Science Olympiad is a national extracurricular for K-12 students that increases participation in the sciences through exciting competitions. Students compete in 23 different "events" that introduce them to specialized disciplines, e.g. "Disease Detectives" for epidemiology, "Fossils" to paleontology. My own participation in Science Olympiad, especially in the "Fossils" event, led me to pursue a career in paleontology. Because I would not have been substantively introduced to this field in regular middle and high school classes, I feel compelled to give back to the Science Olympiad community so that others might also be inspired to follow careers in STEM. I am particularly interested in bringing the Science Olympiad program to underserved communities. Here are the various initiatives I've started over the past years:
As part of the UChicago Science Olympiad initiative, in 2018 I co-founded "Science on the South Side," a project to develop an Elementary Science Olympiad program within the Chicago Public Schools. We are focusing on schools that primarily serve underrepresented minorities and will be bringing Science Olympiad programs to 5 schools over the 2019-2020 year. We were invited to present our project at the Clinton Global Initiative University conference in October 2018. At this conference, we won $4,000 in seed funding through the Resolution Project's Social Venture Challenge for the most promising initiatives. We have also secured a $14,000 grant through the Women's Board Grants Fund from UChicago and $2000 in funding through the Biological Sciences Division Dean's Council. For more information, check out our website!
I started a Science Olympiad chapter at the University of Chicago in 2016. Our goal is to increase scientific participation in the surrounding communities through the Science Olympiad program. I served as tournament director for our first invitational on January 20, 2018 which invited over 600 students from the region to the UChicago campus. Since then, I have been serving as an advisor and have mentored the undergraduate board and successive leaders. We have hosted 4 invitationals since the first, averaging around 800 attendees each time! We also volunteer at local, state, and national tournaments, and regularly host spring/fall workshops for the Chicago Public Schools teams. Visit our website!
During my senior year at Cornell, I co-founded the student organization "Science Olympiad at Cornell" and directed the first tournament there- the second independent alumni-run tournament in the country! We were able to share our passion for science with ~500 students. The invitational is still ongoing and the university served as the site for the 2019 Science Olympiad National Tournament thanks to the hard work of the current members there. Website here!
Additional Science Olympiad Service
Alumni Task Force: I was appointed co-chair of the Alumni Task Force in 2018, a national committee that works with the Executive Director of the national Science Olympiad organization to leverage alumni involvement across the country. I interviewed and selected a board of members for the task force and developed four initiatives that are currently underway: increasing alumni involvement in rules/test writing, increasing volunteerism at regional/state tournaments, developing alumni-run outreach workshops, and connecting alumni to local teams.
Fossils! I contributed to the annual modification of the event rules, which outline the information that students need to learn and the list of taxa that they need to identify. I might have happily agreed to add in more fossil fish.