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Science Olympiad returns to PNW

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The 28th regional Science Olympiad tournament will take place at the Hammond campus on Feb. 10. The competition promotes hands-on education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Kenneth Holford, dean of the College of Engineering and Sciences, said the college has been a long-time supporter of the competition.

“The Olympiad blends all the best aspects of scientific education and discovery, including application of knowledge, teamwork and completion,” Holford said.

Holford said it is important for students to advance in STEM principles, since they are integrated in everyday life. He hopes that through Science Olympiad, people will understand that STEM advances are important in the global society and that STEM fields are not invisible or inaccessible to people.

“Most people have a general idea of what a firefighter or physician does at an early age, but fewer are aware of what a research scientist or engineer does every day,” Holford said. “Events like the Olympiad engage young students in real applications of science, make it accessible and fun and hopefully spark an interest in life-long scientific learning.”

More than 20 student teams will be competing in the tournament from middle schools and high schools in Northwest Indiana. They will compete for trophies, medals, and to have a spot at the final championship in March.

“The competitive aspect pushes every individual or team to do their best in each challenge, but there is always healthy respect and admiration for the other contestants,” Holford said. “Participants watch and learn from each other, and they return the next year with even better ideas. In that respect, the Olympiad is a parallel to the scientific community.”

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