Northeast Regional Science Olympiad held at Penn State Wilkes-Barre

The Nittany Lion and several other people, at right, toss items to a crowd of people in the bleachers at left.

Students celebrate at the closing ceremonies for the Northeast Regional Science Olympiad.

Credit: Penn State

DALLAS, Pa. — Penn State Wilkes-Barre hosted the Northeast Regional Science Olympiad on March 6, once again bringing hundreds of middle and high school students to the campus for the annual science competition.

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 compete in intramural, district, state and national tournaments as part of the event. Teams of 15 students are challenged by events in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields that include biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, engineering and inquiry. Students usually work in pairs building devices for testing at tournaments, studying for core knowledge challenges and preparing for rigorous hands-on lab experiments. The tournament challenges and activities help prepare participants to work as part of a team in a future STEM career.

“Science Olympiad helps ignite the spark of imagination and love of science in the next generation of STEM students,” said Tim Sichler, assistant teaching professor of electrical engineering at Penn State Wilkes-Barre and the Northeast regional director of Science Olympiad. “Penn State Wilkes-Barre hosts the event to support and give back to the local community by making this program accessible to as many students as possible. Our goal is to promote science and ensure the participants have a great time.”

About 750 students attended this year’s program and participated in the events, with categories designated for middle school or high school students. Events were held at locations across the campus and included Anatomy and Physiology, Crime Busters, Disease Detectives, Dynamic Planet, Experimental Design, Flight, Fossils, Geological Mapping, Meteorology, Microbe Mission, Reach for the Stars, Robot Tour, Roller Coaster and Wind Power.

The highest scoring teams from the local tournament have been invited to compete in the state tournament to be held April 27 at Penn State Altoona.

In the high school division, those teams were Athens Area High School black team, first place; North Pocono High School, red team, second place; Stroudsburg High School, third place; Lehighton Area High School, fourth place; Strath Haven High School, fifth place; Dallas High School, sixth place; Wyoming Area Secondary Center, seventh place; and Abington Heights High School, eighth place. In the middle school division, those teams were Harlan Rowe black team, first place; North Pocono black team, second place; Strath Haven, third place; Abington Heights Middle School, fourth place; Wayne Highlands, fifth place; and Wyalusing Valley Junior-Senior High School, sixth place.

The day concluded with an awards ceremony with Chris Bohinski, host of WBRE’s PA Live!, as master of ceremonies.