The National Society of High School ScholarsNSHSS

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Academic Paper Award Winners

Winning papers were selected based on how well the student addressed a particular assignment, while presenting the material in a clear and thoughtful way in the student's own voice. Read the winning essays below individually, or read them together as part of our annual Academic Papers Digital Booklet.

2014 Academic Papers Digital Booklet
2013 Academic Papers Digital Booklet

2016 Winners:

Kelsey Abrahamsen, Seattle, WA, Franklin High School
Mind Over Muscle: BCI Technology Erasing and Transcending the Barriers for the Physically Disabled

Johnalie Almaria, Algonquin, IL, Marian Central Catholic High School
The Importance of Preserving Linguistic Diversity

Adina Anand, Vienna, VA, Marshall High School
I Can't Live Without You: An Examination of Family in Christopher Nolan's Films Memento, Inception, and Interstellar

Meghan Borowski, Yarmouth Port, MA, Sturgis Charter Public School
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries

Elizabeth Campbell, Barnstable, MA, Sturgis Charter School East
The Carter Center’s International Campaign for Eradication of Guinea Worm Disease

Marcus Corrothers, Upper Marlboro, MD, Bishop McNamara High School
The Impact of Mobile Phones on the Developing World

Jazlee Crowley, Flagstaff, AZ, Flagstaff Arts & Leadership Academy
A Lesson in Individuality and the Gray Zone

Simeon Davis, Cape Town, South Africa, Rondebosch Boys' High School
Robben Island and District Six: A Comparative Case Study on Their Differing Legacies and Levels of Recognition

Laurel Diaz, Dallas, TX, Woodrow Wilson High School
The Effects of Anthropogenic Activities on Coral Reefs, and Their Contributions to Modern Human Medicine

Rachel Edwards, Dulles, VA, Cambridge High School
How are Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus analogous works?

Fatima Elfakahany, Marietta, GA, North Cobb High School
The Effect of Microplastic on Daphnia Magna Mortality

Michael Fine, Greenwich, CT, Greenwich High School
Oral History Project: "9/11: The Unanticipated Line to Edward Snowden and Rand Paul"

Jamilynne Johnson, Slidell, LA, Northshore High School
The Expression of the Soul: The Health Benefits of Dance

Judah Johnson, Southfield, MI, Berkley High School
One Size Fits Few: The Deconstruction of Gender Roles in Alice Walker's The Color Purple

BethAnn Kriz, Ludginton, MI, ASM Tech Early College
The Distance Between You and Me: A Study of Proxemics in Communication

Anthony Mastromarini, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, De La Salle College
The Syrian Migrant Crisis: A Regional Conflict With Global Repercussions

Jessica Nielsen, Herndon, VA, Herndon High School
Jane Austen’s Use of Language to Enhance the Feminist Aspect in Pride and Prejudice

Calla-Marie Norman, South Bend, IN, J. Whitcomb Riley High School
Between the Altar and the Mercy Seat: Southern Gothicism and Social and Religious Themes in Flannery O’Connor’s Prose

Ruchi Patel, Hillsborough, NJ, Academy For Health Med Science
Internet and Cognition: Surfing for the Truth

Michelle Pine, Suffield, CT, Suffield High School
More Homework Than A Dog Could Eat: An Examination of Homework in America

Nathan Santos, Newark, NJ, East Side High School
On The Pilgrimage of the Renaissance Man: A Confession for Asylum from Past Toils, Narrated Through Art

Sombo Sisay, Hong Kong, Heep Yunn School
An Investigation on Sleep Deprivation among Teenagers in Hong Kong

Kerigan Sullivan, Tryon, NC, Polk County Early College
Robin Hood: The Story of His Journey Out of Sherwood Forest and Into the 21st Century

Leif Torgersen, Makawao, HI, Kihei Charter High School
Telepresence and Telemedicine: The Technology of the Future

Sophia Valer, Scottsdale, AZ, Desert Mountain High School
The Impact of Spatial Reasoning with the Mozart Effect

2015 Winners: 

Erika Caldwell, Hendersonville, TN, Station Camp High School
“If Music be the Food of Love,” Children Starve

Patrick Cummings-Taylor, Richardson, TX, St. Mark's School of Texas
A Chip Off the Old Block: The Father-Son Relationship as Represented by Bull and Ben in Conroy's The Great Santini

Alexander Fish, Newark, DE, Charter School of Wilmington
A Joke a Day Changes the World in Some Way

Rossella Gabriele, Chesterfield, MO, Saint Joseph's Academy
Cutting the Cord: The Benefits of Withdrawing from Formulaic Writing

Gabriella Garcia, Key Biscayne, FL, MAST Academy
The Quest for Snow

Florence Kam, Richardson, TX, Trinity Christian Academy
The Beauty of Brokenness

Chan Kim, Newport News, VA, Governor's School for Science & Technology
Enhancing the Normal Adhesion Force Between Gecko Tape and the International Space Station (ISS) Surfaces Through Voltage Inducement

Isaiah Lewis, Naperville, IL, Plainfield North High School
If You Teach a Man to Think

Nathaniel Lilly, Barboursville, VA, William Monroe High School
From Peg Legs to Bionic Arms: The Technologies and Policies of Prosthetics

James Mayson, Columbia, SC, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School
Life: Could it Exist on Europa?

Cassidy McDonnell, Glenshaw, PA, Oakland Catholic High School
The Negative Effects of the Apartheid System on South Africa's Economy

Amrita Mohanty, Woodbury, MN, Woodbury High School
Schwann Cell Differentiation from Stem Cells of Neurofibromatosis 1 Patients and Normal Controls

Gabriela Naumnik, Bialystok, Poland, II Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace in Bialystok
To what Extent Is It Possible that China Will Become the Monopsonist of Raw Materials and what May Be the Consequences of this?

Horace Nowell, Chicago, IL, De La Salle Institute
A Tough Nut to Crack: What Causes Peanut Allergies, and Why is There an Apparent Increase in Cases?

Alexander Ortiz, Santa Fe, NM, Santa Fe High School
Tragedy and the Blues: Music as a Chorus in A Streetcar Named Desire

Aisvarya Panakam, Cumming, GA, South Forsyth High School
The Evolution of a Nation: What is the relationship between the women’s rights movement and the reduction in total fertility rate for the state of Andhra Pradesh in the Republic of India?

Aylin Perez, Brooklyn, NY, Brooklyn Technical High School
Chomp The Graph!

Gayatri Sadachar, Gilbert, AZ, BASIS Chandler
The Indian Widow Viewed Through Victorian Eyes

Rebecca Sheley, Victor, NY, Victor Senior High School
Ai Weiwei, Barbara Kruger, and Banksy: Drawing the Line Between Protest and Art

Yongseop Shim, Phoenix, AZ, Desert Vista High School
Next Generation's Burden

Sarah Tennant, Biscayne Park, FL, Design & Architecture Senior High School
No More Zombies

Madeline Tingey, South Jordan, UT, Herriman High School
The Monster That Ate My Stomach

Chenyang Wang, Potomac, MD, Bullis School
Lost and Found: The Enlightenment in Divine Comedy and Invisible Man

Lauren Wisniewski, Saint Johns, FL, Allen D. Nease High School
What factors led to the evolution of the linguistic and literary practices of the Lost Boys of Sudan, and how have these practices transformed? Furthermore, how have these changes influenced the Lost Boys’ concept of cultural identity?

Kevin Zheng, Ballwin, MO, Parkway South High School
Upstream – Rivers and Beyond in Heart of Darkness

2014 Winners:

Joshua Baker, Conyers, GA, Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology
Optimization of Concrete Composites Using CCBs as Additives

Lauren Bohling, Atlanta, GA, Holy Spirit Preparatory School
Driving Under the Influence of Gatsby

Megan Cox, West Des Moines, IA, Valley High School
Baklava With YiaYia

Madelyn Cox-Guerra, Lee's Summit, MO, Lee's Summit High School
Should Visual Art with a Functional or Philanthropic Purpose Be Valued More Than Visual Art with No Such Purpose?

Nicholas da Costa, Boynton Beach, FL, Florida Atlantic University/Boca Raton High School
Chalmers' Problem of Consciousness as Related to Cartesian Dualism, Revisited

Ashley Eugine, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Michael Power/St. Joseph High School
Fruitful Bliss in Varying Perspectives

Hilary Hancock, Scottsboro, AL, Scottsboro High School
A Runner's Summer

Adam Hare, Dayton, OH, Archbishop Alter High School
Slaughterhouse Five Research Paper

Eshwar Inapuri, Novi, MI, Novi High School
I Love Toy Story

Bryan Kao, Alpine, NJ, Tenafly High School
Marring La Mer

Samantha Keng, Smyrna, GA, Lovett School
The Undertones of Bewitched: Feminism and Fear of the Supernatural

Emma Lee, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, University of Toronto Schools
Migrant Workers in China: More Givers than Receivers

David Li, Commack, NY, Commack High School
Impact of the Location of a Solar Cell in Relationship to the Focal Length of a Fresnel Lens on Power Production

Zachary Mayle, Williamsville, NY, Clarence Senior High School
Human Savagery in Cormac McCarthy's The Road and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four: The Power of Dystopia to Reveal Man's Bestiality

William Merriweather, Rome, GA, Pepperell High School
I Am William Dean Merriweather III, No One Else

Regina Mae Palencia, Pflugerville, TX, Robert E. Hendrickson High School
The Dynamics of Survival and Capitalism in Catch-22

Raegan Perrine, Midland, GA, Columbus High School
Find Joy in the Journey

Martha Phillips, Waverly, PA, Abington Heights High School
Music of the Night

Caitlin Piccirillo-Stosser, Ossining, NY, Ossining High School
The Evolution and Function of the FRUITFULL Gene in the Nightshade Family (Solanaceae)

Christopher Priestley-Milianta, Bedford, NY, Fox Lane High School
Crystal Structure of OXA-23; a unique class-D β-lactamase

Sahana Rao, Centreville VA, Centreville High School
Stochastic Modeling of Cardiac Arrhythmia of Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia

Stanley Schwartz, Noblesville, IN, Cedarville University/Homeschool
The Pied Piper Wore a Suit and Tie

Claire Simpson, Hopkins, MN, Breck School
Synthesis of cyclo-L-tryptophan-L-proline in anticancer drimentine C

Julia Szewc, River Forest, IL, Oak Park and River Forest High School
The Use of Hirudin as Treatment for Improving Oxygen Diffusion through Blood Vessels to Prevent Osteoarthritic Symptoms in Obese Individuals

Brandon Whitehill, Meadowbrook, PA, Lower Moreland High School
Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici (By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe.)

2013 Winners:

Likyelesh Abera, Santa Monica, CA, Santa Monica High School
His Eternal Flame: An Analysis of the Rhetoric Surrounding the John F. Kennedy Assassination

Darius Bieganski, Orono, MN, Breck School
A Telemedicine Tool for Monitoring Parkinson's: Using Microsoft Kinect to Engineer the ParkinsonsProtoTracker

Philip Bixby, Austin, TX, Liberal Arts and Science Academy
Bovary's Fate: Precocious Naturalism in Gustave Flaubert's "Madame Bovary"

Halle Bullard, Baytown, TX, Lee College
Archer Fullingim and the Campaign to Preserve the Big Thicket

Brandi Byler, Kennesaw, GA, Kennesaw Mountain High School
Comparing Laproscopic and Open Lichtenstein Inguinal Hernia Repairs

Olivia Chen, West Bloomfield, MI, Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School
Iago's Power of Rhetoric

Paige Dempsey, Edina, MN, Breck School
Characteristics that Contribute to Nest Success of Endangered Red-headed Woodpeckers (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)

Jessica DenBoer, Lincoln, MT, Lincoln High School
A Tale of Two Friends: Lewis and Tolkein

Abby Erdmann, Deephaven, MN, Breck School
A Study of Distracted Driving Behaviors in the Vicinity of BreckSchool

Madison Harris, Kennesaw, GA, Kennesaw Mountain High School
The Effects of Hippotherapy on a Child with Cerebral Palsy: A Case Study

Molly Jacobson, Merrimack, NH, Merrimack High School
John Muir: Father of our National Parks

Sara Jarvis, Pomona, CA, Claremont High School
The Biological and Evolutionary Functions of Humor

Daniel Johnson, Deltaville, VA, Chesapeake Bay Governor's School for Marine and Environmental Science
Using Spectroscopy to Analyze Earthshine with a Ground-Based Telescope

Brooke Kelly, Seminole Ridge High School, FL
The Transformations of Evil

Jennifer Krause, Frederick, MD, Frederick Community College
From Zzz's to A'z: Does a Later School Start Time Really Make a Difference?

Caleb Kumar, Blaine, MN, Breck School
There's an App for That: An iPhone Application for Post-stroke Upper Extremity Rehabilitation

Michael Kumar, Little Silver, NJ, High Technology High School
An Investigation into Basketball Player Evolution

John Lin, Duncansville, PA, Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School
Stem Cell Research: Avoiding Controversies and Implementing Advances

Claire Lukasiewicz, Hamburg, NY, Immaculata Academy
Innovation with Feminine Flair: Attracting Women to STEM Careers

Olivia Martin, San Diego, CA, La Jolla Country Day School
China's Gaokao: A New Phenomenom or Heritage of Ancient China?

Rick Matthews, Elmont, NY, Sewanhaka High School
Epigenetic Impact of Shiftwork on Methylation and Expression of NBR2 and Breast Cancer Risk

Hannah Poe, Denver, CO, Littleton High School
Morality of Designer Babies: An Examination of the Feasibility of Defining a Universal Moral Code

Sam Showalter, Fort Wayne, IN, Homestead High School
Ironweed: William Kennedy's Unmatched Examination of Human Disposition

Melissa Sturges, Glen Head, NY, North Shore High School
Tragedy or Travesty: Arthur Dimmesdale as the Tragic Hero

Eilish Zembilci, Menomonee Falls, WI, Menomonee Falls High School
The Evolution of Sound in the French Cinema

2012 Winners:

Modupe Adetunji, Laurel, MD, Hammond High School
Definance Against Conventionality in 'Jane Eyre'

Prentice Basten, Buffalo, MN, Breck School
Surviving Empty Promises and Gentrification

Alan Booth, Hampton, VA Hampton City Schools
A Study of No Child Left Behind and its Effects

Jaimeson Cortez, Livermore, CA, Granada High School
/B/tards, Lulz, and Liberty: The Rise of Anonymous

Samarth Damania, Maple Grove, MN, Breck School
A Data-mining Approach to Identify Factors that Contribute to High Pharmaceutical Drug Costs

Morgan Farrell, Ponce Inlet, FL, Spruce Creek High School
Can the Visual Arts Provide a Narrative of a Culture?

Sean Fowler, San Diego, CA, Westview High School
Singularity and the Effects of a Tech-driven Society

Daniel Gillen, New York, NY, The Beach School
Crisis Equals Opportunity: Remaining Competitive in the Green Revolution's Decline

Emily Hernandez, Germantown, TN, Germantown High School
Is it Possible to Create a Computer that Mimics Human Intelligence by Replicating the Way the Human Brain Processes Information?

Caleb Kumar, Blaine, MN, Breck School
Designing and Validating a Java Program to Diagnose Bladder Cancer

Hannah Kummer, Santa Monica, CA, Santa Monica High School
Yummy Yummy!

Sherman Leung, Silver Spring, MD, Montgomery Blair High School
A Musical Model of Organic Compounds

Kristen Lobo, Inverness, IL, William Fremd School
Idealizing Others On the Road

Taylor McCanna, St. Louis Park MN, Breck School
Engineering an Inexpensive Mobile Electric Field Mill to Track Changes in the Global Electric Circuit

Haley Morrow, Tulsa, OK, Edison Preparatory High School
The Sound of Grandmother's Music

Rahul Mukherjee, Rochester, MN, John Marshall High School
Macroalgae As An Alternative Source of Biodiesel: A Study on Native Algae from the Great Lakes for Industrial Utilization

Ian Christopher Quillen, Greensboro, NC, Northwest Guilford High School
The Impact of John Locke's Political Writings on the American Founding Fathers

Scott Remer, Beachwood, OH, Beachwood High School
'Call Me My Name': The Role of Nomenclature in Toni Morrison's 'Beloved'

Noah Rucker, Pace, FL, Pace High School
One Darkness to Rule Them All

Jessica Ryvlin/Claire Simpson, Plymouth, MN, Breck School
Mercaptopyruvate-TEA: A Possible Antidote Against Threats of Chlorine-Induced Lung Injury

Maimia Samah, Burlington, NJ, Burlington Township High School
The Taming of the Shrew/Pygmalion

Peter Sherman, Medina, WA, Harvard Summer School
Climate Change on Mars

Greta Smith, Evansville, IN, Signature School
The Significance of the Symbolism of Eyes as Recurring Motifs and Representations of Afghan Culture in 'The Kite Runner' and 'A Thousand Splendid Suns,' by Khaled Hosseini

Katherine Van Gerpen, Pierre, SD, T. F. Riggs High School
Pacemakers Keep Ticking

Brent Weyers, Los Altos, CA Mountain View High School
The Internet's Impact on our Thinking

2011 Winners:

Emily Alper, Minneapolis, MN, Breck School.
Targeting Genes in Salmonella Kentucky Associated with Food-Borne Illnesses (co-author)

Rachel Broussard, Lafayette, LA, Academy of the Sacred Heart
The Controversy over the Ending: "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"

Emily Clark, Fayetteville, NY, Fayetteville - Manlius High School

Nina Coloso, Palm Beach Gardens, FL, Palm Beach State College
Hepataren: New Cystic Fibrosis Treatment

Marielena Dias, Palm Coast, FL, Matanzas High School
Life Lessons

Kristian Fausz, Covington, KY, Holmes High School
The Transformation of Literature's Vampire between "Dracula" and "I Am Legend"

Zeenia Framroze, Toronto, ON, Branksome Hall School
To What Extent Has There Been Substantive Change in the Rights of Women in Afghanistan Under the Karzai Government?

Ellie Haeg, Wayzata, MN, Breck School
Targeting Genes in Salmonella Kentucky Associated with Food-Borne Illnesses (co-author)

Jimmy He, Madison, WI, James Madison Memorial High School
Effect of Additives on Sucrose Crystal Growth Rate

Jillian Husband, Minneapolis, MN, Breck School
Old Shakopee Road: The Struggle to Stay Relevant (co-author)

Russell Islam, Folsom, CA, Mira Loma High School
A Specter is Haunting Asia: China's Rising Military and its Implications for America's Interests in Taiwan

Clayton Jacobs, Quartz Hill, CA, Quartz High School.
Analyzing the Effects of the Modern Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty

Roman Krywalych, Westfield, NJ, Westfield High School
Comments, Tweets, and Three-Minute Videos: Changing America

George Long III, Crandall, TX, Crandall High School
Dickens' Use of Antithesis to Illustrate Disparity in "A Tale of Two Cities"

Amanda Postolowski, Union, KY, Concordia International School Shanghai
The Freedom Machine: The Bicycle as an Innovation in Gender Equality

Zoe Rand, Oak Park, IL, Oak Park River Forest High School
A Simple Gift: Women's Equality in the Shaker Community

Megan Ruan, Arden Hills, MN, Mounds View High School .
People's Republic of Education

Huzefa Sakerwalla, Spring, TX, Klein Oak High School.
The Case with Sherlock Holmes

Aoxue Tang, Ann Arbor, MI, Pioneer High School .
An Expose of Fundamentalism: The Scopes Trial

Mekiya Walters, Asheville, NC, A-B Tech Comm. College (Dual-enrolled) .
Schism-Psychological Divides and the Death of Love in "We Didn't" and "The Hand"

Kristin Weeks, Akron, NY, Akron High School.
Sandhill Farms: The Anchor of My Purest Thoughts

Addison Weiler, Edina, MN, Breck School
Improving Efficiency of Organic Solar Cells Using Lead Phthalocyanine

Margit Westerman, Minneapolis, MN, Breck School
Old Shakopee Road: The Struggle to Stay Relevant (co-author)

Amber Wiley, Eugene, OR, South Eugene High School
Horse Therapy: A Life-Changing Treatment

Jiaming Zeng, Germantown, TN, Germantown High School
How Does Magic Deceive its Audience?



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