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News for the Carlsbad High School Community

The Lancer Link

News for the Carlsbad High School Community

The Lancer Link

News for the Carlsbad High School Community

The Lancer Link

Science Olympiad shapes the future of STEM education

From left to right; graduate Cate Maynard and sophomores Anna Maynard and Lily O’Neill represent Science Olympiad for the Carlsbad Educational Foundation.

Science Olympiad brings together young minds from many backgrounds and challenges them to collaborate on projects. They learn STEM principles and participate in competitions throughout the year. The club’s goal is to educate the next generation of engineers and scientists.

Science Olympiad gives students many opportunities to grow in the topic of STEM. The club increases in popularity every year.

“Science Olympiad is a national competition, and each middle school and high school has clubs currently; they are actually building into elementary schools,” Science Olympiad advisor Jack Packer said. “The main idea is for students to participate in higher level thinking within science, engineering and math topics.”

Running the club takes a lot of work and contribution from the community. Packer illustrates the principles of what students should learn during their time in the Science Olympiad.

“The main thing is actually for them to learn how to collaborate, so we partner with Viasat, and we have Viasat employees and parent volunteers that are the coaches for each event,” Packer said. “Science, math and engineering are secondary to that. So it’s really those college life skills of learning to collaborate, problem [solve] and network [are] the main thing.” 

Packer contributes his time by helping students with their work and making sure everyone gets the most out of it. Packer has been a big leader in this club for years, but the president, senior Varun Venkatesh, has equally contributed to the building of Science Olympiad this year.

“Luckily, the Science Olympiad is filled with some of the most intelligent people I know, so I don’t have to do much to help the team prepare,” Venkatesh said. “Usually, I work with Yousha, my fellow president, and Mr. Packer, our fantastic advisor and coach, on more of the backend part of the program.”

Venkatesh has faced some personal challenges while being president. He explains his challenges throughout his presidency and how he has worked through them.

“The biggest challenge I’ve come across while being president is not being able to compete due to scheduling conflicts [as] the Science Olympiad has conflicted with Speech and Debate state qualifiers for the last 3 years,” Venkatesh said. “Luckily, that changes this year, and I look forward to competing at regionals with the rest of the team, and hopefully, bringing home some hardware.”

Venkatesh has a lot of commitments, but he prioritizes Science Olympiad as much as possible. Sophomore Lily O’Neil, the Science Olympiad Treasurer, explains more about the club and how they train throughout competition season.

“To train for our competition day, each student attends meetings for their specific event,” O’Neil said. “For example, my Anatomy and Physiology class meets every Friday from 5 to 6:30. During that time, a volunteer mentor [usually a parent or a Viasat employee] will provide instruction. These practices continue for around 12 weeks until we have our competition.” 

The club doesn’t require that much commitment beyond the weekly practices. When joining, the club is very lenient about the schedule of each student.

“Science Olympiad can be as much of a time commitment as you want it to be,” O’Neil said. “This year I’ll be taking two events to prepare for the competition, so I don’t have too much work. However, it’s up to each individual student how much work they do based on how many events they need to prepare for.”

There are many components put into the running of this club, and as a result, many members commit their time to it. Signing up for Science Olympiad is not a complicated process.

“Any student can come to this classroom and let me know, [or] there is a Google Classroom,” Packer said. “We also have a president and vice president who are very active on the campus and you can talk to Varun Venkatesh or Yousha Hashmi if they want to talk to a student about it or they can talk to me in Room 3110.”

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About the Contributor
Arianna Seltser
Arianna Seltser, Reporter
Arianna Seltser is a junior and it's her first year participating on The Lancer Link. In her free time, she is part of the Carlsbad High School cheer team and is so excited to be on the team this year.

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