The College of Science hosted the statewide Science Olympiad, “the nation’s most exciting K-12 science competition” on campus April 8, 2017. Middle-school and high-school students who won regional championships earlier in the year competed in one of 23 categories across STEM disciplines, ranging from “Astronomy” to “Robot Arm,” “Hydrogeology,” and “Food Science.”
The winning teams were honored at an award ceremony later that day where they were welcomed by College of Science Dean Sastry G. Pantula, whose own daughter was an olympiad contender a couple of years ago. He urged students to continue to pursue science, “where discoveries begin,” and reminded them of the societal challenges that lie ahead, “whether it be climate change, saving corals from getting bleached, fighting drug-resistant bacteria, or decreasing pollution,” all challenges which scientists at Oregon State are actively working on.
Stellar Middle School was the B-division Oregon state champion and there was a tie for the C-level championship between teams from Westview High School and St. Mary’s Academy. The top 60 teams across the country will proceed to the national competitions later this spring.
Chemistry instructor and outreach coordinator Margie Haak was a key organizer who helped orchestrate the event. The olympiad has proven an effective way to ignite middle and high-school students’ interests in science and other STEM fields while developing their cooperative skills as part of a team.
Bravo to all of the Oregon students who competed in this event, and we hope to see you back on campus soon!