B-A junior earns first award at state PJAS


Kaelynn Behrens

Brandie Ray used her scientific mind to earn a first award at state PJAS.

Harley Strunk, Staff Writer

Junior Brandie Ray started her PJAS project hoping to learn what young people know about drugs, and what she discovered scared her.

She found out that 59 of 100 students surveyed from Bellwood-Antis didn’t know what the major PA drug epidemic was. It is opioids.

That was the subject of Brandie’s award winning experiment, which earned a first award in the Behavior category last weekend at the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Sciences state competition at Penn State University.

It was the second straight year Brandie earned a first award at states. She was B-A’s only representative at the competition, which ran over three days.

But the experience she had didn’t necessarily help her, she said.

“Last year the presentations were  in a classroom setting. This year it was in a big auditorium-like classroom,” she said, “so when I got there I was kind of  like ‘whoa.'”

Brandie said the part that benefits her most from participating in PJAS, which is advised by Ms. Denise Shimmel, is getting to know information about the world around her. She is planning to participate once more her senior year, when she will shoot for three state first awards in a row.