Campus to host budding scientists and inventors

Hundreds of southern Colorado youths in grades 5-12 will compete at UCCS Saturday as part of a regional Science Olympiad tournament designed to spur interest in science, math and engineering fields.

In their quest for gold medals, students will compete in events that range from building devices that can trip four mousetraps in sequence to balsa wood bridge building and paper airplane contests. The 23 events will draw 75 teams from communities from throughout the area including Pueblo, Walsenburg, Alamosa, Colorado Springs and Monument.

Each team has 15 members as well as two to three coaches. Including parents and volunteers, more than 2,000 visitors are expected in the University Center, Gallogly Events Center, Science & Engineering and the Engineering Building.

“One of the neatest ones is called junkyard challenge,” Dave Khaliqi, director, Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education, said. “This is where students bring a box and inside the box is a device that has to trip four mouse traps in order.” ( Listen to Dave Khaliqi talk about one of the event at Science Olympiad. )

Volunteers from UCCS staff and faculty, the United States Air Force Academy and community members will be on campus by 6 a.m. Saturday with the competitions taking place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. An awards ceremony is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. with the top four teams earning medals and the top 10 teams earning the opportunity to compete in a statewide competition.

For a schedule of Saturday’s events visit

Science Olympiad is a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of K-12 science education, increasing male, female and minority interest in science, creating a technologically literate workforce and providing recognition for outstanding achievement by both students and teachers. These goals are achieved by participating in Science Olympiad tournaments and non-competitive events, incorporating Science Olympiad into classroom curriculum and attending teacher training institutes. For more information about Science Olympiad, visit

The Center for Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Education, part of the National Institute of Science, Space and Security Centers, aims to enhance the workforce of scientists and engineers through programs and activities that target elementary through college students and teachers. The center divides its activities into teacher professional development, student curriculum, teaching and learning research and development, and student success intervention.

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