite image was used to locate potential vector breeding sites. Specifically, this project studies the relationships of malaria incidence to potential vector-breeding sites. Rice fields in the area surrounding the maternity clinic were identified in order to study these relationships. Average mean distance of house to nearest rice field of positive malaria tests and negative malaria tests were compared using a t-test. Results from the t-test showed that the mean distance of home to nearest rice field was 526.7 meters for the positive test cases and 651.3 meters for the negative test cases (p<.126). This indicated a trend in the relationship but was not significant. A nearest neighbor analysis showed significantly higher levels of clustering of the negative test cases than the positive test cases. Malaria risk maps were created in order to aid in control interventions. The results of the study is being used to facilitate the planning and implementation of a new malaria control program involving the distribution of mosquito nets beginning in the summer of 2008.
Qiushuang (Michelle) Jin
National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship
West High School
Iowa City, Iowa
The Association Between Heavy Academic Workload and Sleep Deprivation Among High School Students
“Being 15 and enrolled in three academically demanding classes, I had to sacrifice a lot of sleep in order to finish the homework and do well in the classes. The stress I experienced was physical and mental. I wanted to know if Advanced Placement courses had an effect on other students as well.”
Michelle decided to explore the relationship between enrollment in AP®, college courses, or both and sleep deprivation among high school students. She developed questionnaires and distributed them to 15 area high schools.
After analyzing the data she concluded that the enrollment in and number of AP or college courses is found to reduce the sleep time significantly among surveyed students—especially ninth and tenth graders. She hopes these findings will raise public awareness of the severity of sleep deprivation among teens and help students make better decisions in balancing schoolwork and health.
Michelle felt that the most memorable part of her YES experience was meeting people with interests similar to her own. She is a member of many school clubs, volunteers in her community, and plays several musical instruments. Michelle, currently a junior in high school, is interested in studying epidemiology with the ultimate goal of attending medical school. She is spending the summer interning at the National Institutes of Health.
The principal goal of this study was to investigate the association between sleep deprivation and heavy academic workload among a sample of high school students. Data were obtained from 15 high schools. Analyses from 2073 eligible reports indicated that the average daily sleep time (7.1±0.03 hours) among the surveyed students was significantly less than the nine hours of optimal sleep recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. A strong association was found between students' academic workload and sleep deprivation. As high as 76.55% of the students who took Advanced Placement Program® (AP®), college courses or both had an insufficient amount of sleep, which was significantly higher (p<0.0001) than that of those who were not enrolled in AP or college courses (62.30%). Furthermore, results indicated that the enrollments in AP or college courses tended to have a greater impact on younger students than older students. For instance, ninth grade AP and college course takers slept approximately one hour less per night than the ninth grade non-AP or college course takers. In addition, tenth grade AP or college course takers received approximately 40 minutes less sleep than the tenth grade non-AP or college course takers after adjusting for potential confounders. Compared with the non-AP or college course takers, the students who were enrolled in two or more AP or college classes received one hour less sleep per night among tenth graders, and 30 minutes less among eleventh graders. This study also suggested that among ninth, tenth, and eleventh graders, the early-bird (a class that started approximately one hour before school officially started) class takers received approximately 30 minutes less sleep per night than those who were not enrolled. Results from this study should provide useful information on adolescent sleep for teens, parents, educators, and researchers.
National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship
Hunterdon Central Regional High School
Flemington, New Jersey
CA-MRSA: Efficacy of Prevention Education Among Athletes
“The YES Competition engenders new perspectives about public health in the minds of those looking to pursue it as a career and opens your eyes to a whole new understanding of the world around you. It is an experience unlike any other.”
Scott always had a particular interest in the evolution of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Therefore, researching community-associated methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) combined his interest with providing a possible benefit to high school and local athletic communities.
His study was aimed at determining the best way to educate high school athletes about CA-MRSA and its prevention so that they could take a more active role in securing their own health. He evaluated athletes' knowledge regarding CA-MRSA, assessed their hygiene habits, and performed cultures to determine the prevalence of colonizations. The study shows how athletes gain an understanding of CA-MRSA through standard education, but seldom act on that knowledge to form healthy habits. This data could be used in creating ways to teach athletes to develop more hygienic habits on their own.
Scott is a semifinalist in the USA Biology Olympiad for 2008, as well as an active scuba diver and snowboarder. Currently a high school junior, he wants to have a career in public health and become an epidemiologist. His ultimate goal is to one day work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Epidemic Intelligence Service, while pursuing his own research in parts of the world that need the most help.
Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) is a rising epidemic among athletes throughout the world. Most high school athletes have limited knowledge on this new threat to their health, but education alone may not be enough to help these athletes. Over the course of the fall sports season, 84 high school athletes were observed and tested for an understanding of CA-MRSA and to get a baseline average for the hygiene habits and equipment cleanliness of the athletes. Mid-study, an educational intervention was held which attempted to correct the habits of athletes and provide an in-depth understanding of CA-MRSA. After the intervention, participants were tested again to assess a significant difference in the average response. Paired student's t-test were utilized to show a significant change in athlete knowledge and hygiene habits (P<0.0001) but no significant change in equipment cleaning habits of athletes. Additionally, female subjects scored significantly higher on post-tests then males (P<0.05) despite their lower pre-test averages. CA-MRSA education was found to be effective at increasing awareness among athletes, as well as changing passive habits, but it did not inspire active prevention among athletes. Although athletes did learn to stop sharing soap and deodorant, they did not begin to significantly change how they kept their gear clean. Another method of education or mandatory regulations should be studied to maximize prevention among high school athletes.
National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship
Benjamin Elijah Mays High School
An Examination of the Relationship Between Self Esteem and Sexual Activity Among African American Girls
“The YES Competition is not just about competing for a scholarship; it is also an opportunity to interact with students from across the nation who are passionate about public health. And it allows you to meet pioneers in the field of public health.”
Danielle served as a peer counselor for ASK US Teens (Adolescents Seeking Knowledge to Understand Safer Sex and Sexually Transmitted Infections) where she talked to youth in her community to encourage safer-sex practices and prevent the proliferation of sexually transmitted diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). She became interested in understanding why some girls who were sexually active and contracting sexually transmitted diseases or experiencing unwanted pregnancies continued to put themselves at risk.
She decided to investigate their levels of self-esteem and study how low levels might influence girls' participation in sexual activity. Danielle's research showed that African American girls with lower self-esteem were more likely to participate in risky sexual behavior. The study further indicated that girls with lower socioeconomic status were more likely to have lower self-esteem. She also identified methods to develop culturally appropriate scales to measure self-esteem in young African American women and educate them on the effects of high-risk sexual behavior
Her most memorable and empowering experience at the competition was meeting like-minded peers who were interested in making a difference in the field of public health. Danielle is captain of her school's golf and swim teams and acts as chief justice on the student court. She will attend Howard University in the fall and plans to major in biology and African American studies. After receiving her bachelor's degree, Danielle plans to attend medical school while pursuing her master's degree in public health. Her education culminates with a career as a cardiothoracic surgeon and epidemiologist.
This study was designed to explore African American adolescent girls' self-esteem and sexual activity across class lines. These variables have not been examined together in a study of African American girls, despite the need to understand the significance of the relationship between self-esteem and sexual activity among this segment of the population. This type of exploration is important because comparative studies of self-esteem among diverse racial and ethnic groups have concluded that in general African American girls do not experience low self-esteem at the same levels as girls in other racial groups. However, African American girls continue to experience negative health and social outcomes that are theoretically attributed to low self-esteem. A study of 327 African American girls was conducted in Atlanta, Georgia to understand self-esteem and sexual activity among girls of different class status. The study revealed that African American girls do experience different levels of self-esteem across class lines, which highlights the need to avoid studying African American girls as a monolithic group. In addition, low self-esteem is related to sexual activity. The results indicate that African American girls' attitudes toward their own self-esteem are, overall, positive, with lower-class girls reporting lower rates of self-esteem and higher rates of sexual activity. These findings have implications for teen pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease prevention programs.
National Finalist: $15,000 Scholarship
Troy High School
Case-Control Study of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Use and Risk of Pancreatic Cancer
“I've been in academic and scientific competitions of all forms, but I feel that I really learned the most from YES. I was in an environment where everyone encouraged each other and I got the feeling that my friends (and rivals) were genuinely interested in listening and helping me improve my work.”
Over the course of his studies and participation in science competitions, Jonathan became interested in the intricate development and epidemiology of cancer. His project compares the lifestyle habits of pancreatic cancer patients and control subjects, and focuses on the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin.
His study found that greater aspirin use was associated with a higher incidence of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to successfully treat, and early detection and prevention may be the best way to decrease mortality due to this disease. His findings may help to inform members of the public of the health choices that are available to them. They may also create a focus for further molecular research regarding NSAIDs and pancreatic cancer development.
Jonathan says that, "Before the YES Competition weekend, I didn't realize that so many people were so enthusiastic about epidemiology, but getting a chance to see such motivated peers and professionals definitely changed my mind." Jonathan has won numerous awards in regional and national science competitions and enjoys playing the piano, guitar, and Chinese zither. He is deciding between Princeton and Yale University for the fall and plans to major in biomedical engineering or molecular biology. In the long run, he hopes to enter the field of medical research—perhaps as an epidemiologist.
In vitro experiments suggest that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), particularly aspirin, may inhibit carcinogenesis in the pancreas. However, epidemiological studies have been inconsistent in describing the association between aspirin use and pancreatic cancer incidence in human populations. I conducted a case-control study to elucidate this relationship. The 372 subjects of this study were patients scheduled for an endoscopic ultrasound at a local university medical center, including 80 diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Duration and frequency of regular aspirin use (defined as at least twice per week for a month), as well as other lifestyle factors and demographic information, were ascertained in a comprehensive questionnaire. Subjects were classified by their aspirin use habits. Unconditional logistic regression was used to calculate multivariate odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Risk for pancreatic cancer was significantly elevated in regular aspirin users relative to nonusers (OR = 1.75; CI 1.02-3.01). Greater duration of regular use was associated with increased risk (8-15 years: OR = 2.30, CI 1.03-5.15; >15 years: OR = 3.39, CI 1.10-10.40). A dose-related effect was also observed for frequency of use (1-5 tablets/week: OR = 2.12, CI 0.62-7.51; 6-7 tablets/week: OR = 3.11, CI 1.63-6.23, >7 tablets/week: OR = 3.52, CI 0.81-14.94). Similar results were obtained when the subjects were stratified by gender. The results show that, contrary to laboratory findings, aspirin use increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. Duration and frequency of use directly correlate with cancer risk. However, more detailed research is required to confirm this association.
2007-08 Regional Finalists
Congratulations to all of the 2007-08 Regional Finalists who will receive a $2,000 scholarship award.
Varun Krishnan, The Altamont School, Birmingham, "Community Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus in Chilton County, Alabama"
Jeffrey Lienert, Alabama School of Fine Arts, Birmingham, "Social Networks and Obesity Among Adolescents and Teenagers"
Christopher Ryan, Har-Ber High School, Springdale, "Stress Intervention on Educators"
Allison Holcombe, Tesoro High School, Las Flores, "Autism in Hispanics in California: Evidence for Gene-Environment Interaction"
Sudheshna Miryala, Western High School, Anaheim, "Are Students' Habits and Academic Performance Associated with the Risk of Depression?"
Jennifer Damm, Allen D. Nease High School, Ponte Vedra, "The Correlation Between the Density of High Quality Grocery Stores and Childhood Obesity Rates, an Analysis of Three Neighborhoods: Humboldt Park, Chicago, Illinois; Hunts Point-Mott Haven, New York City, New York; and Washington Heights-Inwood, New York City"
Christine Johns, Evangelical Christian School, Fort Myers, "Sweet Success: A Field Trial of the Effectiveness of Consuming Xylitol-Sweetened Sports Drinks in Suppressing the Oral Colonization of Streptococcus Mutans Bacteria in High School Students"
Hunter Smith, Canterbury School, Fort Myers, "Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Colonization in Veterinary Personnel and Their Pets"
Nicolas Flont, Kennesaw Mountain, Kennesaw, "What is the Effect of Obesity on Patients Who Have Undergone Total Knee Arthroplasty?"
Alainna Brown, Skyline High School, Idaho Falls, "Fresh Air Study: Air Availability Effects on Classroom Populations"
Natalie Shehan, Cole Valley Christian High School, Meridian, "Association of Air Quality and Respiratory Illness in Youth of the Treasure Valley, Idaho"
Eugenia Miranti, York Community High School, Elmhurst, "Stress and Health Behaviors in College Students"
Katie Rosman, Niles North High School, Skokie, "Banishing Bacteria: The Link Between Dietary Intake and S. Aureus Nasal Colonization"
Zachary Burstain, John F. Kennedy Senior High School, Cedar Rapids, "Health for Sale: The Effect of Junk Food Consumed by High School Students on Future BMI and Healthcare Costs"
Jason Bishai, Dulaney High School, Timonium, "What Conditions are Necessary for a Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis Epidemic?"
Rachel Sheppard, Mount Greylock Regional High School, Williamstown, "The Teenage Binge: An Analysis of the Effects of Quality of Life on Binge Drinking"
Stephanie Krajnik, Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center, Kalamazoo, "A Secondary Analysis of the Association Between Shoulder Injuries and Participation in Organized Baseball and Softball Among High School Populations"
Sarah Lukowski, Battle Creek Area Mathematics and Science Center, Battle Creek, "Varicella Vaccine Efficacy and Potentially Related Factors"
Caitlin Pistor, Edsel Ford High School, Dearborn, "The Affects of Stress on Acne"
Brandon Law, Wayzata High School, Plymouth, "An Epidemiological Study of Glioma Incidence Trends with Biological Confirmation"
Yee Xiong, Central Senior High School, St. Paul, "The Effect of Working For Pay on Alcohol Consumption in Adolescents"
Keshav Rao, Brownell-Talbot, Omaha, "Use of Spatial Epidemiology Tools to Analyze the Community Factors Influencing Childhood Obesity"
Brianna Lien, Centennial High School, Las Vegas, "Eating Habits and Teenage Health Problems"
Ethan Goldstein, Cherry Hill High School East, Cherry Hill, "Asthma Screenings in Urban and Suburban School Settings"
Alexandra LeBental, Livingston High School, Livingston, "Association of Interleukin-4 Gene Polymorphism and Periodontal Disease Risk"
Hamsini Sridharan, Millburn High School, Millburn, "Correlation Between a Risk Allele on ENGRAILED 2 and the Behavioral Phenotype of Autism Spectrum Disorder"
Cameron Breen, John F. Kennedy High School, Bellmore, "The Ability to Discriminate Differences in Fat Content as a Predictor of Obesity in African-American Adults"
Shailee Dave, Briarcliff High School, Briarcliff Manor, "The Evaluation of Cryopreserved Umbilical Cord Blood "Old" versus "New" units: A Clinical Study"
Tyler Davidov, Ossining High School, Ossining, "Evaluation of the Accuracy of the Audio-Recorded Cognitive Screen for Differentiating Levels of Cognitive Impairment"
Samantha Lefland, Roslyn High School, Roslyn Heights, "Is the Cookie Worth the Calories? The Relationship Between Weight and Happiness in High School Students"
Heidi Park, William A. Shine Great Neck South High School, Great Neck, "Breast Cancer Screening Rates in New York City Neighborhoods"
Jonathan Sole, Plainedge High School, N. Massapequa, "Pandemic Influenza: An Analysis of Institutional Capacity and Volunteer Willingness to Act During an Influenza Pandemic and Their Implications on Pandemic Preparedness and Containment"
Lauren Southwick, Ossining High School, Ossining, "Animated Cartoon Programs: Effect on Body Image of Pre-Adolscent Girls, A Two-Part Study: Content Analysis and Examination of Body Image"
Jonathan White, Roslyn High School, Roslyn Heights, "Late to Bed and Early to Rise: The Costs of Sleep Deficiency on High School Students"
Alexia Hobbs, Apex High School, Apex, "Are There Racial/Ethnic and Social Class Differences in the Diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder?"
Eason Lee, Green Hope High School, Cary, "A Study on the Effects of Sunlight Intensity on Multiple Sclerosis"
Joe Weiner, East Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill, "The Impact of Silicone Bandages on Pain and Infection in People with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB)"
Anthony D'Ippolito, Grove City High School, Grove City, "Epidemiology of 5.7 Million Pediatric Holiday-Related Injuries Presenting to U.S. Emergency Departments from 1997 through 2006"
Katherine Talbott, Seton High School, Cincinnati, "Use of Over-the-Counter Medications Among High School Females"
Kelayne Wilson, The Summit Country Day School, Cincinnati, "Examining the Association Between Time Spent on Social Networking Websites and Adolescent Self-Esteem: An Epidemiological Study"
Andrew Gilmore, Calvary Christian Academy, Philadelphia, "Teens' Responses to Emergency Contraception and the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine: Impact Study on Risk Behavior Resulting in the Transmission of Sexually Transmitted Infections"
Shaunak Kishore, Unionville High School, Kennett Square, "Predicting the Effects of Differential Treatment in a Tuberculosis Epidemic that Spans Several Cities: a New Model Applied to TB in India"
Rebecca Earnest, J.J. Pearce High School, Richardson, "The El Niño Southern Oscillation/Dengue Fever Correlation: An Analytical Study of ENSO Effects on Dengue Fever Occurrence in Latin America"
Thomas Lei, Bellaire Senior High School, Bellaire, "An Analysis of Causes and Effects of Video Game Addiction"
Medha Raj, Westlake High School, Austin, "Effects of Extracurricular Activities on Body Esteem and Self Esteem in Adolescents"
Amber Kunkel, Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government and International Studies, Richmond, "The Effect of Area Socioeconomics on Teen and Young Adult Drug Abuse, Using State Level Data as a Model for Smaller Communities"
Stephen Mein, Frank W. Cox High School, Virginia Beach, "A Model Simulation of the Effects of Global Warming on the Spread of Malaria"
Anand Kaul, Inglemoor High School, Kenmore, "Population Frequency of Structural Variation in the 17q21.31 Region of the Human Genome and Microdeletion Syndrome in Patients with Mental Retardation"
2007-08 Regional Semifinalists
Congratulations to the 2007-08 Semifinalists who will each receive a $1,000 scholarship.
Lucy Darago, Westlake High School, Westlake Village, "Present-day Tuberculosis in the United States"
Sohee Lee, Cate School, Carpinteria, "Nutrition Awareness in Today's Adolescents: Do 21st Century Boarding Schools Have the Answer?"
Anupam Mittal, Redlands High School, Redlands, "The Correlation between Breast Feeding and Academic Achievement"
Kaitlyn Spore, Mission Viejo High School, Mission Viejo, "The Effect of Nutrition on Blood Pressure"
Maritza Montanez, Ansonia High School, Ansonia, "Obesity in Adolescents as a Result of a Sedentary Lifestyle"
Chetak Hossain, The Charter School of Wilmington, Wilmington, "A Study of an Optimum Response Plan for An Epidemic"
Sagar Mehta, Winter Park High School, Winter Park, "Epidemiology of ADHD in India and its Impacts on Accident Proneness, Self-care, and Projected Economic Burden"
Kathryn Daniel, Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology, Conyers, "An Epidemiological Study of a School Environment"
Ahalya Prabhakar, Chattahoochee High School, Alpharetta, "Impact of Use of Public Transportation on Obesity and Physical Activity"
Caleb Voelkel, Dunwoody High School, Dunwoody, "High School Students' Knowledge and Acceptance of Steroid Use"
Ashley Brosius, Moline High School, Moline, "The Impact of Sports on BMI in High School: A Comparative Analysis"
Niharika Jain, Caddo Parish Magnet High School, Shreveport, "Ethnicity Impacts Genetic Variation in Warfarin Patients: A Pharmacogenomics Study"
Ethan Gurwitz, Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science, Worcester, "How Do Age and Gender Affect Athletic Performance?"
Stephan Bodnar, Dearborn High School, Dearborn, "The Effects Of Air Pollution On Asthma"
Joseph Tuohey, Dearborn High School, Dearborn, "Playing Sports and Teenage Driving Risk: A Cross-Sectional Study"
Sameer Goel, Saint Andrew's Episcopal School, Ridgeland, "An Investigation of Stress and its Effects on High School Students"
David Levary, Parkway Central High School, Chesterfield, "The Influence of Academic Factors on Health Perceptions and Practices of High School Students"
Corey Murphey, Rock Bridge High School, Columbia, "Prevalence of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus"
Lois Bernhardson, Bernhardson Academy (homeschool), Lincoln, "Case Control Study of Autism Spectrum Disorder and MMR Vaccine"
Kirsten Christiansen, Centennial High School, Las Vegas, "Technology: Does It Lead to Weight Problems in Teenagers?"
Ailie Finsland, Centennial High School, Las Vegas, "The Effects of Participating in Multiple Extracurricular and Academic Programs on the Average Adolescent Student's Health"
Conisha Cooper, Glen Ridge High School, Glen Ridge, "An Observational Study: The Impact of Parental and Social Influence on Teenage and Adolescent Consumption Behaviors"
Eric Teitelbaum, Moorestown Friends School, Moorestown, "Population Density and Alzheimer's Disease: A Comparative Study"
Kristina Blank, Taconic Hills High School, Craryville, "Estrogen as a Carcinogen: A Study of the Effect Estrogenic Agents Have on Age at Menarche"
Lisa Cervia, Roslyn High School, Roslyn Heights, "Clinical and Demographic Variables Related to Pain in HIV-infected Individuals Treated with Effective, Combination Antiretroviral Therapy"
Samantha Chester, Ossining High School, Ossining, "Music Therapy Improves Gait and Quality of Life in Parkinson's Disease Patients"
Rebecca Cioffi, Troy High School, Troy, "Knowledge of Food Safety Guidelines and Foodborne Illnesses and Its Relationship with Prevalence of Foodborne Illness Among College Students"
Michelle Eichorst, Archbishop Molloy High School, Briarwood, "Looking For New Clues About the Epidemiology of Food Allergies in Children: Analysis of Federal Survey Data"
Danielle Falzon, Plainedge High School, North Massapequa, "The Internet and Suicide: An Analysis of the Social Uses of the Internet and Their Implications on the Psychological States of Adolescents"
Steven Han, Great Neck South High School, Great Neck, "An Epidemiological Study of Factors Affecting Pediatric Asthma Hospitalization"
Faria Hasan, Francis Lewis High School, Fresh Meadows, "Accuracy of Breast MRI in Pre-Menopausal Women Diagnosed with Breast Cancer"
Wasif Iqbal, Brooklyn Technical High School, Brooklyn, "The Use of Hypnotherapy on HIV Positive Patients who Suffer from Distal Sensory Polyneuropathy"
Glen Meyerowitz, Northport High School, Northport, "Do Teens and Their Doctors See Eye to Eye on Contact Lens Problems?"
Eliza Mutino, John Jay High School, Cross River, "The Short Term Health Effects of and Response to a Locally Sourced Diet"
Jacienta Paily, Briarcliff High School, Briarcliff Manor, "A Comparison of Two Coronary Revascularization"
Christopher Perrone, Eastchester High School, Eastchester, "A Cumulative Study on the Effects of Pre-Existing Factors on Pilonidal Sinus Disease"
Heather Peruffo, Arlington High School, Lagrangeville, "Athletes versus Non-Athletes: Does Lifestyle Affect Teen Health?"
Katherine Prudente, Smithtown High School West, Smithtown, "The Effect of Stress on Headaches in High School Students"
Barbara Richards, Brooklyn Technical High School, Brooklyn, "The Impact of Color Vision Deficiency on the Academic Performance of High School Students"
Jamie Roden, Watervliet Junior - Senior High School, Watervliet, "A Spatial/Temporal Evaluation of Abstinence-Only Sexual Education Through Gonorrhea Prevalence and Comparative Demographics"
Raquel Rose, Brooklyn Technical High School, Brooklyn, "HPV Vaccine: Awareness and Acceptance"
Joan Rosenthal, Smithtown High School West, Smithtown, "A Look at the Correlation Between Distorted Teenage Views About Beauty and the Increasing Rates of Skin Cancer"
Lisa Schumacher, Eastchester High School, Eastchester, "The Impact of Participation in Sports on Body Dissatisfaction"
Vineet Singal, The Bronx High School of Science, Bronx, "Ambient Exposure to Particulate Matter 2.5 and Ozone is Associated with Progression of Liver Disease and Cirrhosis in Patients with Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection"
Samara Skwiersky, The Wheatley School, Old Westbury, "The Impact of Diet on the Serum Lipid Levels of Cardiac Patients"
Hannon Welch, Croton Harmon High School, Croton-on-Hudson, "The Effectiveness of Emotional Support on Cognitive Function in a Diverse Population of Breast Cancer Patients"
Juan Pablo Zhen Lio, Brooklyn Technical High School, Brooklyn, "A Genome Wide SNP Analysis of COPD Patients"
Vivek Bhattacharya, William G. Enloe High School, Raleigh, "A Mathematical Model of the Effects of Peer Influence on Drug and Alcohol Use via a Social Network Approach"
Kira Buchholtz, Green Hope High School, Cary, "The Rise of Noise Induced Hearing Loss: What Educators and Parents Need to Know"
Shivani Sud, Charles E. Jordan Senior High School, Durham, "Academic Rigor and Obesity"
Margaret Glaser, Archbishop McNicholas High School, Cincinnati, "A Study of Teenage ADHD: Is There More?"
Gregory Griffin, Highland High School, Medina, "Daytime Sleepiness at Highland High School: Incidence and Effects"
Jay Kornder, Spring Valley High School, Columbia, "The Effect of Various Experimental Variables on the Spread Rate of a Simulated Infection Through a Population"
Emilie Weisser, Yankton High School, Yankton, "The Effects of Replacing Soda with Bottled Water in a Public School"
Raymon Carlock, Highland Park High School, Dallas, "Exploring the Correlation Between Hygiene and Staph"
Mariya Grygorenko, Highland Park High School, Dallas, "The Effects of Active Athletic Involvement on the Self-Esteem of Adolescents"
Jacquelin Hipes, Highland Park High School, Dallas, "A Discussion of the Impact of Firearm Storage Laws on the Frequency of Accidental Firearm Deaths"
Madeline Shaw, Highland Park High School, Dallas, "The Correlation Between Hormones in Milk and the Onset of Puberty in Girls"
Arden Tubbs, Highland Park High School, Dallas, "Comparing Vegetarian and Omnivorous Diets in Pregnancy"
Matthew Horch, Columbia River High School, Vancouver, "The Effect of an Adolescent's Home Environment on His or Her Consumption of Alcohol"
2007-08 YES Student Competition Judges
Some of the nation's top epidemiologists, high school teachers, and curriculum developers traveled to Washington, D.C., to hear students present their research at the fifth annual YES Competition.
Sixty students from across the country gathered in our nation's capital to present their research and compete for college scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $50,000. The judges were once again amazed at the level of sophistication of the projects.
Dr. Ruth Jiles, a YES judge and epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted that, “This competition gives me an opportunity to refresh my 'epidemiologic soul'. I left the YES Competition knowing that the future of public health and epidemiology will be in good hands, because we have very capable professionals in the pipeline.”
Mona Baumgarten, Ph.D.
University of Maryland
Lisa Berkman, Ph.D.
Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy
Harvard School of Public Health
Ross C. Brownson, Ph.D.
Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the Prevention Research Center
Saint Louis University School of Public Health in Missouri
Gilberto F. Chávez, M.D., M.P.H.
California State Epidemiologist / Medical Officer
California Department of Health Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Ralph Cordell, Ph.D.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
José F. Cordero, M.D., M.P.H.
Dean, Graduate School of Public Health
University of Puerto Rico
Ana V. Diez Roux, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
University of Michigan
Virginia Ernster, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
David Fraser, M.D.
Howard Frumkin, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Wayne H. Giles, M.D., M.S.
Director, Division of Adult and Community Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Ruth B. Jiles, Ph.D.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Mark Kaelin, Ed.D.
Associate Professor, Health and Nutrition Sciences
Montclair State University
Denise Koo, M.D., M.P.H..
Director, Career Development Division
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Nicole Lurie, M.D., M.S.P.H.
Senior Natural Scientist and Paul O'Neill Alcoa Professor of Policy Analysis
Kim Magloire, M.P.H.
Felicia McCrary, M.Ed.
The Galloway School
Kenneth P. Moritsugu, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P.M.
Vice President, Global Strategic Affairs
Chris Olsen, Ph.D.
Thomas Jefferson High School
Gianfranco Pezzino, M.D., M.P.H.
Associate Director of Public Health Systems
Kansas Health Institute
Tara Reitz, M.S.
Biology Teacher, Liberty High School
Adjunct Professor of Anatomy and Physiology, Cedar Crest College
Patrick Remington, M.D., M.P.H.
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Lee Riley, M.D.
Professor of Epidemiology
University of California, Berkeley
Ian Rockett, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Professor of Epidemiology
West Virginia University School of Medicine
Jonathan Samet, M.D., M.S.
Professor and Chairman, Department of Epidemiology
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Sally Goetz Shuler, M.S.
National Science Resources Center
Diane Marie St. George, Ph.D.
Faculty, Public Health Graduate Programs
S. Leonard Syme, Ph.D.
Professor of Epidemiology
University of California, Berkeley
Lorna Thorpe, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Deputy Commissioner of Epidemiology
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Robin Taylor Wilson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Public Health Services
Pennsylvania State College of Medicine