Science Olympiad comes to UCCS

science-olympiadUCCS will host the Colorado Science Olympiad Southern Regional Tournament for middle and high school students from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 2.

More than 900 middle school and high school students from southern Colorado will compete in 46 events that range from building a vehicle powered by magnets to a CSI-style forensics exercise.

According to Kathleen Fitzpatrick, program manager, Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education, the events are all challenging and designed to excite students about science and build resilience.

“The events have a wide range this year and are all challenging,” Fitzpatrick said. “They’re designed to show students the relevance and practicality of science, as well as the importance of not giving up when faced with challenging project.”

More than 60 teams from communities throughout Colorado will participate. Communities represented include Rifle, Eagle, Bailey, Ouray, Swink, Pueblo, Alamosa, Colorado Springs, Monument and south Denver suburbs are currently scheduled to participate in Saturday’s events. Each team has 15 students and two to three teachers as coaches.

After all the events have been completed, the UCCS Physics Classic Rock and Roll Orchestra will perform while scores are tallied. Members of the band include Jim Burkhart, associate dean, College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; Zbginiew Celinski, professor, Physics; Bob Camley, professor, Physics; Tom Christensen, dean, College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; Sam Milazzo, senior instructor, Physics; Tom Stringer, lecturer, Physics; and Chip Benight, professor, Psychology.

Medals will be presented to the top three finishers in each event with trophies, plaques and ribbons to the top five teams. The winners will be eligible to proceed to state competition on April 20 at Colorado School of Mines and, potentially, for national competition.

UCCS has hosted the Southern Regional Science Olympiad for more than a decade.

Almost 200 individuals from the UCCS community, U.S. Air Force Academy and industry are volunteering their Saturdays to assist in the event.

“The UCCS community has really stepped up this year,” Fitzpatrick said. “We’ve been flooded with volunteers and we couldn’t make this happen without them.”

For a PDF 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 student 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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