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Louisiana Christian hosts National Science Olympiad state finals

by Minden Press-Herald

Louisiana Christian University hosted the Louisiana Science Olympiad state finals on Saturday, April 13, with middle and high school students from 16 schools across the state competing for a chance to represent Louisiana at the national finals in May.

More than 200 students competed in the event.

This is the first time LCU has hosted the event. Dr. Theodore Chiasson, associate professor of Computer Science, currently serves as state director of the National Science Olympiad for Louisiana.  

“Hosting the Science Olympiad serves as a community outreach activity to encourage students and teachers across Louisiana to engage in exciting scientific endeavors, and also allows LCU to showcase their excellent STEM pre-professional degree pathways and stellar science faculty to the top science teachers and students in the state,” Chiasson said.

The competition has two divisions: Division B (grades 6 – 9) and Division C (grades 9 – 12). 

Each division has 23 events, with teams of two or three students from each school competing in the individual events. Event challenges range from hands-on activities with equipment that the students pre-build and bring to the Olympiad, to laboratory experiments, to written exams. 

“The competitions cover many areas of STEM, from robotics to chemistry to optics to ecology to aerodynamics to plate tectonics – if it’s science, it’s part of the Science Olympiad,” Chiasson said.

There were 46 separate competitions, each with first/second/third place finishes, and those competitions contributed to the school’s ranking to determine the winners. The two teams that are eligible to compete at the National Robot Olympiad finals in Michigan in May are the first-place finishers in each division.

Division C (grades 9 – 12) winning schools:

First place: Baton Rouge Magnet School

Second place: St. Martin’s Episcopal School

Third place: The Willow School

The Division B (grades 6 – 9) winning schools:

First place: Glasgow Middle School

Second place: St. John Berchmans Catholic School

Third place: St. Paul’s Episcopal School

The National Science Olympiad is a national competition with participation in all 50 states. The competition is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year with the University of Michigan hosting the national finals in May. 

“The Science Olympiad is a valuable tool for motivating students to hone their knowledge in STEM fields,” said Dr. Sarah Payne, professor of chemistry. “Participating in the State Science Olympiad was a priceless experience for myself and my students. I am grateful to all the schools that trusted us to host the State Science Olympiad Competition, Dr. Chiasson, Dr. Blazek, the C. S. Lewis Honors students and our upper-level STEM students for their many hours of hard work that made our first State Science Olympiad a success.” 

For more information about LCU’s offerings in natural sciences visit our website or contact Dr. David Elliott, chair of the Department of Natural Sciences, at [email protected]

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