Western, as part of the Department of Energy, promotes students interests in the science industry through the National Science Bowl. From Arizona and California to North and South Dakota, students and sponsors, including Western, participated in annual regional Science Bowl competitions vying for a seat at the national competition held every spring in Washington, D.C. Throughout Western’s regions, employees dedicated their time to serve as scientific judges, moderators, rule judges, scorekeepers and timekeepers at local Science Bowls. This is one way Western reaches out to local communities. As a result we witness the ultimate benefit of seeing these teenagers developing the skills to possible work in the energy industry.
The fast-paced Jeopardy-style competition challenged students’ knowledge of astronomy, biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, current events in the scientific community, computer, earth and general sciences.
Teams from across the nation who took home the first-place medal at their regional competitions received the all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national competition, April 29 through May 4.
“In additional to the national competition, students also participate in scientific activities, seminars and sightseeing,” said Bill Valdez, Director of the DOE Office of Science’s Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists, which administers the National Science Bowl®. “
Closing out the National Science Bowl’s® 20th year, one team within Western’s region held out to until the very end. Mira Loma High School, the 2009 National Science Bowl champions, made it to the final round and placed second to North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. Placing second is a victory in itself; with 68 high schools competing it’s quite an honor to make it to the final round. Mira Loma High School team members won Nspire calculators provided by Texas Instruments and Computer Based Laboratories/2 and brought back $1,000 for their school’s science program.
As the 2010 championship, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics team, received an all-expense paid science research trip to study the ecosystems of Belize in Central America.
From the six Western-sponsored regional science bowl competitions, the following high schools made it to the national competition last week:
- Arizona—BASIS Charter High School
- California—Mira Loma High School (2009 NSB champions and 2010 2nd place winners)
- Colorado—Poudre High School (placed in the top 16 National teams)
- Montana—C. M. Russell High School
- North Dakota—Red River High School
- South Dakota—Greater Sioux Falls Home School Association
All national participants received certificates and won small prizes for activities. The teams who advanced to the elimination round earned a monetary prize for their school. Top teams also received trophies and other awards, including science trips for the high school teams.
There was even a middle school competition that Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu and First Lady Michelle Obama attended as moderators. Secretary Chu said on the White House blog, “Today, First Lady Michelle Obama and I have the distinct pleasure of lending a hand at the National Science Bowl – an impressive display of the scientific talents of our young people. “