Science Olympiad to Cover Everything from Anatomy to Food Science

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UC Riverside will host around 1,400 visitors from Riverside and San Bernardino counties for regional science competition on Feb. 22

By Sean Nealon on February 13, 2014

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Students building a rocket at Science Olympiad.

Students build a rocket at the Science Olympiad at UC Riverside in 2012.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — More than 1,000 students from 35 middle and high schools in Riverside and San Bernardino counties will converge at the University of California, Riverside on Saturday, Feb. 22 for the Inland Empire Regional Science Olympiad.

The competition will he held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the UC Riverside campus. It involves 48 science/engineering-themed “tournaments,” in which teams of students work on projects in fields including anatomy, meteorology, food science, water quality and robo-cross. Events will include everything from helicopters to mousetrap vehicles to sound of music.

“We are honored to host the Inland Empire Science Olympiad, now for the third time,” said Victor Rodgers, a professor of bioengineering and the faculty advisor for the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) at UC Riverside, which is hosting the event.

“The enthusiasm of the students helps all of us remember why we have pursued science and engineering careers, Rodgers said. “We look forward to the tremendous energy they will infuse in our campus on February 22.”

Students participate in the Science Olympiad at UC Riverside in 2012.

Students participate in the Science Olympiad at UC Riverside in 2012.

Nearly 50 teams of 15 students each will participate in each tournament at the competition. The students will come from school districts including: Temecula, Chaffey, Riverside, Corona/Norco, Rialto, Redlands, Hemet, Murrieta, Upland and Val Verde.

The student projects will be judged by UC Riverside faculty and local science teachers. Medals and trophies will be awarded for all tournaments. The four top winning teams will qualify to compete at the state-level competition April 5 at Canyon High School in Anaheim.

Among those speaking at the event are: Rusty Bailey, the mayor of Riverside; Kim Wilcox, chancellor of UC Riverside; James Sandoval, vice chancellor of student affairs, Marylynn Yates, dean of UC Riverside’s College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences; Reza Abbaschian, dean of UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering; and Jun Wang, director of student development and international initiatives, Bourns College of Engineering.

In addition to Rodgers, organizers of the event include: Prashanthi Vandrangi, a founding member of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) chapter, lecturer in the UC Riverside bioengineering department and a post-doctoral fellow in mechanical engineering, Candice Sanscartier, treasurer of SACNAS, and a first year graduate student in bioengineering along with her SACNAS team of John Clark and Tai Ngo, and John Gifford, president of the Riverside Unified School District. About 200 UC Riverside professors, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students have been planning, and will be volunteering at, the event. In addition, many departments such as bioengineering, chemistry, entomology, physics, and geological sciences are taking part in the events.

This year, many events are being judged and coordinated by student organizations on campus including the Biomedical Engineering Society, National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Association for Women in Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, American Chemical Society, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Society of Automotive Engineers, Engineers Without Borders, Association for Computing Machinery, Theta Tau, and Materials Research Society.

Additionally, the UC Riverside Science Olympiad Mini-Festival will be hosted at the Bell Tower. Guests will be provided with brochures for self-guided UC Riverside campus tours, which will be followed by trivia questions. At the mini-festival, there will be an exhibit of undergraduate projects by engineering students, and tents manned by Associated Students Program Board to show the fun college students have and by undergraduate admissions at UC Riverside to educate families and high school and middle school students on college. Other activities include a UCR photo booth, rock climbing, and carnival games.

Sponsors of the event include: The Office of Chancellor at UC Riverside, the Bourns College of Engineering, Associated Students of UCR and the Inland Area Science Teachers Association.

Parking will be available in lot 24 and there is a fee of $2. School buses can park for free in lot 26.

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