Lone Star College-University Park welcomed more than 400 local middle and high school students for its third annual regional Science Olympiad competition this spring. The competition brought students from 12 high schools and 13 middle and junior high schools together for a daylong competition.
At least 50 faculty and staff members and 15-20 student volunteers managed the event, one of only nine such competitions in Texas that qualify teams for the state-level contest.
LSC-University Park President Shah Ardalan said the event is important for developing talent in science, math and related fields. “In just 18 months, we will open a new Center for Science and Innovation and we hope some of these bright young men and women become our future STEM students,” he said. “We are building our community’s college, not just a community college.”
In the high school division, A&M Consolidated High School (College Station ISD) took first place, Cypress Ranch High School (CyFair ISD) second place and Harmony School of Advancement (Houston) Team A third place. Others finishing in the top half of the competition were Tomball Memorial High School in fourth place, High School for the Performing Arts & Visual Arts (Houston) in fifth place and Cypress Creek High School (CyFair ISD) in sixth place.
In the middle school – junior high division, Seven Lakes Junior High (Katy ISD) Team A took top honors. Aragon Middle School (CyFair ISD) came in second, and Seven Lakes Junior High School - Team B claimed third place. Others finishing in the top half of the competition were Kingwood Middle School in fourth place, Creekwood Middle School (Humble ISD) Team A in fifth place and Hopper Middle School (CyFair ISD) in sixth place.
Regional coordinator Allen Margoitta, LSC-University Park's department chair for natural sciences, says interest in the competition is growing. "The beauty of Science Olympiad is it hits many areas of science, and interest in Science Olympiad is big in this region. We had more students compete this year than ever before.”
LSC-University Park hosted its first Science Olympiad in 2013 with only four middle schools and eight high schools participating.
"Each year we get a little bit bigger," he said. "We could have accepted one more school this year."
Teams represented schools in Tomball, Cy-Fair, Katy, Humble, Houston, Lamar Consolidated and College Station Independent School Districts as well as Harmony Public Schools and Second Baptist School.
Students tested their knowledge and skills in events such as Disease Detectives, Fossils, Meteorology, Reach for the Stars, Air Trajectory and Bridge Building.
"It exposes students to our College," Margoitta said. "They get a taste of science education from our adjunct and full-time faculty. We also use it as a tool to help expose local area students to our partner universities--they have tables that day."