Arkansas JSHS History

What is the National JSHS Program?

The Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS) promote original research and experimentation in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines at the high school level and publicly recognize students for outstanding achievement in these fields. By connecting talented students, their teachers, and research professionals at affiliated symposia and by rewarding research excellence, JSHS aims to widen the pool of trained talent prepared to conduct research and development vital to our nation. For more information about the National JSHS Program please visit their website (

The goals of Arkansas JSHS mirror those of the National JSHS:

  • To promote research and experimentation in the STEM disciplines at the high school level.
  • To recognize the significance of research in human affairs, and the importance of humane and ethical principles in the application of research results.
  • To search out talented youth and their teachers, recognize their accomplishments, and encourage their continued interest and participation in the STEM disciplines.
  • To expand the horizons of research oriented students by exposing them to opportunities in the academic, industrial and governmental communities.
  • To increase the number of future adults capable of conducting research and development.

What is the Arkansas JSHS Program?

The Arkansas Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (Arkansas JSHS) was first held in Little Rock, AR in 1957. In 1967, its 11th year, Tom Palko (a member of the Arkansas Tech University faculty) became the Arkansas JSHS Director and moved the regional symposium to the campus of Arkansas Tech University. Mr. Palko served as director of the Arkansas JSHS for 38 years until October 2004, when his sudden and untimely death left the symposium in the hands of Dr. Linda Kondrick (Associate Professor of Physical Science at Arkansas Tech University). Under Dr. Kondrick, the program continued to serve (and grow) the Arkansas community with the ideals instilled by Mr. Palko. In the Spring of 2011, Dr. Kondrick turned over directorship of the program to Dr. Ronald J. Tackett (Assistant Professor of Physics at Arkansas Tech University). The program's current goals are to remain committed to excellence in research at the high school level as well as expansion to provide more Arkansas students the opportunity to compete in the symposium

The United States Army, Navy, and Air Force provide much of the funding and all the scholarships for paper presenters. In addition, the Tom Palko Foundation provides a Teacher of the Year Award intended to be awarded to the Arkansas high school teacher who shows outstanding commitment to providing research opportunities in the STEM disciplines to students across the state. In addition, The funding provided by the United State Army, Navy, and Air Force enables Arkansas JSHS to send up to five delegates to the National JSHS Symposium each year. Local Arkansas businesses provide additional funding that enables a sixth student to attend this symposium. This local support also provides cash prizes for Poster Contest winners. In addition, Arkansas Tech University grants an additional four scholarships to Poster Contest winners.