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U. of I. to host state finals of Science Olympiad April 26

4/21/2008

James E. Kloeppel, Physical Sciences Editor
217-244-1073; kloeppel@illinois.edu

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The state finals of the Illinois Science Olympiad will be held April 26 at the University of Illinois. The event, which begins at 8 a.m., is part of a national competition in which middle and high school students compete in 23 events involving science concepts and engineering skills. The public is invited to attend.

“About 1,100 of the top technical students from around the state are expected to participate in the event,” said Howard Guenther, associate vice chancellor for research at Illinois. “The day will be filled with academic competition and spiced with the spirit of an athletic event,” said Guenther, who is university liaison and site coordinator for the Olympiad.

Area schools that qualified for the competition are Franklin Middle School, St. Matthew Catholic School and Centennial High School, all in Champaign.

The Science Olympiad is devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by students and teachers.

The competition covers science and engineering disciplines from astronomy to zoology. Many of the activities will be hands-on, with student teams launching bottle rockets, flying homemade airplanes and building bridges. Other events will test the students’ knowledge in areas such as chemistry, forensics, genetics, health science, meteorology, mineralogy, physics and qualitative analysis.

Most of the tournament competition will take place in buildings near the Quad. A schedule of activities will be available in 161 Noyes Lab, 505 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana.

A science and engineering information fair will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. in Huff Hall, 1206 S. Fourth St., Champaign. Representatives from many U. of I. science departments and local student organizations will be available to talk with prospective college students.

U. of I. undergraduate students Madeline Keleher, from Wilmette, Ill., and Eric Rakoczy, from Media, Pa., will be featured speakers during the awards ceremony, which will begin at 5 p.m. in Huff Hall, 1206 S. Fourth St., Champaign. Keleher and Rakoczy were Gold Metal winners at the 2005 Science Olympiad National Tournament, which was held on the U. of I. campus.

Editor’s note: To reach Howard Guenther, call 217-333-0030; e-mail: hguenthe@illinois.edu.