Indiana University to host Science Olympiad State Tournament

  • March 9, 2016


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Nearly 1,800 middle and high school students from 72 schools across Indiana will compete at Indiana University on March 19 for the chance to participate in the National Science Olympiad Tournament.

For over 25 years, IU has partnered with Science Olympiad to host regional, state and national tournaments. This year's Science Olympiad State Tournament will take place from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. in 14 locations across the IU Bloomington campus. A private awards ceremony is also scheduled at 6:30 p.m. in the IU Auditorium.

"We expect this year's event will be filled with great enthusiasm and fierce competition," said Tina Gilliland, director of Science Olympiad State Tournament and outreach liaison for the Office of Science Outreach in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences. "We've got activities in many areas of science, including astronomy, atmospheric sciences, biology, chemistry, computer science, earth science, engineering, geology and physics."

Olympic-style medals will be awarded for first to fifth place in 54 total science competitions.

Activities include constructing lightweight bridges with the highest structural efficiency; solving a mock crime with paper chromatography and by analyzing unknown solids, liquids and plastics; designing and programming an original computer game; and demonstrating knowledge of anatomy and physiology, geological oceanography, and invasive species. A number of the activities will be open to the public as spectator events.

"Science Olympiad was one of the main factors in my decision to pursue a career in science," said Sofia Bertoloni Meli, an IU Bloomington senior attending medical school in the fall who participated the state and national Science Olympiad in middle and high school. "It's inspiring because you can pick a topic you’re truly passionate about and immerse yourself in it. It also helped me become more curious and build a positive attitude about learning. Many of my closest friends were made through the event."

All activities at the Science Olympiad State Tournament are coordinated and judged by IU faculty, research scientists, students and staff, along with scientists, engineers and volunteers from across Indiana.

"This event is a spectacular opportunity to get young people excited about science at a crucial stage in their education," said Matt Shepherd, associate professor in the Department of Physics, who will run an activity on wind power. "I always look forward to seeing what sort of ingenious solutions they develop in response to the various challenges they’re presented every year."

In addition to Shepherd, IU faculty or staff leading activities are Charles Dann III, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry; John Frye, technician in the Department of Physics; Cody Kirkpatrick, lecturer in the Department of Geological Sciences; James Sluka, research scientist in the Department of Physics; Paul Staten, assistant professor in the Department of Geological Sciences; and Linda Wozniewski, lecturer in chemistry and physics at IU Northwest.

Others volunteers, including several IU alumni, are members of ArcelorMittal, Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center, Eli Lilly, Purdue University, Purdue Calumet, Ivy Tech Bloomington, Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 650, Indiana Geological Survey, Valparaiso University and the Bloomington community.

Students participating in the tournament, along with their coaches and parents, will travel to Bloomington from across the state from cities such as Indianapolis, Carmel, Fort Wayne, North Manchester, Peru, Gas City and West Lafayette.

The winning teams will travel May 20 to 22 to Wisconsin to compete in 2016 National Science Olympiad Tournament at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Science Olympiad is an international nonprofit organization devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by both students and teachers.

Students at Science Olympiad

An Indiana high school student looks through a microscope at a Science Olympiad State Tournament hosted at IU. | Photo by Indiana University

Print-Quality Photo

Students at Science Olympiad

A group of students compete in a challenge at the Science Olympiad State Tournament. | Photo by Indiana University

Print-Quality Photo

Media Contacts

Tina Gilliland

  • IU Office of Science Outreach
  • Office 812-855-5397

Kevin Fryling

  • IU Communications
  • Office 812-856-2988