Several hundred high school students from around Western New York descended on Buffalo State College last Saturday to participate in the New York State Science Olympiad Lake Erie Niagara Region-Division C competition.
Students participated in a variety of activities throughout the day, including flying model airplanes, studying fossils, measuring how fast model cars traveled down an incline, and launching plastic-bottle rockets that deployed ping-pong ball parachutes.
Events took place in a variety of buildings on campus.
Overall, about 550 students participated in the event, made up of 37 teams from 27 schools, said Elisa Bergslien, associate professor of earth sciences and science education. Bergslien is also the campus coordinator of the event, which included high schools from Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Niagara, and Wyoming counties.
Five winning schools will now go on to the state Science Olympiad in March at Le Moyne College in Syracuse. St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute took first place overall, followed by Williamsville North High School, Williamsville East High School, Lewiston-Porter High School, and Kenmore West High School.
The event was a success, Bergslien said, as it drew more participants than in previous years.
“The event went really well,” she said. “The feedback we’ve had is that the students had a really good time.”
The Science Olympiad is a great opportunity for Buffalo State to show area high school students what the college has to offer, Bergslien said.
“It’s great public outreach,” she said. “It gets people in to see what’s valuable at our institution.”
Madeline Ferro, a senior at Hamburg High School, participated in the fossils, designer genes, and water quality events on Saturday. She enjoyed being able to compete against other high school students who are as involved in science as she is.
“It’s always positive, and when I talk to other students, they are always super nice and supportive,” she said.
Ferro said she encourages other students to take part in the olympiad.
“It’s always a lot of fun, and I always learn new things,” she said. “I also met some students my age that have become my friends. It’s just an overall really good thing to do if you’re into science and like competing.”
As for being on campus, Ferro said she was impressed with what she saw during her competitions.
“I really like Buffalo State,” she said. “The Science and Math Complex is really nice as well as the other buildings I was in. The Science and Math Complex is just a really cool design the way it is inside. I think it’s always good going here because the competitors get a feel for a college environment.”
Photo by Jeremy Jindra, Photography Student Assistant