SUU Hosts Science Olympiad State Championship

Published: April 15, 2021 | Author: Southern Utah University | Read Time: 3 minutes

Utah Science Olympiad Championship hosted by the STEM CenterWhile circumstances have prevented large gatherings across the world, including children being able to attend school in a physical building, students in Utah did not let it stop them from participating in this year’s Utah Science Olympiad (USO). Hosted by the Southern Utah University STEM Center for Teaching and Learning, USO took place over Zoom on March 20, 2021. The remote competition followed state guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19 while still allowing state students to compete in this annual competition.

“I have been competing in the Science Olympiad for over five years,” said Alicia Zhang, West High School student. “From bouncing lasers off of mirrors to exploding film canisters, and decoding ciphers to lighting LEDs on a breadboard, there isn’t one dull moment. Working in a team to complete so much in such little time has provided me with an experience like no other and has challenged me to think quickly and creatively. Seeing how far our team has come over the years and having this opportunity to compete in Nationals amazes me and I couldn't be more excited.”

Each year, the USO Championship provides students in middle and high schools with a wonderful opportunity to showcase their understanding of and outstanding efforts in STEM education. As students prepare for this competition each year, acquiring knowledge in various disciplines, they are able to take what they have learned in class and apply it in a fun and challenging way with study, build, and lab events. The event is an academic track meet, with teams of up to 15 students competing in as many as 23 events in a single day.

Through teamwork, problem solving, and collaboration, students are able to approach this competition with confidence, leaving with a greater enthusiasm for science and the ability to take pride in their accomplishments as they work towards a shared goal. While their preparation is engaging, challenging, and can often be frustrating, USO generates much excitement for these students as they are able to take part in a friendly competition to test their knowledge and for their coaches who are able to watch and support them as they continually strive to succeed.

“We are thrilled to host the Utah Science (USO) Olympiad Championships and USO program,” said Laurel Dodgion, co-director for technology and engineering events. “The students and teachers we get to work with are driven to success and have a passion for STEM. We look forward to working with these teams in future years.”

This year’s USO was smaller than in previous years, but the event was just as competitive. When all the tests were graded, top honors went to the following teams:

Division B: Grades 6-9 Division C: Grades 9-12
Fairfield Jr. High School Varsity 1 West High School Team 1 1
Mountain Green Middle School 2 American Fork High School 2
Fairfield Jr. High Junior School Varsity 3 Farmington High School 3

Fairfield Jr High School Varsity and West High School Team 1 will advance from the tournament to the National Science Olympiad, hosted online by Arizona State University in June 2021.

“I am beyond excited for an opportunity to go to Nationals this year,” said West High School Coach Crystal King. “The Science Olympiad allows students to participate in many diverse areas of science, they can really explore their passion, and I love seeing their excitement when they are recognized for their hard work. I have been coaching Science Olympiad for over 15 years and my students always strive for that state championship. It’s really exciting to finally win!”

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