Club Spotlight: Science Olympiad


Pim Noparat, Staff Writer

Students sharpen their knowledge and put their skills to the test in Science Olympiad, an academic club where members study, research, and experiment. They then test their knowledge in a competition.

Every year, Science Olympiad prepares a varsity and junior-varsity team to compete at a regional competition in 23 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math-related events (or STEM for short), which are divided into test, build, and lab events. The top seven teams advance to the state level at Johns Hopkins University, where one team then moves on to nationals. The winners receive prizes and scholarships for their work.

“The goal is to broaden the students’ experience in STEM,” said club advisor Aarti Sangwan. “We want to give them exposure to it so that they can be prepared to enter those careers, or students who maybe didn’t have an interest in science before are now passionate about it.”

Students develop skills that prepare them for both the workplace and everyday life like time management and organization. During meetings, they have the freedom to work at their own pace as they prepare.

Some events require studying and researching like Anatomy and Physiology. Others have students build their own contraptions that they test during the competition, like Ping Pong Parachute, an event where they design bottle rockets to launch a ping-pong ball in the air. Beyond academics, communication and teamwork are also a crucial part of Science Olympiads. Teammates must cooperate with each other in order to be successful. They learn to talk to different kinds of people who are all joined by a shared interest in science.

Many students join to polish their college resume, but leave after deciding the content is too difficult. Despite this, team captains Aryavir Sangwan and Rina Dirickson, both juniors, say that all you need is determination, hard work, and a genuine interest in science.

“Very few people have a natural aptitude for science,” said Sangwan, who wants to work in the chemistry field.  “It’s gained through years of experience and exposure. So many people don’t join because they think it’s too hard, so we’re trying to break down this barrier that it’s something intimidating or impossible.”

“It takes time to learn. You have to be willing to put in the work. If you’re not going to work, your results won’t show,” said Dirickson, who’s currently pursuing a career in neuroscience. “It is a lot of work, but ultimately rewarding when you go to compete and see your results. You have to love science to do this.”

Science Olympiad meets every Tuesday in the cafeteria, and will compete at regionals in March at Mount Hebron High School Ellicott City.