Science Olympiad Keeps its Ion the Prize


Photo Courtesy of Erin Arredondo

Science Olympiad students celebrate after finishing all of their events.

Jordan Lee and Shawyan Rooein

Science Olympiad will advance to the state competition in April after placing fifth at its regional competition on Feb. 10. But trophies and medals aside, what goes on behind the scenes of this highly competitive science team?

Science Olympiad, often referred to as “scioly,” is a national science and engineering competition in which over 7,800 teams participate, according to Science Olympiad Inc. Students from across the country prepare for events in two categories: study and engineering events. Each of the two have many different subcategories ranging from ecology and anatomy testing to tower and hovercraft construction.

“I think that [Scioly] is a great opportunity for students who are really interested in science and engineering,” team adviser and science department chair Erin Arredondo said. “It’s another way for them to explore their passion and have a way to represent Portola with something they enjoy doing. It also allows students to learn the value of teamwork, because they do work in teams for their study event.”

Students may spend anywhere from to two-to-six hours a day studying and researching their respective events. Although many Scioly students play sports and participate in other extracurricular activities, some students agree that there is always time for science.

“If you enjoy something, it doesn’t feel like you’re super busy. It should be something that you enjoy doing and something that you can make time for,” sophomore, treasurer and secretary Kameran Mody said. “I honestly don’t have too much time for Science Olympiad, but I make time because I enjoy it.”

Not only does Science Olympiad allow students to learn and explore science-related fields, but it also opens up avenues for possible future careers.

“Science Olympiad has helped me find my passion for science and has helped me see what different jobs and studies there are and what they’re about,” Mody said. “It’s also taught me good teamwork skills and leadership skills.”

Science Olympiad allows students to create strong bonds with their teammates, who help push each other to do the best they can in competitions.

“I think Science Olympiad has allowed me to garner an insurmountable amount of knowledge in a lot of very specific detailed events, but ultimately the essence of Science Olympiad to me is being able to be with friends and have great experiences. Being able to see my peers who are new to Science Olympiad also undergo the same journey that I’ve gone through is really rewarding for me,” sophomore and co-captain Stephanie Zhang said. “Really, it’s a matter of taking my passion for Science Olympiad and being able to share that with the rest of the team, and be a part of the process to see other people grow.”