Stage set for May 19-21 Science Olympiad National Tournament

By University Communications
May 13, 2016
Forrest Schultz, a UW-Stout professor, is director of the Science Olympiad National Tournament.

Photo: Forrest Schultz, a UW-Stout professor,
is director of the Science Olympiad National Tournament.

 University of Wisconsin-Stout is ready to host the largest science competition in the country and one of the biggest events in the university’s and Menomonie’s history: the 32nd annual Science Olympiad National Tournament.

About 3,000 high school and middle school competitors, along with about 2,000 spectators, parents, coaches, officials and special guests from 49 states will converge on the city beginning Wednesday, May 18. A Science Olympiad Global Ambassador Team from Japan also will attend. Nearly $900,000 in prizes and scholarships will be awarded.

After an expo and pretournament events Thursday and Friday, May 19-20, the competition to determine the national champions in team and individual categories will be held Saturday, May 21. An awards ceremony is from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Johnson Fieldhouse.

Competition events include Electric Vehicle, Mission Possible, Geologic Mapping, Robot Arm, Crime Busters, Air Trajectory, Green Generation, Bottle Rocket and Wright Stuff. Topics covered includerobotics, physics, epidemiology, astronomy, chemistry, meteorology, coding and engineering.

“Sponsors, volunteers and participants have come together to make sure this event remains the finest national tournament of its kind,” said Forrest Schultz, the tournament director and a professor of chemistry at UW-Stout. “This remarkable program gives students the opportunity to compete in events that not only require academic knowledge and skills but also teach commitment, honor and fair play, all while be challenged in applications-based STEM events.”

All events are free and open to the public.

UW-Stout's Jarvis Hall Science WingChancellor Bob Meyer, who will speak at the opening ceremony Friday night, said UW-Stout is excited to host the competition and welcomed the competitors.

“We’d like to welcome you to Wisconsin and to UW-Stout, Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University. As we celebrate the 125th anniversary of our school, we are thrilled and honored to host the 2016 Science Olympiad National Tournament,” Meyer said. “We hope that you and your families and friends have a truly memorable experience on campus and while in beautiful west-central Wisconsin. Congratulations to all the national qualifiers, and we wish you the best of luck.”

Teams qualified for the tournament by winning state-level competitions. The defending high school champion is Troy High School of Fullerton, Calif.; the middle school champion is Solon Middle School from Solon, Ohio. Representing Wisconsin in the high school division will be the hometown team, Menomonie, winner of the state competition also at UW-Stout in April, and Hamilton Middle School from Madison.

The national event, which has been in the planning stages for two years, will feature approximately 300 volunteers, including about 150 UW-Stout students, faculty and staff.

“In our 32nd year of Science Olympiad National Tournaments, we have seen many great achievements by the competitors during the tournament experience and beyond as they now become the STEM leaders in our nation. The wonderful collaboration of people involved make for an incomparable setting of fun, friendship and memorable moments,” Schultz said.

“I am proud of all the Science Olympiad competitors and coaches, and together we will change the world of science and engineering. Please enjoy your time here at the University of Wisconsin-Stout for the 2016 Science Olympiad National Tournament,” Schultz added.

Troy High School celebrates its 2015 national title.

Expo, tours and more

The festivities kick off on campus Thursday and Friday, May 19-20, with an expo. Lab tours, science demonstrations and more will be held across campus. Interactive displays from 3M, Xcel, Stratasys and Mayo Clinic will be highlighted.

Attendees can tour the 3M plant in Menomonie, milk a cow at a local dairy farm and learn how to make deep-fried cheese curds.

On Thursday night, singer and musician Madilyn Bailey, who competed in Science Olympiad when she attended nearby Boyceville High School, will perform at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts. Bailey tours and performs nationally.

Opening ceremony speakers on Friday also include Gerard Putz, president and co-founder of Science Olympiad; Hannah Herbst, winner of the 2015 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge and a Science Olympiad team member; Teresa Mogensen of Xcel Energy; and Mike Randall of UW-Madison, who will give the talk Physics of Plasma.

Randall is senior outreach coordinator of the Wonder of Physics program at UW-Madison. The talk will include fast-paced demonstrations of plasma devices, including the science behind the aurora borealis, the tournament brand.

Students from Muscatel Middle School compete in 2015.A team picnic will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, followed by an opening ceremony from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Johnson Fieldhouse.

A focal point on campus for the event will be the Aurora Stage, on the lawn south of the Memorial Student Center. It will feature a performing stage with live music and a large tent with science talks and demonstrations. UW-Stout Professor Alan Scott, physics, will present An Interactive Celebration of Space Movies.

Major local sponsors of the event are 3M, Xcel Energy and UW-Stout, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary.

Prizes, scholarships

A total of $886,000 in scholarships and prizes will be offered from national sponsors such as ArcelorMittal, DuPont and DuPont Pioneer, Lockheed Martin, Ace Hardware, Ward’s Science, Orkin, Centers for Disease Control, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Society for Neuroscience, and Academy of Model Aeronautics.

UW-Stout will award a one-time $1,000 UW-Stout Polytechnic Scholarship to individual gold medal winners in the middle school and high school divisions. The 15 members of the first place teams in both divisions will receive a $3,000 UW-Stout Chancellor’s Scholarship, renewable for $1,500 for a second year, pending eligibility.

Ace Hardware will have a video booth and conduct auditions from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, May 20, for the Next Ace Hardware Science Star, hosted by Steve Jacobs of “Mythbusters.” The winner will receive a trip to Chicago to film a “Hardware Science” segment, and the top five students will win cash and prizes.

Science Olympiad, based in Chicago, was founded in 1984. It has more than 225,000 students on 7,600 teams across the country.

UW-Stout, Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, has 9,535 students in 48 undergraduate majors and 23 graduate majors, including one doctoral degree. UW-Stout, established in 1891, prides itself on the success of its students in the workplace, with a graduate employment rate at or above 97 percent for recent graduates. The university was awarded the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality award in 2001.



Second Photo: Jarvis Hall at UW-Stout will be one of the competition venues for the tournament.

Third Photo: Troy High School of Fullerton, Calif., celebrates its win in the 2015 national tournament. Photo by Bob Buckley

Bottom Phot: Two students from Muscatel Middle School of Rosemead, Calif., compete in the 2015 national tournament. Photo by Bob Buckley