Science Olympiad looks to rebuild, make it to states


The Science Olympiad team stands with their medals and ribbons after the Perry Invitational on Jan. 12, 2019. Their goal this year is to make it states again this year. Photo courtesy of Tiffany Nikai '19.

Eva McCord '21, Supervising Editor at Large

Following the graduation of team founder Tiffany Nakai ’19 and the rest of the leadership team, the Science Olympiad team is looking at the 2019-2020 competition season as an opportunity for more planning, more team building, and more success.

“We made it all the way to the state competition last year, and I’m sure we can make it again,” team president Shannon Kerr ’20 said.  “We’re going to be focusing on learning from last year and using our experiences as first-year competitors to improve.”

According to Kerr, the team is currently entertaining the idea of attending more invitational meets; these meets do not count towards the team’s overall ranking, and can be used as opportunities to test the team’s knowledge and skills and familiarize themselves with the competitive scene.

“I feel like actually being in a competitive setting, with other teams around you and your partner beside you, is the best way to prepare for the actual competition,” Kerr said. “It can be a little stressful, but it’s definitely fun.”

At last year’s state competition, Kerr took home the 7th place medal in the Source Code event, a programming event aiming to challenge participants by having them read and write code to solve problems, according to Michigan State University, the host of last year’s state competition.

“Winning is definitely one of the fun parts,” Kerr said. “Being able to step on stage and see your team cheering for you makes you feel really proud of what you’re a part of.  This year, I’m sure we can place in more events.”

Team historian Peyton Lancaster ’21 echoed Kerr’s statements, optimistic that the team will do even better than last year.

“I’d honestly love to go to nationals,” Lancaster said. “The two highest scoring teams from the state competition attend, and it’d be amazing to get that far.”

Team adviser Shelly Rothenbuhler, biology teacher, is eager to assist the team for a second year and looks forward to having the team increase its membership and continue to have fun over winning competitions.

“I’d love to [see this year’s team] have enough members to be able to have an alternate team,” Rothenbuhler said. “It would really increase participation in the club and allow students to participate in a wide range of events.”

Overall, both Kerr and Rothenbuhler emphasized how the team’s main goal is to simply express their love for the sciences and learn.

“One of my favorite memories from last year was realizing we were moving on to the state competition,” Kerr said. “We were all so proud of the hard work we put into getting to that spot, and we felt like a big family.”

Podcast: Eva McCord ’21 talks with new Science Olympiad team president Shannon Kerr ’20 on team goals and the new start to the year.