May the best teens win: CSU hosts 2018 Science Olympiad National Tournament, May 18-19

Science olympiad 2017

A scene from the 2017 Science Olympiad National Tournament, held at Wright State University. 

Talented teens from across the nation will gather at Colorado State University May 18-19 to battle it out in intensely competitive science and engineering projects. More than 5,000 students, parents and educators from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will descend on Fort Collins for the 34th annual Science Olympiad National Tournament, hosted this year by CSU. Among the visiting schools will be a Global Ambassador Team from Japan.

The public is welcome to attend any of the competition events, taking place in the Lory Student Center. The opening and closing ceremonies will be held in Moby Arena, and tickets are required.

Read a full schedule here.

“Colorado State University is delighted and honored to host some of the nation’s most talented young scientists and engineers at this year’s Science Olympiad National Tournament,” said Rick Miranda, CSU provost. “We welcome each and every one of these inspiring young people to our campus, and we hope they will be proud of their achievements – as they already should be. Best of luck to all of these amazing students!”

2000 students

The approximately 2,000 students from 120 middle and high schools were their states’ top performers at competitions held this year. Middle and high school students compete separately. School-based teams prepare and practice throughout the year, then compete in regional and state tournaments. Among the qualifying teams this year are two all-female teams, from Oregon and from Washington, D.C. Representing Colorado this year will be Preston Middle School and Fossil Ridge High School, who won their respective Colorado Science Olympiad state tournaments held at Cherry Creek High School April 21.

23 events

For the national tournament, the students – one team from each school – will compete in 23 separate events pertaining to various scientific disciplines, including Earth science, biology, chemistry, physics and engineering. The 23 events test students’ knowledge in anatomy, physics, astronomy and more. In the “Battery Buggy” event, the students are required to design and build a battery-power vehicle. In “Crime Busters,” students identify perpetrators of a “crime” by identifying substances like powders or hair. And in “Disease Detectives,” the students are quizzed on epidemiology and how diseases spread.

The national tournament is a launching pad for these students, many of whom go on to top universities, organizers say.

“These are the kids who are going to make the next round of major scientific discoveries,” said Steve Lovaas, president of the Colorado Science Olympiad and CSU’s Information Security Officer. “The more we can expose them to a breadth of disciplines and get them to work together in teams for a common goal, the better we can prepare them to be those agents of change.”

Opening Ceremony keynote

The two days of events will include a keynote address during the Opening Ceremony by Russ Schumacher, associate professor of atmospheric science and Colorado State Climatologist. Other events: a STEM expo in the Lory Student Center Ballroom on Friday, and lectures and workshops hosted by volunteer faculty, staff and students at CSU.

Science Olympiad is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve quality of science education, increase interest in science, attract more students to science careers, foster teamwork, emphasize the problem-solving aspects of science, and develop a technologically literate workforce. It has produced a generation of alumni who fill the hallways of top universities and corporations around the globe.

“Students have been working for months to perfect their designs, build prototypes, practice lab skills and test their knowledge in topics spanning every letter in STEM,” said Jenny Kopach, Science Olympiad executive director. “We can’t wait to see which teams come out on top at the 2018 Science Olympiad Tournament.”