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Southern Miss Hosting Junior and Senior High School Science Olympiad PDF Print E-mail
Friday, March 26, 2010
Contact Beth Taylor, 601.266.5170   

The Vancouver Winter Olympics can’t hold a test tube or rocket to the Mississippi Science Olympiad scheduled for today and Saturday, March 27 at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Students will compete by grade levels with one group for junior high students and another for senior high school students. Among the nearly 50 events are activities which utilize all the STEM categories – science, technology, engineering and math. More than 150 faculty, students and volunteers will oversee 25 teams of students from across Mississippi as each use and display their knowledge of science in pursuit of gold, silver and bronze medals as well as a trip to the national Science Olympiad.

“It’s amazing what these junior high and senior high students can do,” said Dr. Sheila Hendry, director, Mississippi Science Olympiad. “Besides the ‘fun factor,’ this event gives students a chance to take what their teachers present in class and combine it with what they learn on their own.”

There are many building events in the competition including the “Elevated Bridge” where students design and construct a bridge then test for its strength and stability, “Wright Stuff” where students build and launch model airplanes and the “Egg-o-Naut” where an egg is rocketed into the sky then parachuted back to the ground where it is expected to land without breaking. Other competition categories involve lab work such as mock crime forensics, technical writing assignments, environmental chemistry and astronomy where teams identify deep sky objects and solve astronomy problems.

“Science Olympiad is a great vehicle to expose secondary school students to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to demonstrate the relevance of STEM areas to everyday life,” said Dr. Joe Whitehead Jr., dean of the College of Science and Technology.

“We support competitions such as the Science Olympiad because they are launching pads for the scientists and engineers of tomorrow.  Bringing these students to campus allows us to showcase Southern Miss and our STEM programs and help meet the national need for future scientists and engineers,” he added.

The knowledge games begin at 8:30 a.m. today in a variety of campus venues, including the R.C. Cook University Union, Walker Science Building, Bobby Chain Technology Building, Mississippi Hall, Johnson Science Tower, Pride Field, and Reed Green Coliseum. Events held in the Union lobby, Pride Field and Coliseum are open to spectators.

The first place overall winners in each division will move on to the national Science Olympiad, May 20-22 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities.  In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world.  Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu
   
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