UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) moves from high school to Penn State this weekend when a student club hosts the third annual Science Olympiad at Penn State University Park on January 14.
He Students of the Science Olympiad at the Penn State club (SOAPS) was founded in 2020 by a group of former participants in the Science Olympiad, a national competition for high school students that challenges teams to 23 STEM-related events spanning a wide range of disciplines. According to club president Zoe Goldblum, a junior studying immunology and infectious diseases, the goal of this invitation is to introduce students to STEM in a fun way as they prepare teams for national competitions.
He added that the multidisciplinary nature of the competition is reflected in the student club boardwhich has staff in the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, Eberly College of Science, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and College of Engineering.
“The Science Olympiad has given me and many other members of the club exposure to the fields of science and engineering that we are now specializing in,” Goldblum said. “It allows students from all backgrounds to learn about many different fields and think about a potential career. We wanted nothing more than to give the current competitors the same joy that we got from racing.”
Twenty-eight teams from 16 schools in four states will compete in events spanning disciplines ranging from astronomy to environmental chemistry to remote sensing. While many of the lab-related events are closed to the public, people are encouraged to attend the Bridge, Flight, Scrambler, and Trajectory events held in Alumni Hall at the HUB-Robeson Center, encouraging students students as they design and build gravity systems. powered vehicles, rubber band powered planes, and rubber band powered catapults.
“The construction events are incredibly exciting to watch,” said Arman Ahmad, a third-year biology major and SOAPS vice president. “In the Trajectory competition, the catapult launches a ping pong ball at specific targets, such as a sandbox or bucket. Students are given a target distance and height, at which they have to throw the ball as close as possible, and teams are scored based on how close they get to the target.”
The public is also encouraged to attend the awards ceremony, scheduled for 5 pm at 100 Thomas Building.
“Anyone interested in seeing teams earn medals for their successes during our event can sit back and watch!” Goldblum said.
More information about the invitation can be found in the SOAPS website.