Academy of Applied Science
PLEASE MEET: Robert Rice
Robert Rice was the JSHS Northern California and Nevada Regional Director for 31 years. He publishes Science 21 which can be found at www.science21magazine.org. Still actively involved in JSHS, Dr. Rice and his wife Esther will be at the 40th National Symposium in San Diego this April.
SPARKS: Please tell us about your early teaching career.
Bob Rice: I taught physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, physical education, band, math, English and general science. I coached sports, mainly basketball and track. In 1953, I started the San Francisco Bay Area Science Fair which involved 12 counties and continues today. Later, at the University of California at Berkeley, I helped write and administer several funded National Science Foundation proposals and directed workshops for science teachers.
SPARKS: What is the exciting program you're currently working on?
Bob Rice: Dr. Kenneth Matsumura, a former student of mine at Berkeley High, was interested in following students who presented their research at the Northern California-Western Nevada JSHS. These young scientists' ideas were strong but they needed mentorship to develop the research conclusions. So, we set out to study student papers from both the JSHS and the International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF). Interested students were invited to submit their research papers for editorial review and monitoring by professors or scientists in the field of research.
SPARKS: What have you observed as major changes with the JSHS National through the years?
Bob Rice: For years the national symposia alternated between West Point and university campuses. All the original symposia were sponsored by the Army. Since 1996 when the Navy and Air Force joined the Army as sponsors, scholarship awards have increased substantially. As for participants, more females and students of diverse ethnicity and race are involved and actively engaged in science research. Finally, the judges are better qualified and represent more diversified specialities.
SPARKS: What does the JSHS experience offer students?
Bob Rice: Self development and the ability to associate with others of like interests and abilities. Also they have the opportunity to interact with renowned scientists and engineers in all areas of the scientific enterprise and to learn approaches to solving problems, the techniques of research and experimentation. They develop and hone skills that will contribute to their leadership potential in science or other career paths.
SPARKS: How can JSHS alumni encourage today's students?
Bob Rice: They should encourage those in their area to attend regional symposia; speak to Parent Teacher Associations and service clubs about the opportunities available through JSHS, ISEF, and other science encouragement programs; and return to their own high schools to talk to students about how to do good research and present it clearly.