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2020 Science Olympiad stimulates talented students with an assortment of competitions

By: Sergio Valdes Last Updated: February 13, 2020

Cultivating our future leaders is something we should all strive for. As our future leaders, they will be carrying our legacy forward and propelling it to new heights.

This was the idea conveyed at the 2020 Science Olympiad Regional held at Purdue University Northwest’s Hammond campus. Hosted by PNW’s Honors College and guided by various skilled ArcelorMittal employees, PNW faculty members, and PNW student volunteers, 33 teams of middle and high school students from schools all over Northwest Indiana came to participate in science, technology, and engineering competitions.

“It is a great opportunity for students in this region to show off their skills and knowledge at Purdue Northwest,” said Vanessa Quinn, Ph.D., PNW Science Olympiad Regional Tournament Director, Professor of Biology and Associate Dean of the Honors College. “For some students, this will be the first time they've stepped onto a college campus and we want this to be a great introduction to the amazing people who work and learn here.”

2020 Science Olympiad

2020 Science Olympiad 27 Photos
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“The Regional is a really fun way to stimulate the students’ way of thinking,” said Amanda Szentesy, Chemist at ArcelorMittal. “It also brings together the community as a whole in order to get something like this to happen.”

Tracy Brough, Division Manager of Shops at ArcelorMittal said, “this event brings students from multiple school systems together and allows them to compete within a university setting.” 

Science Olympiad events ranged from using physics to propel model rockets to measuring the accuracy in model cars going down customized ramps. It uses a point-based system, and the number of points achieved rests on how well the students follow directions and work together in terms of problem solving and mechanics.

“It’s amazing to watch these events, to see what the students have accomplished, and how excited they are about the science and engineering that goes into the event,” said Adam Rengstorf, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy, who helped organize the Physics and Engineering events and ran the Machines event. “Some of these teams have been preparing since September, practicing four or five days a week and putting in as much time and effort as any varsity sports team.”

Bringing together these students to participate in these activities is monumental in their growth and encourages them to get further involved in the STEM fields.

“It’s so important that science and math is encouraged for America’s youth and today is a good example of that idea,” said Jerry Yothment, Head of IT at ArcelorMittal. “This event is a pipeline for these students into future roles as engineers and scientists.”

Overall, it was an important and educational day filled with cherished victories and fun times. There is no doubt that this will be a memorable experience for all students who participated.

“It’s exciting to see what these young adults have spent so much time creating and what they are capable of,” said Kathy Modrzejewski, Project Engineer at ArcelorMittal.

For more information on PNW, visit the university's website at https://www.pnw.edu/

For more information on ArcelorMittal, visit their website https://usa.arcelormittal.com/