Science Olympiad competes at YUSO

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The Townsend Harris Science Olympiad team competed at the Yale University Science Olympiad (YUSO) invitational on February 1, placing 5th overall out of 40 teams.

“I think they were pleasantly surprised by their performance,” said science teacher and mentor Katherine Cooper. 

Students were able to earn 5th place and above in a series of events including Astronomy, Designer Genes, Fossils, and more. According to biology teacher and mentor Sarah Loew, this was a significant improvement from previous competitions. She explained that the team’s rank is determined by calculating the sum of the team’s places in 24 different events.  A lower score indicates a higher rank, and the team’s score decreased dramatically from the 332 point total, for which they earned 12th place at last year’s YUSO invitational, to 193 points. 

“Our team’s performance at YUSO exceeded our expectations,” said sophomore Joanna Li. “It was very rewarding to see our hard work pay off.”

“YUSO was the first competition for a number of people on our team, which makes our 5th place ranking something to be proud of,” said junior Katie Sie.

Ms. Cooper explained that the team’s attendance largely contributed to their improvement from their earlier competition at the Long Island Science Olympiad (LISO) invitational. Many members were then unavailable to compete due to conflicting obligations such as the SAT. “It was much more like the teams that we [saw] competing at Regionals so that was part of the difference,” Ms. Cooper elaborated. “[They] had the actual partners that they’re used to working with and people were in the events that they expect[ed] to compete in and things like that really helped.”

Coming off a successful performance, the team aimed to continue their progress in their following regional competition.

“This competition reminded me to study harder and never stop aiming for improvement,” said Joanna.

“I think that they have been putting a lot of pressure on themselves,” said Ms. Cooper. “This performance at YUSO [gave] them a boost of confidence that hopefully [helped] them.”

Though the team members dedicate themselves to hours of studying, Katie acknowledged that the experiences they have with each other make their efforts worth it. “From YUSO I was reminded of my appreciation for the Science Olympiad community,” she said. “On the surface it seems like we enjoy reading textbooks and taking tests in our free time, but in reality, Science Olympiad is so much more. It is a community of like-minded people [with] a passion for science.”

Photo courtesy of Annie Lin.