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Increasing Science Awareness and Application Among National Youth

The 24th annual Science Olympiad National Tournament empowers young minds to engage in scientific exploration and seeks to improve the quality of K-12 science education. One hundred twenty teams comprising nearly 2,000 middle and high school students from 46 states will compete in a series of events focused in the subjects of biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, and technology. The tournament, May 30-31, 2008, will be held at The George Washington University and is sponsored by GW and DuPont.

“The National Science Olympiad engages young minds and empowers students to test scientific theories and develop creative approaches to problem solving,” said GW President Steven Knapp. “We are pleased to host this prestigious national tournament and welcome the participants and coaches to our university.”

“For nearly 25 years Science Olympiad has led a revolution in science, technology, engineering, and math education,” said Gerard Putz, president of the National Science Olympiad. “We are honored to bring the Science Olympiad National Tournament to The George Washington University and our nation’s capital. Our goals are to increase student participation in science and science careers and continue to raise academic competition to the same level of recognition and praise normally reserved for athletic competitions in this country.”

“The mission of the Science Olympiad is to promote student interest in science and to improve the quality of K-12 science education throughout the nation,” said Uma Chowdhry, DuPont senior vice president and chief science and technology officer. “DuPont is a science company that embraces that mission and shares a vision with the Science Olympiad organization, to create a passion for learning science by supporting elementary and secondary schools at all levels, with an emphasis on teamwork and commitment to excellence. We have actively supported science education since our founding in 1802.”

The Science Olympiad National Tournament events, which students prepare for during the year, are aligned with the National Science Standards and require knowledge of science concepts, process skills, and science applications. Students earned the opportunity to compete in the National Tournament by winning top honors at their state competitions.

Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, will deliver the keynote address during the tournament’s opening ceremony, which will begin at 6 p.m., Friday, May 30, in GW’s Charles E. Smith Center, 600 22nd St., NW. Competitions in nearly 60 events will take place on the university’s Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses from 8 a.m. – 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, May 31. An awards ceremony will be held from 7:30-10 p.m. Saturday in the Smith Center.

Carson’s career highlights include the first separation of craniopagus (Siamese) twins joined at the back of the head in 1987, the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins in 1997 in South Africa, and the first successful placement of an intrauterine shunt for a hydrocephalic twin. He was named by CNN and TIME Magazine as one of the nation’s 20 foremost physicians and scientists in 2001. That same year, he was selected by the Library of Congress as one of 89 “Living Legends” on the occasion of its 200th anniversary. He also is the recipient of the 2006 Spingarn Medal, which is the highest honor bestowed by the NAACP. Dr. Carson is president and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund, which recognizes young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments. He also co-founded Angels of the OR (operating room), which provides grants to assist families with non-covered medical care expenses involving both adult and pediatric neurosurgery.

Those not affiliated with a specific Science Olympiad team are welcome to observe selected National Tournament events. The competitive events schedule found at notes which events are open for visitors to view; for those events, no tickets or other advance arrangements are required. All other events on the competitive events schedule are open only to registered competitors in that event and tournament officials.

The Opening and Awards Ceremonies are ticketed events, and due to the overwhelming interest we have experienced from the participating teams, it is not anticipated that we will have extra tickets available for those not directly affiliated with the teams. However, both ceremonies will be Web cast, with the link to the Web cast available at

The Science Olympiad is an international, non-profit organization devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science, and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by both students and teachers. These goals are accomplished through classroom activities, research, training workshops, and the encouragement of intramural, district, regional, state and national tournaments.

Located four blocks from the White House, The George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the nation’s capital. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business, and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 130 countries.

For more information on Science Olympiad at GW, visit

Michelle Sherrard | newswise
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