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Max Kopp '26 Excels at National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium

Max Kopp ’26 recently participated in the annual National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) and was awarded a scholarship for his exceptional presentation on engineering and technology.

The JSHS is a highly esteemed event organized by the U.S. Department of Defense and renowned research universities. Its purpose is to encourage original research and experimentation in the fields of science, engineering, and mathematics among high school students. The national competition is extremely competitive, with a total of 250 participants from 49 states and regions. Out of 141 poster presentations, only the top three projects in each of the eight categories were awarded, totaling 24 projects. 

Kopp's project, titled "Flexible Nano-Material Sensors for Non-Invasive Health Monitoring," was born from his desire to make significant contributions to this field. His topic has been his driving force since he began his research journey in September 2023, with the guidance of Ms. Sarah Kesten in GA’s Independent Science Research Project course. “Although Max was new to science research this year, his motivation and determination to engineer Flexible Nano Material Sensors for Noninvasive Health Monitoring was commendable. He brainstormed several ideas before settling on this award-winning project and eagerly accepted feedback throughout the process,” said Kesten.

Kopp's motivation for this project came from a personal experience at the age of 16, where he had a negative encounter with blood tests, which he believes is a common experience for many. With this in mind, he started from scratch - conducting thorough research, performing experiments at home, meticulously analyzing data, and preparing his research paper and presentation.

Initially, Kopp competed in the regional competition at Temple University on February 24, where he was selected as one of 15 students to give an oral presentation. His presentation was one of 75 high school projects from different grades and Kopp was proud to rank sixth overall in a highly competitive competition. Unfortunately, only the top five projects could advance to the national competition and Kopp thought he would have to wait until the following year to compete again. However, at the last minute, one of the top five qualifiers was unable to attend, and Max was chosen to fill the spot as one of the five representatives from Philadelphia and Delaware at the national competition in New Mexico.

“Despite the high stakes and intense competition, I remained focused and confident in my project, growing stronger with each presentation and handling the pressure throughout the competition,” Kopp stated. The experience was both challenging and rewarding for Kopp, who was filled with joy when his name was announced for third place in the Engineering and Technology category during the award ceremony on the final day.