SciOly places at Yale against national teams

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On January 18, the Science Olympiad team traveled to New Haven, Connecticut to compete at the Yale Invitational. At the invitational, the team placed 9th out of 47 schools, receiving 1st in both Forensics and Experimental Design, and was ranked 12th and 13th as a team. Because they competed against several nationally ranked teams, rendering this Invitational more difficult than previous ones, the team was surprised with their performance and felt that it gave them much needed encouragement.

At Science Olympiad competitions, groups of students complete activities at stations specializing in different scientific categories, ranging from Astronomy to Entomology. Weeks before, students must study the topic they choose in order to apply their knowledge later on.

In Forensics, which senior Nimrod Gozum described as “one of the most stressful and action-packed events,” with a team of two required to identify unknown powders, fibers, and inks through different tests, answer forensics questions, and then solve the crime.

“One person identifies the powders and solves the crime scene, while the other, my part, identifies fibers, chromatography, and answers all the general forensics questions,” Nimrod explained.

Because Nimrod and junior Shirley Lin had been disappointed with their performances at previous invitationals, they were surprised that they came in first, and described the win as a “well-needed boost.”

“At Yale, we would be facing off against national teams,” said Nimrod. “In the previous invitational, there were no national teams present. Winning first was a complete shocker. What made it even more of a surprise was that apparently the 2nd place team for Forensics wasn’t even close to us in terms of points.”

Nimrod, junior Jan Pazhayampallil, and senior Kyle Su also placed first in Experimental Design, in which they were given a box of supplies and a prompt. They then had to write a procedure for, design, and conduct a lab involving those materials.

“My journey with Forensics started last year when I volunteered for the topic that nobody else volunteered for,” said Shirley. “I had no idea what Forensics was but read a review book and studied for the regional competition. The topic ended being something I enjoyed studying rather than a burden, and my partner and I were able to medal third at Regionals last year.”

Meanwhile, juniors Elizabeth Ha and Amanda Yan also placed 4th in Forensics.

“It was a real shock. We didn’t believe that we had done all that well, but turns out we underestimated ourselves,” said Elizabeth.

The team also placed 3rd in Geologic Mapping and 6th in Material Science.

SciOly members feel that the Yale Invitational was a good stepping stone for future events, such as the upcoming Regional and State competitions. They have high hopes for the future.

“I feel like we have a great chance at improving what we need to. Everyone worked hard and our hard work shined through,” said Elizabeth, “Next goal? First, second and third at regionals.”